DigitALL: Gender Equality in Technology and Innovation
With technological development and innovation increasing at an unprecedented rate, new opportunities, and challenges are being presented to the world. However, not everyone automatically benefits from these changes and some people face the brunt of the challenges. Women and girls continue to struggle to catch up to the changes and associated benefits.
When innovation and technology are mentioned, the first thing that comes to mind is digital technology. Digital technology involves electronic resources, tools, systems, and devices which make the storage, generation, or processing of data possible. These encompass the internet and mobile technologies, digital networks, services, applications, and content; virtual and augmented reality; connected devices and environments; old and new systems of media, information, and communication; artificial intelligence including machine learning such as data analytics, robotics, and automated systems and lastly, biometrics and biotechnology.
Benefits of Digital Technology and Innovation for Women
Digital literacy and access to innovation and technology are essential skills for employability. They also provide new economic opportunities as up to 90% of jobs now have a digital component. This means that digitally literate women can have better access to life-changing information and entrepreneurship opportunities.
Access to innovation and technology means women and girls can have the opportunity to overcome challenges they may have in the physical world. This is because digital access increases their civic engagement, raises awareness of their rights, and helps expand their sense of self in the world.
Another key benefit to digital adoption and use is that women and girls will have fewer barriers to workforce participation as they will be able to compete for job opportunities with their male counterparts.
Gender disparities in Technology and Innovation
Despite the benefits of the adoption of digital technology and innovation, clear geographic, economic, and social gaps persist when access is considered such as those related to gender. The digital world is a stark replication of gender inequality in the physical world. It is believed that more than 50% of the women in the world are offline (International Telecommunications Union), particularly in developing countries which have an internet penetration rate of 41% for women compared to 53% for men. Up to 393 million adult women in developing countries do not own mobile phones and are 8% less likely to own a mobile phone than men. This is around 23% for Sub-Saharan Africa. Women in sub-Saharan Africa are 23% less likely to own a mobile phone.
For girls, those between the ages of 15 and 19 are less likely to have used the internet in the last 12 months, along with lower mobile phone ownership. Comparatively, 46% of boys use the internet on their phones as opposed to 27% of girls.
According to the World Bank:
Policy and government-level changes to bridge the gender technology gap
1. Understanding the phenomeon
To bridge the gender divide gap, there is a need to understand the reasons why these gender gaps persist. One major barrier is lesser access of women and girls – access to data, devices, and networks than boys. Low infrastructure levels, network quality, and coverage also affect women and girls more.
Furthermore, women most of the time earn between 30 to 50% less than men, are less financially independent, and have less disposable income to spend on mobile or internet services. Some of these women even have their access to mobile phones and the internet restricted or monitored by men. Particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, women and girls who live in rural areas experience serious gaps in infrastructure and network coverage.
2. Social norms and gender inequality
Another reason is social norms and gender inequality. Several communities perceive the internet as a risk to traditional social order and view it as a risk for women and girls. Research has however shown that when social barriers are removed, more women and girls can become frequent and active users of the internet.
3. Inequality in education
The third reason is inequality in education. When access to digital technology is not regular, women and girls can’t develop digital literacy by becoming familiar with digital platforms, devices, and services.
4. Lack of gender sensitive technology
Lastly, the lack of digital products and services designed for women and girls also hampers their digital literacy. This makes them more vulnerable to online risks such as abuse, data privacy issues, and cyberbullying than men and boys.
Solutions for gender equity in access to technology
Access to digital literacy
There should be digital literacy training for fathers, mothers, and other family members so that the value of digital adoption for girls is better understood. It will give them the chance to support girls to be online safely and remove the notion that the internet is a dangerous and unsafe place.
Creation of government policies
National governments and policymakers will also have to ensure that gender laws are used when any legal frameworks for online safeguarding, security, and data privacy are considered. Protection has to be ensured for both genders.
Collaboration between gender organisations and government
Women and girls’ organisations also need to work hand in hand with the governments and policymakers to come up with these frameworks so that the voices of girls are heard. They need to be included in decisions that concern them.
Creation and design of a technology-integrated education system
Education policies should focus on digital skills for girls as well as boys. Training for these skills should be added to the formal school curricula from the primary school level to ensure that these skills are built over time and at an early age.
Collaboration with internet and mobile companies
Collaboration with the private sector such as mobile operators and network providers can also help to support the development of digital literacy for girls especially those that live in very remote places or are out of school.
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Women Empowerment by Men -Beliefs and Practices
What is the perception of men (husbands) to women empowerment?
As with any issue, perceptions of men and husbands towards women empowerment can vary greatly depending on the individual and their personal beliefs. Some men and husbands may have a positive view of women empowerment and may actively support efforts to promote gender equality. They may believe that women should have equal opportunities and rights as men and may work to create a more inclusive and equitable society.
On the other hand, some men and husbands may not fully understand or support the concept of women empowerment. They may hold traditional beliefs about gender roles and may not see the need for women to have equal rights and opportunities. These individuals may not be willing to challenge the status quo and may not support efforts to promote gender equality.
Ultimately, it is important for all men and husbands to recognize the value and importance of women empowerment. By supporting efforts to promote gender equality, men and husbands can help create a more inclusive and equitable society for everyone. This can benefit not only women, but also men, families, and communities.
Why do husbands treat their daughters differently from their wives?
The reasons why husbands might treat their daughters differently from their wives can vary greatly and can depend on a variety of factors. Some possible reasons for this behavior include societal norms and expectations about gender roles, personal experiences and beliefs, and individual differences between the husband, wife, and daughters.
Overall, the reasons why husbands might treat their daughters differently from their wives can be complex and varied. It is important for husbands to communicate openly with their wives and daughters and to strive to treat everyone in their family with respect and kindness. By doing so, they can help create a more positive and healthy family dynamic.
Factors that influences husbands’ beliefs to treat daughters differently from their wives?
Ways to treat women in the home to model female empowerment for girls
Changing husbands' beliefs and behaviors to support their wives and model female independence and empowerment to their daughters can be a complex and challenging process. However, there are some steps that men and society can take to help facilitate this change:
In summary, changing husbands' beliefs and behaviors to support their wives and model female independence and empowerment to their daughters will require a collective effort from men, women, and society as a whole. By working together and supporting one another, we can create a more equal and just world for all.
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Charity Volunteering Work in Africa and The Gambia
Girls in The Gambia face adverse challenges of child marriage, child labour, trafficking, FGM, and exploitation and are often deprived of their basic needs. With lives revolving around decisions made by others, the only option left for them is to abide by these decisions without a say in their own life stories. This makes it impossible to create their own identity, to think as an individual, and to create a life of their own.
Charity Volunteering with girls' education charities
Every grave circumstance that hesitates to intrinsically progress requires an external push to feel empowered. How can you be this source of encouragement?
When you choose to volunteer for girls in The Gambia, you not only feel a sense of accomplishment but have also managed to turn around life for the better! With the help of your mentorship, girls in The Gambia could benefit from it on a personal note as well as in their careers.
Anyone can make a decision to volunteer. It is one of the most rewarding and satisfying attributes of life. You get to meet new people, absorb quality skills, and gain valuable experience along the way. The outcome of your support creates a huge impact on your community and societal goals.
Volunteering Supports Girl Child Education & Empowerment?
Volunteering can be greatly gratifying. Once you’re sure of how and where you want to spend your time, it becomes easier to give it your all. Volunteering can advance your career to a great extent. It teaches you several valuable skills and also enriches your morals and values. One of the essential areas to contribute your time could include girl child education and empowerment.
Charity Volunteering and mentoring can put a child in the position to gradually “choose”, to be conscious of her rights, and have the strength to speak up and fight for herself.
Here’s how you can make a difference!
SaGG Foundation is one such medium to empower young girls with a voice of their own through education. Being a female-educated individual is quite a rare sight in The Gambia and despite the adverse problems faced, we strive to bridge this gap and sponsor girl child education.
How can you make a difference?
There are numerous ways of joining the SaGG Foundation. Opportunities here are unlimited and flexible. All you need to do is get in touch with us. Use this opportunity to volunteer and help young girls receive their basic right to education. You can help out by:
We want our society to prosper by shaping young Gambian girls into courageous, bold and independent leaders. To achieve this, we actively participate in providing them with education, mentoring services, programmes, workshops and seminars. It is imperative for our girls to become wholesome individuals using their utmost potential both, inside and outside the classroom. Revolutionizing the generational and traditional norms, we want to give every girl her own story!
Are you willing to help us bridge the gap? Come, let’s empower our girls together!
How to decide for charity volunteering
You might have multiple volunteering roles to choose from. When you do volunteer work at a non-profit organization, it is essential to:
At the SaGG Foundation, your charity and volunteering deeds can help educate young girls in The Gambia to fulfill their dreams and ambitions. Every generous contribution counts!
Do you wish to know the ways in which you can support us? Check out ways in which you can support:
1. Girl Child Sponsorship
You could help with generous contributions of as little as £10 a month for a girl’s educational needs to secure her future. Browse through the list of deserving candidates, select one or more, and get in touch. As a regular sponsor, you will constantly get updates on your student’s progress. The best part of your sponsorship is that 100% of your generous contributions would be utilized for the said contribution. There would be no additional cut or distribution to another. The girl that you sponsor receives the entire sponsorship to secure her career.
Through sponsorship, you will be able to:
2. Charity Donations
Some girls might have access to go to school but due to poverty, many of them lack basic educational supplies. We at SaGG aim to provide the necessary tools and amenities needed for their education with the help of your donations.
By supporting our girl child education projects, you can GIVE A LITTLE. MAKE A GREAT IMPACT! Due to the pandemic, there was a loss of 30 sponsors in 2022. By donating £2, $2, €2, or D100 monthly direct debit, you will be able to continue our endeavour in striving to educate our girls.
3. Charity Champion and Ambassdor
When you have a voice, use it! This is exactly how our Charity Champions support our missions in their respective countries and cities. With a strong passion to advocate for girls' education, they help to connect girls with sponsors and contribute in many ways. Our Charity Champions are self-driven to make a high and positive impact in laying the foundation to change girls’ lives through the gift of education. They recruit sponsors, support fundraising initiatives, and make contributions in their own unique way. You too can become a champion and make a difference today!
As a Charity Champion, you will be able to:
4. Corporate Charity Partnership
Through collaborated partnerships, you could discover new heights for businesses by working towards the betterment of society. By collaborating with us, you play a part in creating a positive impact in providing educational opportunities to deprived and underprivileged girls in The Gambia.
Partnership opportunities such as supporting events, co-creating marketing, and brand campaigns, and opportunities to engage staff, improve customer trust, and reach new audiences are a few ways of binding our mission and efforts together.
Through these partnerships, what we bring to the table is motivation, reliability, and quality experience. We work with our Corporate Charity Partners to find the balance for achieving the best results together. We maintain the highest level of transparency to ensure trust from all our partners. SaGG is open to any initiatives and will support our partners in shaping those ideas into real actions. On the business front, you would benefit from achieving your CSR goals, maintaining a positive brand image, and driving employee engagement.
Your volunteering will keep our girls smiling
Volunteering can be the experience of a lifetime. You can help manifest a promising future for another. Start today, start NOW!
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The Gambia norm and culture Vis-à-vis women and girls matriarchal/patriarchal Society
Opinion Piece by The Late Rev. Dr. John Loum
Let me be clear, conceptually, nature has it understandably that women and men are equal in every way shape, or form. Sadly, in Gambia's patriarchal society the trend has been and continued with women and girls' roles has been structurally at home and society largely defined by men. Given that, the men who are the dominant power player, functionally codified the trend, on how women/girls were to operate. At home domestically, also matrimonially as in society extending to their workplaces [ office], etc. For example, I grew up in Gambia where women and girls were not given equal opportunities as boys in gaining any education, unfairly the boys would be in the streets enjoying leisurely their time playing football, and building networks of friendships and groups, in Banjul area boys would go for swinging around the beach or playing at McCarthy square.
Cultural Barriers Limiting Women and Girls
The barrier of institutionalizing Gambian women and girls as second class or socialize domesticated spices who are to be seen as unequaled equal is dismally incrementally changing much still needs to be done. As a trend or norm must be long past gone. All forms of these institutionalized patterns of cultural norms have fizzled out gradually or obliterated.
Solutions for Women and Girls’ Inclusion
Then as we are developing strategies towards remedies and solutions, first global modernity will force on our women, or they will be left in the wind. Second women should have in place a constructive structure on the grass-root level in empowering and creating gender awareness. Along with that the goal should be re-educating and defusing much of the old ways, including cultural norms which could either be a stumbling block or an inhibition in the way of women's dignity, equal acceptance, and gender fair treatment in all spheres of human space and life.
Our Time is Now, Our rights, Our future: International Day of The girl Child 2022
The International Day of the Girl Child 2022. SaGG Foundation joins the rest of the world to observe the day, celebrated every year on October 11th.
This year marks the 10th anniversary since the declaration by the United Nations. The purpose of the observance of the day of the girl child, is to create global awareness in all areas that affect the lives of girls. Even though significant progress has been made over the years in raising awareness and enacting laws to promote gender equality. That noted, girls continue to face inequality in all areas of society, notably discrimination in education, access to medical health, proper nutrition, child labour, and protection against sexual and gender-based violence.
The celebration of the International Day of the Girl Child has led to the emergence of global, regional, and community voices of girls and young female leaders who passionately campaign for progressive laws, programmes, and policies to defend and uphold the rights of the girl child. Hence, the theme for this year aptly reflects, that Our Time is Now, our rights, our future.
The SaGG Foundation girls are pleased to share with you, why their time is Now! Read the poems and essays to find out more.
Poem by Jestina
Poem by Fatou
Poem by Arret
Poem by Elizabeth
Essay by Barakatou
Investments in girls' education and rights remain limited, and girls continue to confront a myriad of challenges to fulfilling their potential, made worse by the concurrent crises of climate change, COVID-19, and humanitarian conflict. Girls around the world continue to face unprecedented challenges to their education, their physical and mental wellness, and the protection needed for a life without violence.
With adversity, however, comes resourcefulness, creativity, tenacity, and resilience. The world's 600 million girls have shown that, given the skills and the opportunities, they can be the change makers driving progress in their communities, building a stronger future for all, including women, boys, and men.
International Day of the Girl Child arrives this year at an important and evolving moment in time, as girls' rights and gender equality are resurging in the public consciousness and dialogue in new, powerful, and long-overdue ways.
While attention and conversation are welcome, at the same time, girls and women everywhere continue to endure significant challenges. A range of legal, social, health, and safety challenges and their consequences, while often not widely recognized or understood, nonetheless have a highly and highly negative impact on girls and women, their families, and communities. Complications from pregnancy and childbirth are still a leading cause of death among girls in developing countries.
According to recent statistics, 131 million girls are not in school. Globally, women perform 2.6 times more unpaid care and domestic work than men. Globally, about one in three women has experienced violence. And 214 million women have an unmet need for modern contraception.
While these trends may seem overwhelming, they don’t have to be permanent. Inequality, discrimination, and injustice sustain these problems; rights, empowerment, and better social norms can fix them.
Under the theme, "Our Time is Now, Our Rights, Our Future: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives,” UN Women is urging the global community “to transform the momentum into action, to empower women in all settings, rural and urban, and to celebrate the activists who are working relentlessly to claim women’s rights and realize their full potential.
Addressing the rights and needs of girls and women everywhere has always been and will continue to be a key part of our work because it is a human rights imperative.
When a girl is safe, healthy, educated, and empowered, she creates the future she wants and a ripple effect, advancing healthier and more prosperous communities, societies, and economies.
Peom by Bertha
Artwork by Fatoumata
Poem by Fatima
Poem by Michelle
Essay by Fatou
There was a time when society thought that it was not necessary to educate girls. During earlier times, there was a distinct division between public and private life. Women were not allowed in the public sphere because they were not meant to take part in it. Since historic times, girls have been the subject of neglect, torture, and other horrific activities that cannot be ignored. Now we have begun to realize that girls’ education is essential. The modern age is the age of the awakening of women.
Education for girls is important for bringing a balance to society.
Our time is now! Girls' education has brought equality in society by bridging the gap of gender inequality.
Education can make girls self-reliant, which society used to think was a burden. Female education is the overarching term of a complex set of issues and debates surrounding education (primary, secondary, tertiary, university, and health education in particular) for girls and women. The education of women and girls is an important connection to the alleviation of poverty. Improving girls’ educational levels has been demonstrated to have clear impacts on the health and economic future of young women, which in turn improves the prospects of their entire community.
Therefore, our right to education is a must and should be valued by every society, no matter what ethnic group we might find ourselves in. Educating a girl helps her to share the responsibility of her family and reduces the burden of the head of the family, and can also help uproot social ills, such as early child marriage, honor killing, dowry payment, domestic violence, child labour and female genital mutilation.
Educated women are less likely to become victims of such improper acts. An educated woman always receives dignity and respect and remains a source of inspiration for other women and girls.
Most importantly, our future is bright with education. It improves the overall quality of a girl’s life with critical thinking and enhances learning. Subsequently, it helps a child make a better and more informed decision with the use of their knowledge. Female education is the need of the hour. With that being said, it also gives career opportunities that can increase the quality of life. However, education remains a luxury and not a necessity in our country.
In conclusion, educating the girl child is very important for the development of a nation. In The Gambia, half of the population is made up of women. We cannot prosper by ignoring this half of the population because female education is essential for the betterment of our country. Not only can a woman do everything that a man can, but also, if we become educated, we can participate in all kinds of work, and by doing this, a nation can prosper. Every society should learn to respect girls and women first because this is "Our Time, our rights, our future."
Your Feeback is welcomed
Thank you for visiting our blog site and for reading the poems and essays written by our girls. We hope you have been inspired and enlightened about why girls should be empowered to claim their rights. Girls' rights should be everyone's business.
Our girls would appreciate hearing from you. Use the comments section below to share your feedback, reviews, and reactions. We want to hear from you. Thank you!
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