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Two days ago, a team of staff of CITAD went to Shara in Sumaila local government area of Kano to conduct a COVID-19 sensitization programme for teachers and students as well as parents of Shara Primary School, a community school that CITAD and the community established about four years ago.

Although enrolment had increased but we found a number of the girls had dropped out. In response to the unvocalized question of our team members, the Community leader said that they had been married off.

They were still to be functionally literate and painfully they had reached the end of their education pursuit. It also in a way marked the end of the chance for them to get formal entrepreneurship and vocational education. And today we here talking about digital gender inclusion in a context that girls horizons are not even given the chance to see beyond the primary school. These Shara girls have been digitally excluded because digital inclusion requires functional literacy. Without being literate, they cannot interact with the various devices (or at least many of them) as to get the best from access to information technology

But Shara is only one instance at which you are painfully exposed to the trajectory that tells you how far behind women are left digitally. The lockdown presented another question. CITAD undertook a research and found a dramatic increase in incidence of domestic violence during the period of the lockdown. While technology provides a mean for victims to communicate to the outside world, for assistance, support, remedy, many of these women suffered, locked in their homes because they could not access technology to come to their aid.

Three key issues were responsible for this. First, like the Shara girls, women in general have lesser opportunities to acquire education than men. And as the point made earlier, without education you cannot make effective use of the treasure that is online. The second is that women are generally socially, economically, educationally and politically marginalized and therefore on are generally poorer. They constitute the great majority of the people living below the poverty line in the country. This is why a number of researchers around poverty say that poverty has a feminine face in Nigeria. The effective use of technology is dependent upon affordability. With more women poorer, they are less able to afford technology and hence end up unable to access and it us.

Continue reading on the CITAD website.