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Gvt calls for ICT players to make policies that bridge the gender digital divide in Zim

The Ministry of ICT, Postal and Courier Services has commemorated the International Girls in ICT Day 2021 by calling upon all players in the ICT sector to make deliberate policies and systems within their institutions that make bridging the gender digital divide a priority, BusinessMail can report.

The International Girls in ICT Day was established by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), a United Nations Agency for Telecommunications, with the aim to create a global environment that empowers and encourages young girls and women to consider careers in the growing field of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).

Reaserch has shown that women are still under represented in the ICT labour market. Girls and women often have less access to technology and the internet compared to boys and men. The internet gap is largest in African countries, whereby in terms of mobile phone ownership, most men own mobile cellphones than women.

Speaking at the virtual commemorations of the International Girls in ICT Day 2021 on Thursday, ICT Minister Dr Jenfan Muswere called upon all players in the ICT sector to make deliberate policies and systems within their institutions that make bridging the gender digital divide a priority.

“I call upon all players in the ICT sector to make policies that includes girls and young women. I would therefore like to urge girls and young women to equally participate in innovation programs as their male counterparts. Furthermore, I urge girls and young women to take up careers in the exciting and rewarding world of ICTs. By grabbing the vast opportunities in the ICT sector, women and girls would not only empower themselves but also contribute to the country’s economic development.

It is my belief that this commemoration and other efforts made within the sector will result in many more girls and young women becoming innovators, engineers, network engineers and other high ranking positions in this field. I further encourage the girls again, to take full advantage of these opportunities to establish their businesses in future,” he said.

Zimbabwe’s largest ICT player, the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ), through the Universal Service Fund, launched a skills development initiative which has seen over 11 000 citizens in rural areas trained on digital literacy and these include women and girls.

Commemorating this day, Dr Muswere also talked about how the government of Zimbabwe, through the Ministry of ICT is making huge investments in developing long term ICT solutions and technologies that will act as a buffer in future disasters or occurrences of such disruptive nature like the Covid-19 pandemic.

“To me, these disruptions also present opportunities for young people, across all divides to stand up and wear their innovative hats in order to partner the Government in coming up with various home-grown ICT solutions to current and future problems. Such innovations will not only provide the much-needed employment for other young people across the country, but also provide solutions for our country’s economic sustenance,” he added.

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