Technology to Learn & Grow: Knowledge is Power
Oct 04, 2021|5Gender Equality
Empowering women is essential to the health and social development of families, communities, and countries. When women live in safe and thriving neighborhoods, feeling productive, respected, and contributing to society, they are more likely to reach their fullest potential. Not only by growing and nurturing families but by contributing their skills to the workforce.
What do we mean by Technology?
What kind of technology helps development? In general, the Internet has changed the way we communicate and do business across the world.
Access to the Internet allows people to talk, buy, sell, learn. However, you need two main technological components to access the Internet: telecom infrastructure providing broadband technology and a 'medium' to channel the Internet, aka a smartphone or a computer. Unfortunately, according to the World Bank, only 35 % of the population in developing countries has access to the Internet, versus about 80 percent in developed countries such as the USA.
Do you and your family have Internet at home?
What do we mean by Empowerment?
Before we can understand the impact of technology in empowering girl's and women's lives, it is important to understand the word "empowerment."
Empowerment means having power and control over your life. However, this doesn't simply mean doing whatever you want. As children, sometimes you may feel you don't have the power to make all the decisions in your life. However, your parents are there to guide you and help you navigate decisions together. In this case, that help, support, and guidance from adults is empowerment.
It is about working and supporting someone to give them the skills to take control and responsibility for their own lives. Going to school, learning, and having the power to make decisions like what to wear or eat can be empowering.
Technology and Empowerment
As mentioned before, access to technology can empower people by networking with others, fostering trade, and access information. In addition, technology enables people to learn skills otherwise not available for them. Thus, technology has played various roles in supporting the development of women's capacities and resources.
According to the United Nations, empowering more women with mobile phones has accelerated social and economic development. However, more still needs to be done; in the 66 countries and territories with data (2017–2019), the average mobile telephone ownership was 8.5% lower for women than for men.
Women are currently less likely than men to use or have access to digital technologies, with gaps more significant among youth and over 45 years old. However, technology improves efficiency, enhances coordination, and improves the quality of information gathered and shared.
For example, mobile phones and access to the Internet via mobile devices allow women in developing countries to access education, which can help them find jobs. It can also open access to information about contraception, sex education, and the promotion of healthy lifestyles.
Despite the positive use of technology to support women in their daily lives, there is a lack of consensus regarding the definition and use of the term "empowerment." In addition, the concept of empowerment is hard to measure, making it difficult to determine if and when it has been achieved.
One thing is for sure: we need more significant collaborative efforts between researchers, program implementers, and policymakers worldwide to enhance access to technology in developing countries. In addition, we need to work further in the various communities of women to address the persistent gender disparities.
Thinking Cap On:
Visit EQUALS Global Partnership to learn how they create opportunities for girls in Latin America via tech and coding.
EQUALS works promoting awareness, building political commitment, leveraging resources and knowledge, and supporting real action. EQUALS seeks to achieve digital gender equality and improve the livelihoods of millions around the world through this.
Inspired? Sign up to one of EQUALS Cisco FREE courses for girls and become part of a global movement.
Now use the skills learned and start a Girl Tech Group at school or in your community. What do you think could be a project you can get started with? Learning digital literacy - how to use a computer or smartphone - can be something you take for granted. Find out if anyone near you, whether young or older, needs help using the Internet and work towards helping those who need learning digital literacy.
Knowledge is power!