Digital Empowerment can Promote Gender Equality

Advances in digital technology can improve women’s active contribution to the global development.

Women are usually responsible for unpaid works, such as child care, creating a “hidden pay gap” between them and their male counterparts. This gap is startling in the workplace where men earn twice as much as women, not necessarily because they are better. But effective use of digital technologies can potentially bring this gap to close.

Digital technologies allow works to be done easier and more efficiently, even creating new jobs. This also creates opportunities for women to juggle between unpaid and paid works. For instance, women can use social media to market products or sharing knowledge, in addition their mundane use for chatting and gossiping. Digitalization hence can make women more economically productive by allowing them to work remotely from home, not limited to formal works in companies.

Women, however, “need to prioritize the use of technologies to improve themselves as human being, rather than merely killing time in vain,” Ms. Neneng Goenadi, the Country Managing Director of Accenture Indonesia, cautioned during a talk she delivered on “Digital Literacy: A Gender Perspective”, March 24.

In fact, digital fluency among Indonesian women in ranks lowest among 26 countries – surveyed by Accenture – scoring 10 out of 100. Digital fluency is defined as the extent to which women and men embrace and use digital technologies to become more knowledgeable, connected, and effective. “Women need to make use of digital era more effectively,” Ms. Gunadi added.

Women’s role is growing in importance compared to what it was few decades ago. Their participation in various kinds of work is now seen as necessity rather than complementary. As such, gender equality is in the agenda of 2030, ensuring global sustainable growth and development.

To that end, digitalization can be seen as a mean to empower women and provides a way to achieve gender equality. As more and more women become digitally literate, more women become educated and more productive in contributing to the global development, provided that the use of this digital technology and information is prioritized for skill improvement.

Ms. Goenadi talk was organized by SDGs Center Universitas Padjadjaran, in collaboration with the Faculty of Communication. More than 250 attendees participated in the seminar, mostly undergraduate andgraduate students, and academics from Universitas Padjadjaran. The seminar aims to raise the issue of gender equality in relation to the digital era.

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