Why Africa Should Encourage Girls in ICT

African countries on Thursday joined the rest of the world to commemorate International Girls in ICT Day 2023.

Development Diaries reports that the day is commemorated every fourth Thursday of April to call attention to the critical need for more girls and women in the ICT sector.

In Africa, women and girls’ underrepresentation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education is a major barrier to their participation in tech design and governance.

A report by UNWomen revealed that globally, 3.7 billion people do not have access to the internet and half of them are women.

Digital gender divide has been shrinking in some parts of the world but data shows it is growing in Africa.

According to UNWomen, African girls are disadvantaged when it comes to digital adoption, have lower levels of access to and use of digital technology than boys, and often they are not benefitting from digital technology as boys are.

Available data from World Bank also shows that in sub-Saharan Africa, there is a gender digital divide of 43 percent regarding access to the internet.

Girls and women need to acquire skills to become both ICT users and creators in the digital world in order for them to thrive in STEM careers.

Development Diaries urges African governments to put in place strategies to leverage the economic empowerment of women and girls in Africa through ICT adoption, and favourable ICT policies, culture, ethics, and values.

Photo source: Yaw Niel/Shutterstock

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