Women and Technology: Are We There Yet?
I have always been intrigued by technology. How much better and easier life is with technology; The things I am able to do now that my mother could not as she did not have access technology. Growing up, I remember accompanying my mom to the bank and we would queue for hours just to withdraw money. Today, in 5 minutes I can get my bills paid via my phone thanks to technology, saving me money (transport costs to the bank) and time. This is just one example of how technology can be an enabler of Women's economic empowerment. Very many more examples exist (and I invite you to share in the comments section below) but...are we there yet?? Have we fully explored the potential of technology as an enabler for women's empowerment? What are the successes? What gaps do we need to fill?
In September, this year, I joined 200 women and girls in Technology for a summit in Accra, Ghana and we discussed the two questions at length. It was an amazing experience listening to women and girls share their experience on how technology had changed their lives. At the end of it all, we came up with these 5 key messages on what needs to be done to make technology work for women and girls:
· Need for Gender-responsive policy with clear targets, gender-disaggregated data and research, and budgetary allocation.
· Design technology with, not for women—even better, let designs be by women.
· Women’s economic and social rights cannot be divorced from their political and civil rights, online and offline.
· While tech and innovation and entrepreneurship matter, it’s not just about building an app; it’s about solving community problems.
· Initiatives for women and girls must aim for scale to achieve the SDGs and have meaningful policy impact.
Can these help us get there? I welcome your thoughts …