Nigerian Feminist Forum Calls for Innovation, Technology for Gender Equality in Nigeria.
On the occasion of the 2023 International Women’s Day, The Nigerian Feminist Forum has called on the Nigerian Government to intensify its efforts towards achieving a society where all women and girls benefit from the opportunities presented by information, communication, and technology. The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day, DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality, is a reminder that every woman has the right to equal opportunity and a society free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination in accessing science and technology.
The Nigerian Feminist Forum (NFF) recognizes the transformative power of technology and how it can offer unique perspectives to solve societal problems and help reduce the overall gender pay gap since technology offers higher salaries than most jobs women engage in.
While 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, The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) 2013. In Nigeria, women and girls are grossly underrepresented in the field of technology, and little attention has been paid to the growing digital gap between women and their male counterparts.
The increase in cybercafes in major cities has not translated into access to technology for Nigerian women and girls because boys and men have more freedom of movement to get to the cafes and have more access to make and spend money. Cyber bullying, cultural restrictions and stereotypes are also contributing factors to women’s inability to thrive in the field of technology.
According to the 2021 Global Gender Report, Port Nigeria ranks 139 out of 153 countries, which shows that women are conspicuously missing in the country’s tech ecosystem. These are mostly due to poverty, cultural bias towards the girl-child education, an inadequate policy framework addressing the challenges of women in technology, and limited financial investment and mentorship for women in technology. The Nigerian Feminist Forum is calling on the Nigerian government to realize that the technology industry needs gender diversity to continue to thrive. They must therefore, urgently address the gender gaps in the National Information Communication and Technology Policy by reviewing it to ensure that it reflects the realities of women’s access to technology and make provisions that advance women’s rights to ICT in the country including:
Close the digital gender gap by ensuring women and girls have equal access to digital technologies, including affordable internet and digital devices.
Promote women’s participation and representation in the technology sector, by addressing barriers to entry and increasing access to training and education.
Leverage technology to address gender-based violence and discrimination against women and girls, through the development of digital tools and platforms that support survivors and provide access to justice.
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.
This year’s international women’s day is an important opportunity for the government to close the gender equality gap in technology and address the gross underrepresentation of women and girls in ICT for any meaningful progress towards gender equality to be made in advancing gender equality through innovation and technology.