International Telecommunication Union


Radek Spousta

Cite as

International telecommunication union

Topic A: Addressing the Gender-related Digital Divide

Country: Kenya
Delegate: Radek Spousta

ITC provides a unique opportunity to transform the economy and improve the life of all citizens. To use the full potential of this change, everyone should be able to participate. Unfortunately, women are underrepresented in the ICT sector and are disadvantaged in learning digital skills in general. The gender-related digital divine creates not only the inequality in society, but it has also a negative effect on the economy.

The gender-related digital divide is an important topic for Kenya. Based on the WEF gender equality index, Kenya ranks on 76th place. 30% of ITC graduates are women, which is more than in many developed countries. [1] Even though the situation has improved significantly in recent years, the gap between men and women remains large.[2]

Despite the investment in the fibre network, the broadband internet connection is inaccessible for most of the citizens and the mobile phones are the most available and preferred medium of accessing the Internet. [3] [4] Mobile penetration in Kenya is 86% for men, but only 82% for women. The gap is even higher in mobile internet penetration, being 43% for men and 26% for women. While the largest barrier to owning a mobile phone is the affordability for both genders, the literacy and skills barrier is much more significant for women. Similarly, the awareness of mobile internet among women is much lower than among men.[5]

To improve the situation, the government put an emphasis on education. It has launched multiple programmes to improve ITC skills of its citizens. For example, DigiSchool programme aims to transform learning in Kenya into a 21st century education and improve digital literacy. As a result, 90.5% of public primary schools have been equipped with digital devices so far.[6]

Another barrier for women to be more represented in the ITC sector is security. According to the survey of World Wide Web Foundation, online harassment and poor protection of women online are one of the reasons why the gap exits. [2] The NGOs try to provide the basic online safety training to students to stop the rising number of online abuse cases.