Digital competency which will soon affect our day-to-day living which in turn affects, families and communities. Women are the heartbeat of any community, as they keep the family going. If women continue to be left behind in this digital age, the result will be tragic. The latest innovations that are not only for techies but really are relevant for everyone, as they solve social issues, will require that everyone is technically apt in some way or another. A basic understanding of ICT is required, and women cannot affort to be left behind.
American multinational technology company, Intel Corporation announced the launch of the ‘She will connect’ program at the Clinton Global Initiative in 2013. ‘She Will Connect’, is an initiative set to improve the lives of women and girl children around the world through technology. Intel has committed to making sure that women around the world are included in the fast growing and fast paced digital wave, creating a platform that not only trains women in ICT but also makes sure that they are socially compliant by connecting them with their peers through peer networks.
Africa being a continent with so much potential finds itself stunted in growth, purely because we are still trying to solve basic issues such as clean water, education and primary healthcare. ‘She will connect’ seeks to bridge the internet gender gap by training women and girls from disadvantaged communities.
Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women said earlier this year at the UN Women in Technology breakfast in Johannesburg (SA), that we still have a long way to go in terms of educating our women and girls in STEM industries. It is no doubt that the hike in our economy is reliant on the advancement of these industries as they will make us globally competitive as a continent. Unemployment, illiteracy are some of the biggest hindrances in the lives of women, women struggle to earn minimum wages as finds jobs is no easy task.
“UN Women is partnering with the Intel She Will Connect program to connect millions of women to the internet within the next few years. We will start in Africa with three pilot countries- Kenya, Nigeria and Africa,” said Dr. Mlambo-Ngcuka when the program was launched.
Intel hosted an ICT capacity building workshop for women tech jounalists in Lagos a week ago, and this is where it was announced that Intel will be releasing its online learning platform in Nigeria by August. Intel She Will Connect has a target of training about 5 million African women, this is set to happen in the next couple of years.
Digital literacy training, Online peer networks and gender-relevant content is the model that Intel She Will Connect will be using to drive this initiative.