‘Few women in Malawi’s ICT sector’


By Cathy Maulidi:

Women rights activists have expressed concern over high internet and science illiteracy levels among women.

The women were speaking on Tuesday during a Commission on the Status of Women conference underway in Lilongwe.


The 67th session of the conference comes ahead of the main conference to take place in New York next week under the theme: ‘Unpacking Innovation, Technology and Education in the Digital Age for Women and Girls in Africa’.

United Nations Women Resident Coordinator Letty Chiwara said it is worrisome that only three percent of women globally are Information, Communications and Technology (ICT) graduates.

“While digital technologies have become an increasingly important way for people to access education, high-quality jobs and services, less than half (48 percent) of the world’s female population uses the internet, compared to 55 percent of men (international telecommunications Union).


“According to the women economic forum, women represent only 30 percent of those engaged in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) in Africa,” Chiwara said.

Statistics further indicate that women account for only 28 percent of science researchers, while males dominate with a total of 72 percent engaged in Stem.

According to Chiwara, in Malawi, men are three times more likely to possess computer skills than women as seven and two percent, respectively, and more men (18 percent) used the computer more than women (7 percent).

As a solution, the women have proposed that government should invest in internet literacy programmes.

On her part, gender rights activist Emma Kaliya expressed need for women to gain knowledge of internet and technology, saying the world has changed.

Minister of Gender Jean Sendeza concurred with the other gender activists, saying the current technological era demands that women and girls should have expertise in ICT, internet and technology.

“Indeed African women and those in Malawi lack knowledge on technology and these are the issues that we are taking to the main CSW67 conference in New York next week,” Sendeza said.

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