by AKANI CHAUKE
JOHANNESBURG – WITH Africa’s future reliant on its ability to adapt to digital transformation and the fourth industrial revolution (4IR), leveling the playing field for women has become critical.
It has also never been more important to change the cyber security workforce gender statistics than it currently is.
Against the backdrop of the disparity, the 2021 Tomorrow’s Cyber Heroines study has been undertaken.
CyberHeroines, KnowBe4 Africa and Infosphere Limited surveyed more than 445 teachers across 14 African countries to unpack the complexities that face African girls in the technology landscape.
Only 3,7 percent of African schools offer cyber security as a subject.
Anna Collard, Senior Vice President of Content Strategy and Evangelist KnowBe4 Africa, said they have to give girls more opportunities, inspire them to get involved in technology and the cyber security field and to remove the preconceived and socialised ideas that prevent women from pursuing careers in technology.
“The world is digitising rapidly and women are at risk of being left behind. We have to change the dialogue around technology and make it more inclusive for women and girls,” Collard said.
A recent study by the Association for Progressive Communications underscored the reality of the gender digital divide.
In Africa, women have less access to internet-based technologies than men.
They have fewer opportunities and are more limited in their ability to move out from under poverty.
“We want African women to participate in the digital age. We cannot leave them behind,” said Aprielle Oichoe, Managing Director of InfoSphere.
The official said stakeholders must empower girls to go into technology and make a conscious decision to change the way society treats girls.
“The dialogue needs to focus on making technology interesting for girls, not just something that they should ‘leave to their brother’,” Oichoe said.
According to research, women of colour are 34 percent more likely to be targeted by online hate speech than their white counterparts. A huge percentage of African girls are concerned about their online safety.
“We must give them the tools, training and confidence they need to prepare for this online vitriol and protect themselves,” Collard said.
March 8 is International Women’s Day, is one of the most important days of the year to raise awareness about women’s equality.
– CAJ News