The Executive Vice Chairman of Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, has said that Information and Communication Technology can create a new form of inequality, if the gender divide is not addressed.
Danbatta raised the concern while delivering his goodwill message at a recent webinar themed ‘Mainstreaming Rural Women Enterprise Development into Digital Economy Initiative: The Opportunities, Strategies and Constraints,’ according to a statement released by NCC on its website.
“There has been a general concern that unless the gender divide is specifically addressed, there is a risk that ICT may worsen existing inequalities between women and men, which could create new forms of inequality,” Danbatta stated.
According to him, the way out is for nations to focus more on how ICT could be leveraged for increased women empowerment.
The NCC boss was optimistic that ICT could be a potential tool for political, economic and social empowerment of women and the promotion of gender equality, if the gender dimensions of ICT were explicitly addressed.
“However, if the gender dimensions of ICT in terms of access and use, capacity-building opportunities, employment and potential for empowerment are explicitly identified and addressed, ICT can be a powerful catalyst for political, economic and social empowerment of women, and the promotion of gender equality,” Danbatta stressed.
Calling for increased collaboration between public and private sector stakeholders as a means to advance gender equality and women empowerment, he also urged that young women be encouraged to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
Danbatta assured that the commission would continue to implement policies and provide the infrastructure needed to bridge the gap in gender digital disparity.
“There is no doubt that these efforts will facilitate development of a vibrant digital ecosystem where rural women can play very important roles in our socio-economic and political space,” he added.
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