Bridging the Gender Digital Divide: A Closer Look at Nigeria

This week in class, we discussed differences in gender access to ICTs in the developing world.  Known as the gender digital divide, studies in Africa have found that in most cases men have access more than women, especially in more urban areas, where access to ICTs is more common in general.

So, in what ways can these developing countries begin to close the gender digital divide in ICT4D?

One article from January 23, 2013, explores the significance of the Internet in recent social movements in countries like Cambodia, Nigeria, and Egypt. According to this article, Internet access is correlated to economic growth and increases economic opportunities.  However, studies have found that although growth is being achieved through access to the Internet, women and girls are overwhelmingly being left behind in this trend.  Helping women move forward too can lead to greater economic growth. Other studies have found that women who have access to the Internet have increased access to education, jobs, and improved health opportunities.

Through all of these studies, one country—Nigeria—recognizing the importance of the Internet in its economic growth, is planning on having countrywide access to the Internet. Through its current initiative, Nigeria will be focusing on broadband Internet, which is of better quality than narrowband capacity. Studies have also shown that there is a very close correlation between economic activities and broadband capacity at all levels of the state. Nigeria is setting an example by trying to implement broadband capacity in its entire country. Nigeria knows that it can afford to be a country where a gender digital divide exists—or any digital divide.

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4 responses to “Bridging the Gender Digital Divide: A Closer Look at Nigeria

  • clairedwyre

    This is very true about how significant the internet is becoming to the worlds lives. I guess the more modern or maybe just edited version of the “girl effect” would have to include education of the internet and how to apply it in order to be fully successful. I wonder if more women empowerment agenecys are going to start focusing on creating internet skills or continue to focus on other needs.

  • khock1

    What was the name of the article?
    I agree that it is important to focus on women and ICTs in order to develop these countries. Again and again studies show that women are the key to quick development for many reasons.I also agree with Claire that more women’s empowerment agencies should start focusing on Internet skills and other needs.
    It is great that an African country–like Nigeria–is taking the initiative to increase the use of Internet and other ICTs in development.

  • jdywest7

    I agree with the above comments as well. Women’s empowerment is key to tackling the amount of health, and economic disparities many developing countries face today, however it is also important to keep in mind the importance of gender mainstreaming -more particularly men streaming. Incorporating men in the rights and empowerment of females is crucial. We can attempt to provide women with ICT opportunities but it will not be beneficial unless it is understood and supported by men since we live in a male dominant World.

  • sarahswig

    Very interesting case study. The Internet is a great tool not only for economic and political progress, but is a great tool to empower women. When women, (or anyone really) has access to Internet, the world is at their fingertips. It’s great to see a case where there is an attempt to implement broadband Internet throughout the entire country.

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