A Kano Based Non-Governmental Organization, Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), has called for National Gender Digital Inclusion to end and bridge gender digital divide in Nigeria. This was contained in a press release singed by the group program Assistant, Gender and Internet Advocacy, Maryam Ado Haruna and made available to news men in Kano on Monday shortly after their National conference in Abuja. According to Maryam, Gender digital exclusion has been a cross-cutting factor affecting development in Nigeria as women especially in the rural communities are digitally marginalized. She said, “there is a huge gap and inequality in access, distribution and use of information, communication and technologies between men and women as well as boys and girls in Nigeria” That Participation and representation of women in events around internet policies is equally low in the country as this could be clearly noted from ratio of the previous male to female in Nigeria Internet Governance Forum which was almost 90:10. Haruna noted that, access to the Internet is extremely important for women to be able to gain information which may not be readily available to them elsewhere but unfortunately, women and girls in Nigeria are left out. According to Maryam, to address the lingering problem, CITAD with support from Association for Progressive Communications (APC), organized the First Women Internet Governance Forum (Women-IGF) in Nigeria which brought together over 50 female journalists, female CSOs, women in the digital industries, academia, government agencies and private companies from various part of the country who sat together and identified women digital challenges and proffer solutions to some of the identified challenges. Furthermore, that the National Conference aimed to Enhance public understanding of the importance of internet to women, increase the number of women who access and use the internet effectively in Nigeria as well as, Contribute to the gender digital inclusion of women in the country. Research has indicated that, more men use the internet than women. Similarly, more men participate in forums, events and activities that shape internet policies than their women counterpart. CITAD identified some factors that hindered the participation and use of internet by women in the Country to include; Lack of Internet Access, Lack of policies supporting Internet and gender in the society, Gender Based Challenges online and Socio-cultural and religious factors. They called on the Nigeria Communication Commission NCC, to monitor all significant matters relating to the performance of all licensed telecoms service providers in Ensure technological empowerment to people with disability or special need in order to close technological barriers and digital gap, Support Initiative that will promote awareness and skills building for women and also Encourage service providers to Provide affordable internet for the society to make their recommendations and contribution towards global warming. And last but not the least, ensure that there are adequate and appropriate policies to deal with gender based violence online as well as harmful content.
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