Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA)

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Promoting the Digital Inclusion of the Girl Child

Promoting the Digital Inclusion of the Girl Child’ was the title of the keynote address delivered by Prof Adenike Osofisan, a member of NiRA Board of Trustees,  at the Women IGF 2020 on Wednesday, 23rd September 2020. The Women IGF 2020, with the main theme of “Women, Covid-19, and the Internet”, was a pre-event of the virtual Nigeria Internet Governance Forum 2020 (vNIGF2020). This pre-event was organized by the Nigeria Internet Governance Forum in Conjunction with the Centre for Information And Development (CITAD). Prof Osofisan commenced her keynote address by stating that “Promoting the Digital Inclusion of the Girl Child” is very dear to her heart and it is a “Right Turn Paradigm”.

She said that ‘A right turn paradigm is a solution that comes from innovation and thinking outside the box. The “Right turn paradigm” is performance-oriented, rather than merely being about sex or rank.  The Digital inclusion of the Girl Child must be addressed as a stand-alone goal of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in order to truly conquer gender inequality, injustice, and poverty in the Twenty-First Century’.

Prof Osofisan stated that ‘Promoting Digital inclusion of the Girl Child will go a long way towards achieving many of these seventeen goals of the MDGs’. The education of a Girl Child is of utmost importance as the girl child grows up to be a woman.

The keynote address spoke on the digital divide, or technology gap, being the difference between groups with access to technology and the Internet and those without. In the world, the gender digital divide in access to the Internet was reported as high but with the Internet gap being the largest in the African continent. The paper addressed the impact of the digital divide which can negatively impact countries’ potential for economic growth and development.

Prof Osofisan acknowledged the efforts of some young Nigerian women that have programs targeted towards the Girl Child with respect to promoting the digital inclusion of the Girl Child. She concluded by stating that there was the need to have more initiatives targeted towards the Girl Child only in order to promote the digital inclusion of the Girl Child because there still exist many challenges inhibiting her progress in the digital world. She mentioned the need to provide more capacity-building projects to help the Girl Child harness fine tech, apps, mobile and digital platforms to improve their lot in life.

Prof Osofisan ended her presentation by stating “Through Digital awareness programs and campaign, Digital Opportunity, the know-how and understanding basic IT skills, Digital opportunities and Digital empowerment, we can achieve a world where women and girls can live and lead without fear or discrimination. The Girl Child will then have a right to be safe online and be free to speak up without harassment. We can create a world, where the Girl Child and women can play a significant role in the 4th Industrial Revolution”.