April 23 marks the International Girls in ICT Day. This day promotes gender equality by increasing social awareness about possible career advancements available within the information and communications technology (ICT) industry as well as highlighting campaigns and programs that strive to empower and grant women around the world the opportunity to learn and develop their skills and understanding about ICT.
Telecentre Women – Empowerment through Technology
Even in the midst of technological development, the subject of gender equality between men and women is still apparent. From the household, the argument now arises in the digital world of ICT where it is predominantly headed by men. As such, Telecentre.org Foundation, in partnership with the DOST-ICTO, aims to provide women, especially those in disadvantaged communities, an avenue to become part of the ICT industry and make them aware that they can strive for a career in this field by way of digital literacy.
One of their key campaigns is Telecentre Women. Through this campaign, women in different ages are taught various levels of digital literacy, ranging from how to use the computer to more advanced ICT-related lessons, all of which are geared for the empowerment and improvement of their lives. Digital literacy gives them access to the vast digital community which they can use to establish connections, as well as open doors for higher learning, corporate, and entrepreneurial opportunities. Women who have successfully learned from the program can then pass the knowledge they have accumulated to other women within their communities from the grassroots level in order to cultivate an ICT-enabled community.
Last year, the Telecentre Women campaign was part of the winners of the Gender Equality Mainstreaming Technology (GEM-Tech) Awards. The annual award is given to programs and campaigns that strive for the advancement of women’s meaningful engagement with ICTs and their roles as decision-makers and producers within the sector.
Apart from the Telecentre Women campaign, the ICT Office, through its eSociety division, is also making strides in reaching out to communities in rural areas and teaching them about digital literacy by establishing Tech4ED centers. Such centers serve as knowledge hubs where rural folk can have access to opportunities that are present in the Internet, from alternative learning for basic education, skills training for livelihood and employment, to online job portals and markets, as well as various channels of government services.
Now in the digital age, women have more options when it comes to aspiring for a career. Programs such as Telecentre Women and Tech4ED strive to assist women transcend social norms and empower them to hold their future in their hands.