The advances in information and communication technologies represent a revolution in the way people interact, communicate, work, and live among each other.
In Kenya social media has changed the way we communicate women's issues. With new technology discoveries, women's rights are taking center stage. Digital power is responsible for this innovative, robust wave of awareness about feminism.
As a graduate student in communications, coming from a humble background, I felt the need to empower young girls and women on how to use digital technology to share their voices and connect with their communities, with policymakers, and with each other. These are girls who are living in Kibera slums; the largest slum in Africa with a population of approximately 2.5 million slum dwellers in Nairobi representing 60% of the Nairobi population and occupying just 6% of the land.
This is a positive development for girls and women. It is also a positive development for the world since it makes information easily available so that girls and women can learn and make informed decisions. When girls and women are empowered, they lift up their families, communities, and countries at large.
As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let’s also focus on how we can advance the rights and well-being of girls and women worldwide. For example, in many communities, pregnant women and new mothers do not have easy access to health clinics. Programs like Jacaranda m-health technology uses mobile to provide Kenyan mothers with important maternal health information and resources. These messages are built around key ways to improve health outcomes for both the mother and baby, including antenatal care, nutrition, and postpartum family planning.
Jacaranda Health is a social enterprise that is changing the way maternity care is provided in East Africa. Its staff of business and healthcare professionals work to expand the line of Jacaranda Maternity Hospitals and through partnerships build a network of maternity hospitals in the public and private sector that delivers high quality, respectful maternal healthcare.
Beyond providing information, ICTs provide economic opportunities, connecting girls and women to markets, helping them search for jobs, fostering entrepreneurship, providing ways to save money, and improving education.
To close the gender gap in technology, the government needs to make the internet and education more accessible and affordable to girls and women so that they can drive progress on a number of Sustainable Development Goals.