As a high school student, I used to be quite poor in Mathematics. The Math teacher used to come in with his book and stand in front of the class and ask us to work out equations. The front desk in the middle row of the class there were these three boys who occupied it, directly facing the teacher. These were the students whom we all knew were good in Math and the teacher would start working the endless equations or the transformations on the board with the three boys shouting the answers. Whenever, they worked something and got to the next level, the teacher would ask the three boys what answers they would have come up with and the boys would shout their answer and move on to the next level. I remember sitting on my bench, holding my calculator blankly, confused and totally lost. The rest of the class would be totally forgotten as the teacher concentrated on the three boys in class and they moved on and covered new topics without even asking if the rest of the class was catching up.

I remember this now as I think of the absence of rural girls in this digital era. I work with girls in rural Hurungwe district in Zimbabwe on a leadership and mentorship program. I remember excitedly telling the girls that I had started a Facebook page on our project and had posted some of their pictures there as well as on our organizational website. I realized I was talking to myself judging by the blank looks on their faces. I asked them if they knew about the internet and how it works, and they shook their heads, no. Some of them had heard of Facebook but none of them had ever used it. These are girls between the ages of 15 and 19.

I realized this is the same case as when we were high school students in the Math class, which went on right before our eyes with a few people and the rest were left far behind. Why, because in our country a lot of people especially in urban areas have some of the latest technology within 24 hours of it being released to the public in developed countries. People own high tech gadgets like ipads, tablets, the latest smart phones and were on all the trendy social media platforms like Instagram Pintinterest and Twitter, yet when I took out my tablet to take photos with in a session with the girls they didn't know what it was. Public institutions in towns are now all connected to the internet,church pastors now read the Bible from their tablets in church, members of parliament walk around with the ipads and smart phones, ebanking is all over the place and it seems from afar that we are all moving at the same pace. It seems we are a country that is moving along with the rest of the world were the internet and technology are concerned. But is this really the case? Where is the rural girl, in all this? Isnt it the case of my high school Math teacher in a class of 45, he was moving along with only 3 students? Should this teacher go home happy and say he is making progress with his class. Should our leaders be happy with this technological progress when it is only skin deep? Again I ask, where is the rural girl in this digital era?

Take action! This post was submitted in response to WWW: Women Weave the Web .

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My apologies for the typos. Second paragraph, 4th line, I meant to say 'organizational website' and not organizational project

@GodessRumbi

You can actually edit your page by clicking on the ''edit'' on the upper right corner of the page. Thanking you for pointing out the existing scheme of things that work against the future of rural girls in the digital age.

Blessings, libudsuroy

''Every Day is a Journey and the Journey itself is Home.'' (Matsuo Basho)

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Godess...and it's so true what you say. So many times we hear about how girls, and especially rural girls, are getting left behind in so many ways. Luckily, there are incredible women all over the world supporting and empowering girls. Have you connected with Beatrice Achieng Nas? She is doing some incredible work with rural girls in Uganda.

Also, do you have a Twitter handle/name you'd feel comfortable sharing? I'd love to tweet about your post and tag you in it, to give your post more visibility.

Leana Mayzlina Digital Action Campaigns Manager World Pulse

Thank you Leana. Its funny you mentioned Beatrice Achieng Nas, I know her. We were on the same fellowship together in the US in 2013. She's a very inspirational woman, I actually got to know about World Pulse through seeing her recorded presentation at a World Pulse conference in the US whilst we were both still there.

About Twitter, yes, I do have a Twitter handle and it is @GodessRumbi

Sincerely,

Godess

@GodessRumbi

Wow, it is a small world where grassroots women leaders are concerned - so glad you both know each other AND that she introduced you to World Pulse. Thanks for participating in the campaign and I hope to read more of your posts. Don't forget - if you submit one more post to the campaign, you will be eligible for the $20,000 Lynn Syms Prize! The contest ends on August 13th!

Take care, Leana

Hi Goddess,

I hope this message finds you well. Thank you for writing about the absence of rural girls in literary, especially in schools. It seems the focus of education is on the boys in your country. Recently I was working with indigenous women in Guatemala to study their thoughts and beliefs about reproductive health rights. Your story is very hopeful and you can inspire so many people. Thank you so much for your entry.

Thank you too erincriley ! It is a long journey that we have embarked on. I hope we will reap the fruits one day.

Godess

@GodessRumbi

Hi Godess,

Your personal story is an important reflection on the skewed effect of technology. Thank you for reinforcing the fact that digital inclusion must be spread across the board. Thank you for the reminder; your story is inspiring!

Your sister, Grace

Thanks for your reflection on this issue, Godess. We all have a role to play in ensuring that we transition from digital divide/inequality to digital inclusion. We have our work cut out for us but it's reassuring to know that we are not alone in this task.