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Lack of technical literacy and education leads to digital gender inequality: Unicef

According to Unicef if girls and women remain digitally illiterate, they risk becoming further marginalised in society and at home.

Lack of technical literacy and education leads to digital gender inequality: Unicef
In India, only 29 per cent of all users are female. wikimedia commons
  • A step towards digitalised Indian economy has been taken
  • The risk of becoming marginalised increases if girls and women remain digitally illiterate
  • In villages of Rajasthan and UP, they prohibit girls to have access to mobile phones

Kolkata, December 22, 2017: With less than one-third of India’s internet users being females, the country’s girls and women risk becoming further marginalised in society and at home if they remain digitally illiterate in the backdrop of the country making a public push towards a more digitalised economy, a Unicef report says.

“There is a digital gender gap as well. Globally, 12 per cent more men than women used the internet in 2017. In India, less than one third of internet users are female.

“… Recently, India has made a public push towards a more digitalised economy, including reducing dependency on physical cash. If girls and women remain digitally illiterate, they risk becoming further marginalised in society and at home,” says the 2017 edition of Unicef’s annual flagship publication “the State of the World’s Children Report” launched here on Thursday.

Themed “Children in a digital world”, the latest report provides country-level examples to give a sense of the kinds of barriers girls and women confront.

In India, where only 29 per cent of all internet users are female, girls in rural areas often face restrictions on their use of ICTs solely because of their gender, it says.

Citing examples, the report quotes a village governing body in rural Rajasthan as stating that “girls were not to use mobile phones or social media”.

“Another village in Uttar Pradesh banned unmarried girls from using mobile phones along with a ban on wearing certain kinds of clothing, such as jeans and T-shirts.”

Pointing out that digital connection and literacy offer advantages in a knowledge-based society, improving children’s lives and their future earning potential, the report says: “At the same time, connectivity doesn’t always equalise opportunity.”

“Digital divides can mirror broader societal divides — between rich and poor, cities and rural areas, between those with or without an education — and between women and men.

“India is one place in which the digital divide highlights society’s deep chasms,” says the report, calling for addressing the disparity at the highest levels for universal, safe access to be realised.

It says the digital gender divide is caused by a number of factors — “social norms, education levels, lack of technical literacy and lack of confidence among them — but is often rooted in parents’ concern for the safety of their daughters.

“Many fear that allowing girls to use the internet will lead to liaisons with men, bringing shame on the family. For most girls, if they are allowed to use the internet, their every move is monitored by their parents or brothers.

“In a society that is still largely patriarchal, for girls, traits like deference and obedience are often valued over intelligence and curiosity. In some households, technology is not seen as necessary or beneficial for girls and women,” the report says. (IANS)

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Here’s The List Of US Jobs With Highest Gender Gap in Wages

Overall, the pay gap has narrowed in the last 50 years, according to the Census Bureau’s Laughlin.

gender gap
In this May 24, 2018, photo, Rosa Franco, director of lending at Neighborhood Trust Federal Credit Union talks with employees at the bank in New York. Franco says the credit union's partnership with Finhabits is still in development and she anticipates a challenge in marketing the service to her clients, many of whom are consumed by pressing concerns like debt repayment and or sending money to relatives abroad. VOA

By now, we all know there’s a significant gender gap — that women earn less money than men even when doing the same work.

In 2016, women earned an average of $40,675, far less than the $50,741 for men, according Lynda Laughlin of the U.S. Census Bureau.

The bureau finds that the gender gap is largest in fields dominated by men, such as when it comes to being the chief executive of a company. While male CEOs make an average of $141,000 annually, women in the same job picked up about $104,000 — that’s 73 percent of what the guys earn for doing the same work, according to the American Community Survey.

gender gap
Graphic — US Census Bureau. VOA

Other professions where the gap is most significant include sales and finance. For example, male financial advisors are paid an average of $102,000 while women in the same field end up with $69,000. That means the women are earning about 70 cents for every dollar a man makes.

Many of the highest paid jobs for women, including physician, surgeon, nurse anesthetist and dentist, are in health fields.

The gender gap between men and women is lowest among pharmacists, where the women earn 97 cents for every dollar their male colleagues make.

Even the best education can’t close the void.

In fact, an analysis of numbers from the U.S. Department of Education finds that the disparity might even be wider for men and women who are graduates of America’s most elite universities.

gender gap
Colleges with biggest gender gap. VOA

he average man in that study pulls in a salary of $59,000 soon after graduating, but his female counterparts make 19 percent less, earning about $48,000. Of the 117 top-ranked colleges in the analysis, women came out financially on top in only three schools: Yale University, Clark University, and Stevens Institute of Technology. Female graduates earn less than males for all of the other schools, and often by a significant amount.

The 10 universities where the pay gap is most significant include some of the nation’s most prestigious. At No. 1 is Stanford University, where women graduates end up earning $36,000 less than their former fellow male students. Also on the list are Princeton, Harvard, MIT and Duke University.

Also Read: The European Union Warns Facebook Over Consumer’s Data Usage

Overall, the pay gap has narrowed in the last 50 years, according to the Census Bureau’s Laughlin, due in part to the increasing presence of women in the work force and their attainment of higher levels of education. (VOA)