The theme of International Women's Rights Day 2023 is "For an inclusive digital world: innovation and technologies for gender equality". This is an opportunity to highlight some of Action Education's projects using digital technology in the field of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.
Women, excluded from the digital world
Internet use is growing. Yet, according to the International Telecommunication Union, 37% of the population is without it. Of those who have never used the Internet, 96% live in developing countries. And worldwide, 259 million fewer women than men use the Internet. In addition to being a fundamental barrier to their rights, women's exclusion from the digital world has a cost: by excluding hundreds of millions of women from the digital world, the world is missing out on social, scientific, cultural and economic contributions. The consequences are disastrous and further exacerbate existing inequalities and exclusions. According to the UN, the exclusion of women from the digital world has reduced the gross domestic product of low- and middle-income countries by US$1 trillion over the past decade. The digitally excluded frequently face major barriers such as illiteracy, poverty, or lack of knowledge of how digital works. It is crucial to bring girls and women into information and communication technologies (ICT). Indeed, these technologies can represent formidable tools for access to education, training, rights and autonomy. ICTs are an essential tool for achieving gender equality and empowerment.
Encourage women to dare, innovate and undertake
Action Education is increasingly using digital tools in its programs for girls and women, whether in the field of education, training and professional integration, or in raising awareness of their rights and civic engagement. Here are some examples:
At Burkina Fasothe FORSELF project (Training for women's leadership) aims at the economic empowerment of women in a district of the capital. This is done through the promotion of income-generating activities and micro-enterprises. The use of ICTs in the project (mainly tablets) has had many positive effects on the participants, some of whom are illiterate: self-training, improved sales, better communication... Networking via WhatsApp groups has also increased their self-confidence.
À MadagascarMany young girls become mothers at a very young age. Often stigmatized because of their low level of education, they find themselves destitute and without prospects for socio-professional integration. In the framework of the Sandratra project, Action Education has developed an e-learning platform in Malagasy specifically to support these young women from the capital's disadvantaged urban areas. The platform includes modules for literacy, skills development and professional integration. Particular attention is paid to gender-based violence, strengthening socialization and self-assertion. The different modules contain videos, text, interactive elements (quizzes...).
In Indiathe initiative "Girls Who Code Action Education is providing computer coding training to girls of domestic workers in Pune. The training has changed the way these girls view technology. The coding classes complement what is taught in school and help them improve their communication and analytical skills. There is a significant improvement in these girls' academic skills. "The way coding requires logical reasoning and breaking down complex problems into simpler parts is also helpful to me in real life. These methods also help me solve some of my personal problems," says Muskaan, a middle school student.
In GuineaWomen have few opportunities to access financial services and technological advances. And their low level of education is often a fundamental handicap to the expression and defense of their interests in public and private spaces. To strengthen their autonomy, Action Education has developed a digital house project in a rural area near Dabiss (Boké region). The micro-project "Women and the Palaver Tree 2.0 is a digital tool to concretely strengthen the skills of 45 women in the village of Tambindjè. The videos in the Puular national language allow them to mobilize resources at the local level, to establish their recognition and to develop their leadership.