Updated: Nov 6, 2021
The digital transformation provides new avenues to bridge the gender gap by amplifying women’s voices but the digital divide widens it.
Providing their girl child education is a favour done by some parents who still think that the primary role of a girl is doing household chores. With online education, girls are more tasked with domestic work, and childcare which further decreases the learning time.
The possibility of a girl owning and using an electronic device to access online classes when compared to a boy is much less. Girls are more likely to be cut off from the digital world. As per a UN report, the gender gap for internet users in the least developed countries is close to 43%.
Is the gap only due to inaccessibility?
The expectation from a girl child still revolves around managing a household. When women move into domains of work, it is considered ‘non-traditional.’ Girls enrolment in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) has been relatively low.
As per a report, only 5% of leadership positions in technology are held by woman leaders. Less representation has also been a major cause of young girls not choosing a career in tech. Among the respondents in the report, 78% couldn’t name a women tech leader.
We are living in times when technology is affecting every profession, and not being tech-friendly makes you less employable. Technology can be used to bridge the gender gap but due to inaccessibility and gender biases, women and girls benefit less from it.
What steps can tech and global leaders take?
Leaders around the world need to understand girls’ digital realities. As many campaigns had been organized in the past to make education accessible, with changing realities campaigns around making technology accessible should also be organised.
Usually, boys get more opportunities to gain digital skills with practice and online gaming. Thus, it becomes difficult for girls to understand complex features. Not only easier access but also easy to use technology should be made for young girls so that online education does not become a challenge for them. Simple user journeys and navigation with clear messages can help make technology less complicated.
SABIA’s ground report
SABIA interviewed 68 students across India out of which 18% do not have access to an electronic device, 64% share a family device, and 18% students received a device from their schools. Access to a device is not the only challenge that students face but continuous internet recharges take a toll on parents’ wallets. There is a clear preference for boys over girls if two kids from a family have classes at the same time. Out of the 75 teachers who participated in the survey, 50% informed that there is a significant drop in the number of girls attending the classes.
What is SABIA doing
SABIA is all set to launch its fundraising campaign to continue supporting students. The learning loss, drop rate in schools, and mental health issues have increased due to COVID and we are helping students to overcome these challenges. The campaign will be active from November 14 to December 14, 2021. We aim to establish new learning centres and libraries. We also plan to introduce new modules and projects.