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Summit encourages women to become developers as well as tech users
April 7, 2017

Women typically are not educated on internet usage due to issues with access and affordability. In fact, there are “25 percent fewer women and girls online than men.” Mobile phones are an inexpensive alternative to computers for internet access, but they are limited in technological capabilities. The summit discussed the many opportunities that women can encounter through knowledge and access to the internet and ICTs.

Women and girls are more likely to become tech creators and developers if they are provided with digital education and skills training. It is common for women to be deterred from using ICTs or the internet because they don’t know how to use technology or they lack the proper digital literacy skills. Digital education and skills training will help women become more comfortable with the latest and most competitive technological skills on their path to becoming creators, developers and entrepreneurs.
Summit participants noted that many small to medium-sized businesses are operated by women. However, women are missing out on some business opportunities because they are unaware of how to leverage the internet for their benefit, including the ability to work from home.

Social networks can broaden women’s experience and knowledge of technology and provide greater access to working discussions, group ideas, education in technology, mentoring and leadership opportunities. Networks provide a space where women can share tech stories, provide support and influence one another. Networking opportunities can also provide them with a path to leadership through individual business and communication skills.

Women and girls are often discouraged from engaging with technology because of violations against women’s rights online, and summit participants agreed on a need for government intervention.

Women typically do not respond well when they are encouraged to pursue STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) because they do not identify with the opportunities being offered and face barriers, including cyberbullying, poverty, lack of education and discrimination in education.To empower women tech leaders, summit participants called for more education on the effects of cyberbullying, the elimination of discrimination and bias against women during technology education and training, and free or affordable educational programs for women in poverty-stricken areas.

The Africa Summit on Women and Girls in Technology emphasized the need for women from all communities to become more involved in technology. Ideas to encourage women to pursue work in technology sectors included decreasing the cost of the internet, introducing digital literacy courses in schools, opening innovation spaces for women, and creating policies to ensure online security for women. Many women are already innovators and drivers of technology movements in their countries, and more should be encouraged to pursue technology throughout their education and careers.

Are you already working on one of the ideas mentioned above to help women become better tech users in their respective fields? Join #Africa4Her and share your experiences to help women in the YALI Network. Learn more at https://yali.state.gov/4her/.