The Smart Women and Girls Declaration to address issues that hinder women in ICT

Published 03 Feb 20

On this 11th May 2017, Government Officials, Heads of International Organizations that have an interest in developing the capacity of women and girls in the ICT sector, members of UN bodies, and the Academia among other participants of the Transform Africa Summit gathered to discuss the Smart Africa Women and Girls declaration’s principles. The Smart Women and Girls declaration is based on three main principles that are: to increase access and affordability of technology infrastructure for women and girls, to empower women and girls with digital skills, and to increase the participation of women and girls in STEM (Sciences, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Discussing the above principles, Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Chief of Strategic Planning at the International Telecommunication Union along with Janet Longmore, Founder, and CEO of Digital Opportunity Trust and Dr. Marie Christine Gasingirwa, Director General for Science, Technology, and Research in the Ministry of Education, Rwanda with the contribution of the participants, it was emphasized that the declaration needs to have clear measurable tools to track the progress of its implementation process. Participants also requested that the principles be based on bringing positive changes in women and girls’ lives and enhancing the mentorship program to facilitate knowledge sharing from successful women and girls in ICT. Minister Jean Pierre Nsengimana of Youth and ICT, added that the first principle of the declaration should include the issues of safety for women and girls using ICT. Thus he suggested its reformulation as follows: “Increase access, affordability, and safety of technology for women and girls.” Nyirasafari Esperance, Minister of Gender and Family Promotion informed that the declaration will be called the Kigali Africa Smart Women and Girls Declaration, “we believe it will make a positive impact on women and girls.” The Smart Africa Women and Girls Declaration was crafted and discussed on a continental level in a bid to push the Smart Africa Women summit agenda forward. The summit is expected to bring the forefront strategic interventions and recommendations to be pursued to empower women and girls in ICT.