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As the world migrates to digital platforms, so does governance. E-governance – the application of information and communication technology (ICT) for delivering government services – has been embraced globally as a tool for enhancing efficiency, transparency and citizen participation. However, as many African nations, including Kenya, strive towards fully digitised governance, a pertinent question arises: Are all citizens equally equipped to participate in and benefit from this transformation?

This question is particularly crucial given the significant upsurge in internet users around the world and the growing dependence on online platforms.

In Kenya, the ascendancy of digital transformations such as the successful mobile banking platform, M-Pesa, exemplifies the nation's strides in digital innovation. With its reputation as the Silicon Savannah of Eastern Africa, Kenya has positioned itself as a regional leader in digitalisation. Further bolstering this position is President Ruto's recent pledge to digitise all government services by the end of 2023, thus kindling the torch of a digital future. However, the transition into the digital sphere is not without its challenges.

Despite the promising advances in e-governance, a significant gender disparity exists. Women and girls, who make up roughly 50% of Kenya's population, often bear the brunt of this exclusion due to various socio-cultural, educational and economic barriers. For instance, the Mobile Gender Gap Report 2023 published by the international association for mobile network operators GSMA, indicates that only 39% of Kenyan women have access to the internet compared to 59% of men.

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Image: AI-generated illustration