The new freedom of expression brought by the internet goes far beyond politics. People relate to each other in new ways on a medium that offers the cover of anonymity but also deception. However, information technology and the internet are rapidly transforming almost every aspect of our lives - some for better, while others for worse.
Ghana has in recent years been celebrated for achieving a number of development milestones, despite these achievements, there are still deep-seated inequalities among segments of the population particularly between male and female populations. The gendered dimensions of inequality in the Ghanaian society cut across economic development, education, access to healthcare, vulnerability to violence and even political representation as said by a baseline report on women's rights online issues in Ghana, published by Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) in December 2017.
These inequalities are fueled by some cultural and social practices, high levels of illiteracy and general lack of awareness among the citizenry. Gender inequality creates an unhealthy situation where most women and girls feel unnecessarily insignificant and end up as passive observers in the society while men, unfortunately, tend to have a feeling of superiority and dominate the women in their lives. In a country where the female population is more than half (about 51.2%) of the total population (Ghana Statistical Service, 2014), these realities are highly retrogressive and promote an imbalanced society which is detrimental for holistic development.
One dynamic tool that has the potential to reverse this trend and create an equally enabling atmosphere for both genders is the internet. Unfortunately, since the online world is a reflection of offline realities, similar patriarchal and misogynist trends are being experienced online and this is denying several women access to the opportunities that the internet offers. Some factors that deter women from being online include online safety issues such as cyberbullying, harassment, name calling and trolling and "revenge pornography". Social media platforms are most especially the fertile grounds for online harassment but these behaviours occur in a wide range of online venues.
Continue reading at GenderIT.org.