Digital gender gap is a major constraint to innovation, growth and economic development. It weakens the innovation potential of a society by hindering a large proportion of citizen’s productivity. Digital gender gap is a gender inequality with regard to fewer women having access to the use and impact of information communication and technology. Womenfolk are underrepresented in technology and the low involvement of women and girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education is a derivation of gender divide which is detrimental to competitiveness and development. Introducing more women to STEM Education in particular, will help supply more trained professionals to the society and bridge gender gap.
Contrarily, many relevant reports have shown that the participation of women in STEM has increased, however menfolk still outnumbers their women counterparts and women are still much underrepresented. It is therefore worthy of note that, some trained and credentialed women in STEM constitute a pool of unexplored opportunity in the society with little or no involvement in practices and ventures that endorse their professionalism. Recent reports, most especially the ones released during international women’s day 2017 celebration, record that the world is witnessing a wider digital gender gap in all aspects of STEM Education and related disciplines, Africa is no exception. Even with the measure of discrepancy in the reports on gender divide, it is still very observable that there is a growing need to promote STEM Education and disciplines for women and girls across the world.
Significantly in Africa, a wider gender gap has persisted over the years and this problem is more severe at higher education levels and professional hierarchies. Scientists and engineers of diverse gender, interests, and cultures constitute a more inclusive workforce which in turn produces more innovative and productive results, hence participation of African women at the higher strata of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics is not simply a matter of fairness but a necessity in growing the economy by harnessing the untapped talent and resources of the continent. There is therefore a need to close the digital gender gap and ensure that more African women and girls are equally participating in technology revolution to obtain a better gender balance in the STEM sectors.
Working to Advance STEM Education for African Women (WAAW Foundation) is an initiative to promote not only the women in science but also science itself. The goal is to introduce more women to STEM, use the knowledge of technology to advance the quality of life for African women and augment these women to bring their unique perspectives to science. By alleviating gender divide, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics are being strengthened, and diverse research opportunities will be opened and better explored throughout the world. For stories about how WAAW Foundation has been working to advance STEM Education for African Women, we invite you to visit http://waawfoundation.org/impact-where-we-work/.