Rwanda has made significant strides in bridging the digital gender gap by adopting and implementing various technologies.
The country has been working towards creating a more inclusive and equitable society where women can participate and benefit from technological advancements.
Here, we list eight technologies that have been instrumental:
Mobile phones have been crucial in providing women with access to information, education, and services.
According to a recent study by GSMA, the mobile gender gap in Rwanda shrunk from 23 per cent in 2014 to 8 per cent in 2019. The study also found that women who use mobile phones in Rwanda were more likely to seek medical treatment when they needed it, and were more likely to access health information and services.
For example, a mobile app called ‘HelloMama’ provides pregnant women with information on maternal and child health, while ‘Mobile 4 Literacy’ uses SMS to deliver educational content to women who cannot read.
However, the number is still low. According to UN Women, in Rwanda, the proportion of women aged 15-49 years who own a telephone stand at 48 per cent compared to 62 per cent of men.
E-commerce platforms have enabled women to sell their products and services online, expanding their market reach. For example, the ‘SheTrade’ platform connects women entrepreneurs with buyers and investors from around the world.
E-commerce platforms like ‘Indego Africa’, ‘Kasha’, among others, have enabled women to sell their products and services online, reaching a wider customer base and increasing their income.
Social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, have enabled women in Rwanda to connect with each other, share information, and advocate for their rights. Social media has played an important role in empowering women’s voices and promoting gender equality in Rwanda.
Although social media has played a big role, there is still online gender-based violence on the platforms. Women are often the targets of harassment, threats, and abuse online, which can have devastating effects on their mental health and well-being.
Digital literacy programmes
Digital literacy programmes have equipped women with the necessary skills to use digital technologies effectively. One example us the ‘Tunga’ programme, which focuses on training women in coding and software development, and has helped increase the number of women working in the tech industry in Rwanda.
Access to reliable and affordable energy has been a challenge for many women in Rwanda, particularly in rural areas to get connected online. Solar energy technology has enabled women to use technological devices and access clean and affordable energy, improving their quality of life and enabling them to start and run businesses.
Virtual learning platforms have made education accessible to women who cannot attend physical classes. The ‘Smart Classrooms’ programme provides access to digital learning resources, enabling women to access education and training opportunities.
Smart agriculture technologies have enabled women to increase their agricultural productivity and income. One example is the ‘Rwanda Climate Services for Agriculture’ programme which provides weather information to farmers, enabling them to make informed decisions on crop planting and management.
Source: Patrick Nzabonimpa/ The New Times Rwanda