Have you ever wondered why digital literacy is important for women? Read on to learn how digital literacy can bring more women to the workforce.
What is digital literacy?
Digital literacy is the ability to use information and communication technologies like social media, internet platforms and mobile devices to find, create, evaluate and communicate pieces of information effectively.
Why digital literacy is important for women?
Being digitally literate has become an essential criterion in establishing your presence and making an identity in the modern world. Digital literacy helps you be more efficient and makes things more accessible, improving your quality of life.
Many digital skills have now become necessary for everyday use. Whether you want to make your life a bit simpler or excel in the job, ensure that you are proactive in learning digital technologies.
Technology as a whole is an essential component in achieving gender equality. The modern world is increasingly moving online, and it’s equally important for men and women to adapt to the changes and be self-reliant on technology, whether for business or social connections.
Ironically, most of our women are still dependent on men for various tasks due to a lack of digital literacy. Whether making an online payment or preparing a presentation, women rely on men to perform these daily activities. This often leads to low self-esteem and a lack of confidence.
There is no denying the fact that when women get better access to education and digital literacy, they-
- become more productive
- become more career-oriented
- become more financially independent
- become more aware of their rights
- become more aware of the requirement to start their own business
- contribute to the country’s economy as a whole
Common Digital Literacy Skills Which Every Women Should Possess
Information literacy helps women identify, evaluate, apply and acknowledge information and use them ethically. It helps them develop a sense of scepticism while consuming information and makes them aware of fake news.
Photo Visual Literacy
Photo visual literacy helps in decoding and understanding visual information quickly and with ease.
It enables women to understand the advantages of working online and helps them identify and avoid potential traps and dangers in cyberspace.
Getting lost in cyberspace while navigating the internet is very common. Branching literacy helps women identify the complexity of cyberspace and navigate the digital space successfully.
It’s the ability to create something meaningful with all the available media online.
10 Reasons Why Digital Literacy Is Important For Women
#1. Helps In Increased Awareness
When women of our society are aware, we can expect a better economy, less violence and healthier citizens. Gender inequality often leads to weakened families, communities and the nation.
With digital literacy and access to social media and search engines, more and more women can educate themselves. They can find answers to their queries and be well informed, leading to self-awareness.
With the vast amount of information available online, women can enrich their knowledge and gain new insights and experiences in the comfort of their homes.
Gaining new insights helps them pick up new skills and develop new interests. Increased awareness helps enhance their lifestyle, boost self-confidence, and refine their thought process.
#2. Divide Gender Inequality
As per a report by UNICEF, roughly 46 percent of boys use the internet on their phones compared to 27 percent of girls. With digitisation, economic and social growth entirely depend on people’s technology usage.
With the ongoing digital gender divide, very few girls will have employment opportunities and may face barriers in the workplace. Digital adoption for women, particularly girls, may empower them, helping in increased civic engagement and raising awareness of their rights.
Digital access, digital literacy and online safety are the three broad categories which need to be accessed to close the growing digital gender divide.
Technology and the internet can be a great boom for women and girls. Still, a lack of opportunities, skills and fear of discrimination prevent many from using digital tools and online content.
To achieve gender equality, women need equal access to technology, digital training, and tip to be safe online.
#3. Strengthen Economic Participation
The COVID-19 pandemic has paved the way for teleworking. More and more businesses are now moving their operations online. It has opened up flexible ways of working and is one of the best times for women to participate actively in the economy.
Digital literacy in women is a significant step toward women’s empowerment, and it entrusts them in the right direction giving them greater control over their money and savings.
Giving women access to mobile banking and digital skilling programmes enables them in the right direction to start their new businesses. This, in turn, may prove beneficial for the better economic condition of their family and community as a whole.
Bridging the digital gap and giving women the opportunity to participate equally in economic life is crucial for the country’s development.
#4. Overcome Traditional Limitation
In developing countries, women are still subjected to social barriers which limit their participation in outdoor activities. The traditional gender roles take over and leave them confined to household work, restricting their opportunities to learn and grow.
Digital literacy opens new doors for them, giving them access to learning resources in the comfort of their homes. While this doesn’t solve gender inequality; it allows women to become more aware of their rights and stand up for themselves.
#5. Better Access to Information and Opportunity
Women become informed by being digitally literate. They become more aware by having access to the internet, which is a wealth of information.
Better access to information leads to women making more informed choices in life, and it helps them learn something new and develop new skills and interests.
Being digitally literate gives women the chance to get real-time updates and perceive information globally.
#6. Helps In Increased Safety
As our women embrace technology, it is equally essential for them to understand its potential challenges. The online world may be beneficial in many ways, but it’s necessary to give them the required tools to be safe online.
Cyberbullying, Sexting, Plagiarism, Copyright Issues, Virus Protection, and Online exploitation are a few things our women need to know.
From protecting passwords to safeguarding personal information, there are many risks associated with the use of technology.
Digital literacy gives women an understanding of good online safety
practices and increases their safety online. With digital literacy, women become more vigilant about their safety, which helps them become better internet users.
#7. Becoming A Better Digital Citizen
Digital citizenship refers to the norms of using digital platforms responsibly and appropriately. While embracing digital literacy, women should also learn to become responsible digital citizens.
By being digitally literate, women can make better choices about how these technologies can be utilised for everyday tasks and make life easier.
#8. Foster Learning and Empowering
Digital literacy in women leads to creativity, develops critical thinking and makes them better at problem-solving. Furthermore, knowledge of digital tools, such as projectors, smartboards, and tablets, empower women and provide them with a safe and connected environment.
By being digitally literate, women access many online free learning platforms. This, in turn, helps foster the process of continuous learning and gaining new insights. Digital literacy helps women learn new skills and helps them fight social discrimination.
#9. Making Thoughtful Decisions
Women’s participation in decision-making reduces conflicts, broadens the perspective, and increases innovation and creativity.
Women are considered to have higher social sensitivity and often make better decisions. When they are digitally literate, they can make more informed choices for society.
#10. Enhances Employability
With digitisation, employers are looking for people who have a decent online presence. Soft digital skills are preferred more over traditional hard skills, and women need to create an online presence to achieve their professional goals.
Digital literacy is fast emerging to be an essential skill for employability. It is also linked with higher earning potential.
Three Ways To Accelerate Digital Literacy Among Women
#1. Providing A User-Friendly Digital Infrastructure
Public internet access points in safe places like a library or community centre are a good way of closing the gender gap. Tailored data plans and digital skill programs for women are another way of accelerating digital literacy among women. All these are linked to better access, increased usage and affordability.
#2. Make Women Aware Of The Digital Financial Solutions
Access to digital financial services, including e-banking, mobile money, and e-commerce platforms, can work wonders in helping a business grow as compared to cash-based service transactions. When women are financially literate, they can make their own financial decisions, propelling the society forward.
#3. Provide Women With The Required Digital Skills And Business Training
Providing women with the right digital business skills will help them successfully start and run a business. From learning how to set up their online store and sell products or services online, learning digital skills and business training will help women grow as successful entrepreneurs.
Technology affects everyone, and the sooner we get accustomed to the changing scenario, the better. Supporting our women to become well-informed digital literate citizens is a big step toward creating a flourishing digital economy.
About the author:
Vandana Das is a full-time writer and blogger. She also manages content for the SHEROES platform.