31st October 2020

How to crush the gender digital divide in technology

Technology is advancing everyday and the target consumers of the products we get from these advancements are humans, but just how many access it, and of those, how many are women and girls?

There exists a massive digital divide in gender opportunities over the same resource pool, which happens in almost every resource there is, so how do we bridge that gender gap?

“To fix the gap, we must bridge the digital divide!”

Digital technology is fast changing and shifting the way economies operate, and not all of it might be progressive, but in all of it, every gender must be included to make that conclusion about what works or doesn’t.

So how can both women and girls through technology participate in uplifting the economy? MIT shares some pointers:

Increase mobility and new income streams 

In many areas you’ll find that women and girls are limited in movement so technological opportunities like online jobs or jobs that allow them to work remotely are essential to enable them earn an income while not breaking any rules societies may have placed on them.

Implement or improve digital literacy

Encouraging girls to start taking interest or helping those already interested to keep at it, from a very early age. Women much older can be taught new digital skills as well with the technology available around them that can possibly help them apply it to earn an income.

Access to finance and financial services

Most financial packages are created without looking specifically at women’s risk preferences. Women may be unable to travel to the bank by themselves, may remain unbanked or may not have a mobile device to access mobile banking services. A consideration could be adding a simple smartphone included in the opening package of a bank account that can be paid for through installments charged to the bank account over a period of time (i.e hire purchase) as long as the woman keeps an income coming through the account.

Including them in the creative economy

There are now alternative jobs being created due to the innovations in technology. Women must be included as 50% of the workforce. Some creative jobs even allow for flexible hours so she can work in her own time, thus giving her time  other things.

Correcting technology algorithms for bias

‘Algorithms that feed on available data perpetuate gender stereotypes and biases. Engineers are now working on weeding out prejudice from artificial intelligence. A.I. is also being used to surface bias in the workforce in hiring and promoting.’

Advocate for recognizance of women’s rights both online and offline

The same rights we have offline apply even online, but how many rights do women and girls have offline to advocate for online too? There must be recognition of all those rights and respect whichever medium women and girls are participating in, online or offline.

Got other suggestions? Share them below.

Sandi

Tech blogger. Gadget junkie. Life lover. I love eyeliner. Miller runs through my veins.

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