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opportunities for girls and women
April 20, 2012
May 17, 2012
marks the 147th anniversary of ITU-s coming to being. This
marks the anniversary of the signature of the first International
Telegraph Convention in 1865 which led to the creation of the International
Telecommunication Union. This year-s anniversary is held under
the theme " The Woman and the Girl in ICT".
I have seen it fit to
focus on the opportunities that exist for girls and women. For starters
the question of gender equality or equal opportunities to different
genders has been well covered and pronounced in other social platforms.
This is no new topic nor a past event and we will treat it as such.
The focus of this brief discussion will hinge on the intrinsic value
that ICT holds to unlock extrinsic opportunities that exist specifically
The combination and use
of computers, cell phones and the internet creates opportunities
that the human brain was not designed to fully grasp without use
of other equipment or complex mathematics. The fact that a decade
ago we used to write letters and buy postage stamps at local Post
Offices and today we simply send an email or an SMS should be enough
of an eye opener of the capabilities that come with productive,
educative and informative use of Information Communications Technology
(ICT). It encompasses all means and methods that human beings can
use to speed up, simplify and exchange information in one form or
the other - be it voice, video or text.
The bottom line is that
the use of computers makes it easy to process information on the
fly. And the use of telecoms makes the transmission of that information
possible. Information not shared is useless information. This is
a synergy of the 2 technologies in their most basic form.
power and telecommunicating power
Women have faced
challenges in about any sector of the economy that I can think of.
As the digital revolution progresses, there is a danger that if
women don-t embrace the digital revolution, they will continue
to lag at some point somewhere in future. However there are good
signs that the present generation of girls are embracing the use
of ICT in furthering themselves socially, economically, academically
and more. Thanks to Facebook there is really an upsurge of female
online users. But Facebook falls far too short of what ICT represents.
In so far as chit chatting and looking for friends is concerned
well, it does a great job. But our hope is that the same zeal and
determination that we have seen some girls show on being connected
Facebook is manifested in enrolling for computer and technology
related courses as well. There are some extremely lucrative career
paths outside Medicine and Actuary Science that pay well now and
are in demand. Examples include Fibre Optics, Voice Over IP, Linux,
Cloud Computing just to mention a few. Some of the courses now locally
available. We would like to see an increase in the enrolment of
girls. If they don-t acquire the necessary ICT skills via
training, certification and education surely there is NO way we
can expect to have women ICT experts. The culture of that certain
careers are for certain sexes is a dead line of thinking. Equal
opportunities to all. But it can only possible if concerted and
deliberate efforts are taken by those in need of the transformation
and that the policy makers most of whom are men walk this talk.
This is no rocket science. If there are few qualified female ICT
practitioners around, then how do we expect equal opportunities?
This is a bottom to top kind of scenario where you don-t harvest
anything if you didn-t grow anything.
Turning to the
practical uses of ICT for the women-s empowerment and betterment,
information dissemination is the best place to start. One does not
need a thousand bucks to own a website. It ONLY costs $20 to register
a name of your choice and a few more bucks to have someone design
and load content to your page that you want to share with hundreds
millions internet users. Yes anyone can be a publisher online. Any
one can be visible online. As long as you have the right content
that has demand, you are in business. Tonnes of websites discuss
for instance breast cancer from their websites. Information is available
for FREE that can help save lives by disseminating it to the girls
who need to get tested before its too late. This is just one example
I am citing here. Dissemination of this kind of info can be via
a website, email, SMS alerts or even a Toll Free hotline where women
call in a number (at no cost to them) to get information broadcast
back to them. There are organizations already doing this locally
Even if you don-t own a computer, you can always use your
phone to go online and search for what you are looking for by using
online libraries like Google. If you need better view of what you
researching on be it a career, devotional sermons, addresses, pen
pals, recipe, dress pattern design, flower business, starting a
child care, prospecting for gold and so on you have it at the tip
of your fingers. Take control of what you want to read or see by
getting connected to the global ICT village.
ICT is a great
leverage for girls and women to jump start what they have always
wished for in their lives. There is NO "big dala" online.
All emails are created the same. Your website can in fact attract
more visitors than mine, if of course you did some serious planning
as to what you want to achieve and how.
To make matters worse
if you cant always attend your monthly ladies meetings in person
you can do so via teleconferencing using FREE calling facility called
Skype or use free chatting applications like Gtalk, MSN amongst
others. Who said you always have to pay when you want to talk to
26th April, 2012 is "Women
in ICT" day. Every 4 years, the third week of April will mark
this landmark stride in achieving gender equality ICT-wise.
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