Planning is underway for an initiative that could transform the digital literacy landscape for women and girls in Africa. Last spring, discussions took place at the United Nations regarding Intel She Will Connect, a new program developed by the technology company and its partners that aims to expand the digital literacy skills of millions of young women in Africa over the next three years.
The idea for the program sprang directly from the findings documented in Women and the Web, a report commissioned by Intel in consultation with UN Women, the women’s global network World Pulse, and the Office of Global Women’s Issues of the U.S. State Department. The report revealed that in developing countries, an average of 25 percent fewer women than men have access to and use the Internet, with the largest gap of all – 43 percent – occurring in sub-Saharan Africa. Given the huge economic, professional, and social value of the Internet, this digital gender gap can have serious consequences for women, both on a personal level and in terms of global women’s empowerment.
Intel She Will Connect plans to bridge this gap through an innovative combination of digital literacy and skills training, including gender-relevant content, and an online peer support network. The program will launch first in sub-Saharan Africa, with initial pilots set to take place in Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa. The program’s goal is to connect with 5 million young women in the region by 2016.