By Chiazo Ogbolu
Lagos – An Information and Communication Technology expert, Mr Jide Awe, says the digital gender gap hinders the growth of women in the society.
Awe, also the Chief Executive Officer of Jidaw Systems Limited, made the assertion in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday, in Lagos.
According to him, the digital gender gap refers to how IT is not being fully utilised by women for their own progress the way men are using it.
He said that despite the promise of tremendous advancement of technology, the unequal access to vital digital resources and opportunities was a concern.
“Women represent half of the country’s population, and by losing the ideas and contributions of women, overall development is held back.
“Why I am saying that a gap exists is because more women are supposed to be in the sector and benefiting from it but the reverse is the case, and so the need to take practical actions,’’ Awe said.
He said that there was a need to understand why the gap was there, noting that contributory factors could be the perception from society and culture that looks at ICT as a male field.
Awe said that this notion started from the home, urging the society and the school the children attend to attack this perception from the type of courses the children take.
The ICT expert said that the problem also had a link with systemic discrimination, consciously and unconsciously, because some men say things that discourage women from going into the field.
He urged women to organise themselves and form pressure groups in ICT where they could highlight the issues hindering their growth and tackle them.
“A problem of access to ICT tools is of great concern; even if they are educated, not having these tools like the internet infrastructure will limit their growth.
“Government has a role to play by instituting policies to bridge the gender divide, have a policy that will showcase women that have excelled in the field for girls to emulate them.
“There should also be certain schemes, like grants, to provide support for women to help them adapt in the field.
“There should be a mentoring scheme where women who have made it in the field could share their experiences with the girls and educate them on what they need to do,’’ he said.