Ace broadcaster and gender equality advocate, Josephine Oppong-Yeboah, has urged the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service (GES), to as a matter of urgency, intensify investments in digital education that prioritizes the needs of girls in the country.
She said creating an enabling environment that promotes women’s participation in ICT will help to increase the interest of women and girls to venture into ICT-related careers.
She explained that the Ministry of Education and the GES have greater responsibility in changing the dynamics in ICT or digital education in Ghana to be more gender-sensitive.
Ms. Oppong-Yeboah, who is currently attending this year’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW67) in New York, in an interview, said Ghana can address the gender inequalities in the ICT fields by ensuring that its education system is not gender biased.
Today’s session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW67) is an interactive dialogue with youth representatives on the priority theme—“Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.”
The session aims to identify the key factors and trends regarding women’s participation in ICT and its dynamics, as well as analysing practices that could enable women’s participation in the digital world.
It is intended to provide updated evidence for prognostics and policy-making in the area of women in ICT in the world.
The Ghanaian media personality pointed out that data trends suggest that gender inequality in the digital sphere is essentially a result of the persistence of strong unconscious biases about what is appropriate and what capacities each gender has, as well as about the technologies themselves.
For Ms. Oppong-Yeboah, to address the gender inequalities in the ICT world, it is necessary to initiate processes at the educational level, particularly at the basic school level so that girls could easily pick an interest in ICT at an early age.
“If the existing biases are not addressed, rapid economic advances by digital transformation will not take account existing gender gap in the sector which will simply amplify and, possibly perpetuate gender stereotypes,” she explained.
She expressed the concern that global figures indicate that women’s participation in the ICT and digital sector are not improving significantly, a situation she believes could be addressed if all key stakeholders commit to reversing the trend.
“Only few women graduate in ICT-related fields and very few enter the sector after graduation,” Ms. Oppong-Yeboah observed, adding “Despite increased awareness and numerous initiatives, women still face significant challenges in the sector that affect all stages of females’ career paths and life courses in the digital sphere.”
She was of the view that if equality in the digital sphere is not achieved “we will miss talents, vision, resources and wealth.”
She expressed the concern that the lack of diversity, particularly of women, in teams developing technology has an impact on innovation too, stressing that “Technology reflects the values of its developers, and that of the information they draw from.”
That, Ms. Oppong-Yeboah said, “We need more women technology developers and innovators to help identifying biases and prevent them.”
She also expressed the concern that in spite of how important today’s session at the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW67) is, there is no representation from Ghana, describing it as “quite disheartening.”
“Today’s session is very critical and Ghana needed to be there. We cannot claim to be interested in the affairs of women and ignore today’s session with no representation,” she bemoaned.
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