I'd blush if I could : closing gender divides in digital skills through education
Ei Chew, Han
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Digital skills and competencies have moved from optional to essential.In today’s technology-saturated societies, the ability to leverage digital technology is increasingly indispensable to an individual’s well-being, on the same plane of necessity as numeracy and literacy. Without an ability to control technology, people risk being controlled by it, or isolated from local, national and global communities. Against this backdrop, education systems are trying to ensure equitable, inclusive and high-quality digital skills education and training. These efforts carry special urgency because digital skills open pathways to further learning and skills development. Indeed, today it would be difficult to name two more powerful engines for lifelong learning than knowing how to read and write, and how to harness the power of digital technology and navigate the internet. Nevertheless, the record on digital skills education is grim and abundant: Women and girls are being left behind. Globally, digital skills gender gaps are growing – despite at least a decade of national and international efforts to close them.In response to this problem, this policy paper, produced by UNESCO for the EQUALS Skills Coalition, aims to: 1. outline the persistence and severity of the digital skills gender gap; 2. Provide a rationale for interventions; and 3. Set out recommendations, grounded in real-world examples, to help women and girls develop and strengthen digital skills.While the content is intended for a broad audience, the reader the authors have foremost in mind is an individual working to justify, plan and implement digital skills interventions targeting women and girls in contexts where gender divides are greatest, whether a senior policy-maker in a Ministry of Education, a representative of a non-governmental organization (NGO), or a community leader.