Welcome to the Digital Gender Divide
Gender inequality has been at the forefront of conversations for decades. Women face the pay gap, workplace gender minority and are at a greater risk of physical and emotional abuse. In less developed countries, some women are denied basic human rights such as driving and education. A more recent discussion is the digital divide.
The digital divide is the gap between those who have access to the internet and computers and those who simply do not. Women in developing countries are mostly affected by the divide and there is a substantial amount of growth that needs to be done to give these women access and more freedom.
How will internet access help the gender equality cause?
- Internet access can increase a woman’s learning curve and educate her on her options
- It can increase a woman’s independence by allowing her to search for and apply for jobs, earning additional income for her family
- Tech skills will make women more employable
Women who do not have access to the internet in developing countries are more likely to follow the social norms which women are exposed to. Get married, have children and take care of their family. If we give internet service to these women, they will be able to see what possibilities there are, what other women in the world are doing and what they are capable of. It won’t solve all of the issues which women in developing countries face but it can act as a catalyst to make change.
Recently companies such as Facebook and Intel have been working to offer internet access to developing countries.
Intel research indicates that:
- Women are 25% less likely to have internet access in developing countries than men
- The gender digital gap is 43% in Sub-Saharan Africa and 10% in Latin America and the Caribbean.
- Only 28% of women in Asian countries have access to the internet and an astounding 8% of women have access in India
Intel has launched the She Will Connect program which helps women learn how to use the internet, or improve their digital literacy and aims to get 1.2 billion women on the internet in developing countries in only three years.
If women get on the internet, everyone will benefit.
These programs and initiatives developed by large computing and internet companies are beneficial to those in need, but it is also important to ask, why?
Intel offers Wi-Fi services to customers, and these customers create data which is worth more to them than the amount they are paying for the service. Therefore if Intel gets the women online who currently don’t have access, they are getting ahold of data that no other company has, giving them an edge in the competition.
Intel may be creating these programs with their own interests in mind, but they are doing some pretty amazing things for women in developing countries, allowing them more freedom and opportunities for growth. So a round a applause for Intel. Keep doing what you’re doing cause we like it!