International Women’s Day: Digital access and gender equality

In an increasingly online world, digital literacy and skills, along with the resources to access the internet, are a critical part of women’s education and personal development.

Being able to access information on the internet, and understanding how to use digital technology, is crucial for women to thrive in the modern age. However, according to a 2021 report, women are 20% less likely to be online than men, with that figure rising to as much as 50% in developing countries. 

There are many reasons for this gap. Women and girls often have limited access to technology and the internet due to the costs associated with it, and the stereotypes in some countries of technology as masculine. Opportunities for women and girls to learn about using digital tools, such as in advanced classes, are fewer. As a result, women are falling behind in a critical area for opportunity–impacting their education, their careers, and their own agency.

International Women’s Day: Digital education and gender equality 

This International Women’s Day theme is “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality.” The theme focuses on how empowering women in the digital space can close this gender inequality, a necessity highlighted by the digital learning needs of the COVID-19 pandemic.

WONDER has been committed to closing the digital gender gap since 2020, with the emergency of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the pandemic, students were forced to take their learning online, a shift that exacerbated education inequality between men and women, hindering their general education as well as their access to critical public health information. WONDER mobilised to provide students with digital tools such as tablets and the allowance to afford data to access the internet, resulting in a report to better understand this digital divide.

Since then, we have continued to support our partners to close the digital gender gap. 

Project GROW caters internet access to the specific needs of African women

WONDER has created the Project GROW website in collaboration with our partners, which is an online resource that provides African youth workers with easier access to critical educational information, making information more easily downloadable and shareable. 

The project has considered the reality of digital access experienced by women in developing countries. Since most women access these online resources on a smartphone with limited internet connectivity and data, growskills.africa uses low-data, smartphone-friendly resources that can be accessed offline. The project removes some of the barriers African women face in crossing the digital divide.

The DRC’s online nursing platform trains nurses to be educated and effective healthcare professionals

To facilitate better healthcare education in the digital age, WONDER has collaborated with ISSI to build the first digital nursing platform. The program educates nurses via an online platform across the Democratic Republic of the Congo, contributing to better healthcare outcomes for 120,400 patients and the education of over 1,200 nurses. Well-trained and educated nurses in the DRC are then able to disseminate healthcare information to the rest of their community, ensuring better hygiene and disease control.

WONDER is committed to increasing educational opportunities for women around the globe. In a highly digitised world, this goal requires that we help women adapt to technology and innovation, and harness these tools to best aid in their education. 

Author: Sarah Finkel

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Corporate Volunteering at WONDER Foundation

WONDER Foundation hosts a variety of corporate volunteering days throughout the year, partnering with organisations and businesses that support our mission and goals.