Invest in women and guarantee transformation. That’s the message from Kigali today at the Transform Africa Summit.The first lady, Mrs. Jeanette Kagame, just delivered a powerful speech to urge greater digital inclusion that leads to women’s empowerment. “Girls never doubt your ability to change things for the better.” She gives the example of Lillian, who has created a platform to organize farmers and cooperatives and helps access financial support. There are millions more Lillians-in-waiting. Mrs Kagame says more women need to be in science and technology. There are still too few. We want an African woman to create the next big tech play not just in Africa, but globally. It’s not a question of if, but when.
The World Wide Web Foundation just revealed a big study on the urban poor that shows women still face major barriers globally in accessing the internet. In Africa, urban areas like Maputo, Nairobi and Kampala have some of the greatest gender gaps. This is linked to the lack of education, according to the study. So there’s a lot of work to be done. Some other dismal numbers globally are: women are still 52% less likely than men to share controversial views; only 1 in 5 female internet users search the internet for topics like legal rights, reproductive rights and common illnesses. Other obstacles like skills, digital literacy, and self-confidence need to be addressed.
The study argues, among other things, that we’ve got to solve this by making broadband cheaper, by creating programs and content that help women in their everyday needs. Women need to be at the center of policy planning. What else do you think needs to be done? #transformafrica2015