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Joined: May 16, 2003
Posts: 27 (view all)
Poster Rank: Talkative
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Country: Nigeria
Nov 10, 2003

The world is now almost a global village as a result of ICT.
Information is critical to survival and development. Information is paver,
information is wealth, information is development. The global information
society demands higher levels of efficiency in governance, economy,
commerce. Globalization can be viewed as a global technology development and
revenue basket. The relationship between technology, education
employment, productivity, economic development and sustainable growth and
complex but directly related. The potential of ICT to improve the quality of
governance, of self-development is amazing.

The critical question now is why/how young women chose to (or
not to) participate in ICT4D policy processes.

Policy is principles that one believes. It is a guide, a sort
of road map that helps point to the direction of things to be followed.
The goal or aim always underlies policy formulation which may bring out
objectives and expected outcomes.

In every day life women are marginalized. Very few women are
convinced useful and central to any political, economic and social
decision making mechanisms. It means denying them opportunities that could
make them progress, have access to welfare, education, health, shelter
and the basic means of social existence. If then formulation they do
not have opportunities even to take decision in matters concerning them,
how can they get involved in policy formulation.

It is true that times have changed and are still changing.
The society is evolving day by day and opportunities are expanding but
our socialization method relatively remains the same. Except for a few
well-educated women, still see gender in equality and low status of women
as normal. Therefore young women even after their university education
still see decision-making as a matter for man. Yet you cannot formulate
policy without taking decisions or vice - versa. It is the learned
roles that make the woman not to be ambition, assertive and lacking in
self-esteem and confidence.

One of the fundamental factors perpetrating gender
discrimination is the economic status of women. Human development is impossible
without gender equality. As long as women are excluded from the
development process, development will remain lopsided and weak. People must
have access to equal opportunities. All barriers to economic opportunities
must be eliminated.

One of the ways of eliminating inequality is access to
education. Education can be formal or informal. Women constitute more than
half of Nigeria's total population of over 120 million. The majority of
this population of women live in the rural areas with little education.
Several indications including measures of literacy, school enrolment
and years in school reveals that the level of female education is low in

There is no doubt that socialization is an aspect of
education. Learned roles, attributes, attitudes and expectation as constructed
by society forms part of us as we grow from infancy to adolescent to
adulthood and old age and shapes our future and our life cycle.
Socialization is done at the level of household and community and extends to
other institution such as the school, the church, law, government
institutions, media etc. Each of these constitutions.

Young women choose or not to participate in ICT4D policy process

Social - construction of roles attributes, attitudes and expectations
that teach that certain census and subjects are exclusively for man many
prove a barrier to participation.

The belief though erroneously that decision-making is for man even in
matters that concern woman is a barrier. In Nigeria, policy making in
governance is dominated by men and where women are involved, it is only

The expectation that the place of women is in the kitchen and in
reproduction and not in influencing policies or participation in governance.

The belief that a woman's views should not go contrary to that of her
understanding. Young women are paleface very careful not to hold a
contrary view to that of their husband or boyfriends.

The belief that the glory of every woman is her husband. This makes
young women even while in school to have on ambition and one only that of
getting married and getting a well - to - do man. Things like policy
formulation or influencing policy do not cross their mind.

Many of the young women as a result of socialization is shy, lack
self-esteem, confidence and assertion. They may like to contribute but
cannot because of those deficiencies.

Political awareness is law. Young women are not seen sensitized and
mobilized as their male counterparts to be able to discuss, critize
objectively and make effective contribution to political, economic and social
issues. To majority of them this should be left for man and yet by
contributing and constructive criticism, policy processes will be
influenced and gaps brought to the attention of government and corporate

Poverty level is high, unemployment rate high. There is feminization of
poverty. Young women cannot afford ICT hard ware and the various
services available unlike some of their male counterparts who inherit
property and are always given preference by families. Parents who can afford
it will prefer to buy for their sons because they want very much for
them to succeed. The young women are expected to marry and if they must
one me, it should be from their husband. Thus the young men are able to
source as much information as they like more than young man and are
able to exchange information and ideas that help to empower them more than
the girls.

The cyber cafés that are around and in any case only in unsan
areas are expensive and unaffordable by many of the young women
particularly the majority who come from not-so-well-to do and poor families.
Besides few cyber cafés there one are always congested and by tradition
women are not supposed to go out at night. Many of the young women,
since women are socialized early in life to act as "shadow mothers" engage
in petty trading to help their families and therefore have no time to
source for information or engage in the discussion of topical issues.

Majority of the young women that have access to ICT only go to check
their mails. Apart from email, music and e-friendship, they do not engage
in serious services offered by ICT.

Electricity supply in Nigeria is very epileptic and young woman cannot
afford generations.

Access to education is law compared to that of young boys; yet access
to education and tracing is vital to achieve the functional literacy
necessary to explore ICT potentials. In the rural areas where more than
70% of the women live and engage in farming and trading, ICT is unknown
by majority. Their products are seeing competitively sold on
international markets while they receive peanuts in the country. The case of ICT
will help them know current trends in their commodities, improve their
lives and be able to articulate their views.

Meanwhile, Nigeria has not come out with any comprehensive ICT policy
or proposal. Although people are writing and the ICT industry is
graving, these writings and comment come mainly from the man. ICT industry is
dominated by man and many young woman do not have the skill and
expertise needed to work and make a career on the ICT industry.

Recently NEPAD Nigeria has appointed leading systems integrator,
resourcery Ltd as its strategic Information Communication Technology (ICT)
partner to promote its ICT vision and mission for Nigeria.

However, having said all these, two major factors militating against
young woman influencing policy processes me.

- Nigeria government and Nigerians do not listen to youths.
They are not mature enough to influence policies.

- Women are immature and reason like children.

- Mainstreaming of gender issues has not seen feasible in
Nigeria despite all efforts.

- The are many young women who would want to contribute but are
quite ignorant on how to go about it.

Current trends suggest you can acquire business knowledge, transact
business, recruit staff, get apartment, acquire education online and great
potential for human capital development. Young women are in dare need
of these facilities to be able to free themselves from gender inequality
and compete with their male counterparts.

Development affects man and woman differently but affects
them anyway. Development is centered around human beings and it is for
human beings young woman are in their productive and reproductive age and
should be given every opportunity to develop to welcome inequality.
ICT4D provides a very good opportunity for that. But unless gender issues
are mainstreamed into policy formulations young women may be unable to
utilize optimally the benefits of ICT4D. Both policy and actions that
flow from it must be gender sensitive. To achieve this, young woman
should be sensitized and empowered to articulate crews and get involved in
policy processes on ICT4D to achieve gender equality in this area.

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