On March 6th, 2023, Zamani Foundation, Skilled Girl Foundation, and Winbeck Foundation collaborated to organize an event to commemorate International Women’s Day, themed “Digit All: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality”. The event took place at Zamani Foundation’s facility in Sabo Tasha, Kaduna, Nigeria.
The event brought together women from different walks of life to discuss and learn about digital skills, technology, and cybersecurity, with the aim of bridging the gender digital divide. The day began with the participants singing the National Anthem and self-introductions, where participants shared their names, organizations, favorite foods, favorite colors, favorite social media platforms, and why they liked those platforms.
Mrs. Talatu Zamani Henry, the President of Zamani Foundation, gave a welcome address, and the participants were given the opportunity to ask her questions pertaining to gender-based violence. The first facilitator, Mrs. Rebecca Bilai, the Executive Director of Winbeck Foundation, then took the floor and spoke about digital skills, digital technology for gender equality, and the need for more women to have access to digital technology.
Mrs. Bilai highlighted some of the factors that deter women from acquiring digital skills, including a lack of belief in themselves and cultural and religious beliefs. To address these barriers, she suggested reorientation programs to change the mentality of women and encourage them to pursue careers in the digital space. She also emphasized the need to provide access to digital technology and develop digital skills for women and girls.
During the Q&A session, one participant expressed her passion for the digital space but faced discouragement from those around her, who felt she was too old to learn. Mrs. Bilai encouraged her to seek out Zamani Foundation’s computer/ICT training programs for community members, especially women and girls. Another participant asked about enhancing the digital skills of rural women, and Mrs. Bilai suggested that organizations could provide ICT training programs and donate computers to help them scale up their digital skills.
The next session was on cybersecurity, facilitated by Miss Sekinah Ibrahim, a cybersecurity analyst. She spoke about the different strategies hackers use to defraud people, such as creating duplicate fake websites that look like original websites of legitimate organizations or companies. Miss Ibrahim also highlighted some of the tools hackers use to perpetrate their deeds, such as desire, fear, greed, urgency, panic, and excitement. She explained that hackers hack people’s accounts for different reasons, such as taking one’s identity, money, or sensitive information, or taking over one’s online account.
Miss Ibrahim showed everyone two different websites created by a hacker that looked so identical that it was difficult to spot the difference. She shared signs to look out for before clicking on a website and encouraged everyone to be cautious regarding free online offers as they could be traps to lure people and hack their accounts.
Mrs. Talatu Zamani Henry gave a vote of thanks, appreciating everyone for honoring the invitation. The event ended by 4:30 pm, after which group photos were taken, and refreshments were shared with all participants.
Bridging the gender digital divide is crucial in achieving gender equality, and events such as this help to create awareness and educate women and girls on the need for digital skills and technology. By providing access to digital technology and developing digital skills for women and girls, we can empower them to become leaders in Information technology.
In addition to the insightful sessions presented at the event, it is important to note that the theme for the commemoration of International Women’s Day 2023, “Digit All: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality”, highlights the need to leverage technology and innovation to address the gender gap in various sectors.
The use of digital technology and innovation can facilitate the inclusion of women and girls in the digital space and also promote their economic, social, and political empowerment. In today’s world, the use of technology is increasingly becoming important as it provides opportunities for women to participate in different fields, such as e-commerce, e-learning, e-health, and many others.
However, the issue of the gender gap in technology remains a challenge. A significant number of women and girls are still excluded from digital technology and innovation, and this can be attributed to a lack of access to digital technology, lack of digital skills, limited education and information, cultural and religious beliefs, and other factors.
It is therefore essential to create more awareness and promote digital inclusion for women and girls, particularly in rural areas, where access to digital technology and internet connectivity is limited. Organizations, government agencies, and individuals should collaborate to provide training, mentorship, and support for women and girls to acquire digital skills and use digital technology for their economic and social development.
In conclusion, the commemoration of International Women’s Day 2023 was a call to action for all stakeholders to work towards achieving gender equality through innovation and technology. The event provided an excellent opportunity for women to share their experiences, challenges, and opportunities in the digital space. It is expected that the knowledge shared at the event will encourage more women to take up digital technology and innovation and promote gender equality in all sectors of the economy.