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.