By Joyce Remi-Babayeju
As the world celebrates women today on the 2023 International Women’s Day, IWD, the Nigerian Feminist Forum, NFF, has strongly called on the Federal Government to create an enabling environment for women and girls inclusion in the Information, Technology and Communication, ICT, space.
Referring to the theme of 2023 IWD, “DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for gender equality”, NFF noted that it
is a reminder that every woman is entitled to equal opportunity and a society free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination in accessing science and technology.
NFF emphasized that the transformative power of technology offers unique perspectives to solving societal problems and in turn reduces the overall gender pay gap since technology offers higher salaries than most jobs women engage in.
The Forum lamented that in Nigeria, women and girls are grossly underrepresented in the field of technology, and little attention is paid to the growing digital gap between women and their male counterparts.
According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) 2013,
over 50% of the world has access to technology, women continue to account for fewer than 20% of Information Communication and Technology (ICT) specialists in developing economies.
NFF further note that the growing number of cybercafés in major cities has not translated into access to technology for Nigerian women and girls, rather boys and men have more access to use of cafés by freedom of movement and money.
Other factors such as Cyberbullying, cultural restrictions and stereotypes are inhibiting factors for women’s inability to thrive in the field of technology, majorly due to poverty, cultural bias towards the girl-child education.
NFF therefore called on the Federal Government to urgently close the gender gap by reviewing the ICT Policy to include women’s right and access to Technology.
“Close the digital gender gap by ensuring women and girls have equal access to digital technologies, including affordable internet and digital devices.”
“Use data and technology to address gender inequalities in economic opportunities, including access to education, training, employment, and fair wages.”
Promote digital literacy and skills development among women and girls, through digital literacy programs and the integration of technology in education, the Forum stated.