The substantial gender gap in Internet access in low- and middle-income countries was the focus of a report called “Women and the Web” Intel Corporation released in January 2013 in cooperation with the U.S. Department of State Office of Global Women’s Issues, World Pulse, and UN Women.
The report called on governments, the private sector, and civil society to come together to double the number of women online within the next three years. In response, Intel designed the Intel® She Will Connect program to bridge the Internet gender gap around the globe as well as set in motion the creation of a public-private partnership aimed at bridging the Internet gender gap in Sub-Saharan Africa. Intel’s Shelly Esque announced the resulting public-private partnership, called the Women and the Web Alliance, Aug. 6, 2014, at a spouses forum during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit taking place at the White House.
Today, the alliance is leveraging the networks and resources of our several partners (currently eight) to introduce more than 600,000 15- to 25-year-old Kenyan and Nigerian women and girls to the Internet and engage them in using it as a tool for social and economic empowerment. To get more women on the web, we are looking to expand our alliance to other countries and through additional partners in the future.
Alliance activities include:
- Digital Literacy: Training in digital literacy helps break down the socio-cultural barriers blocking women and girls from accessing the Internet—giving them a lifeline to a new future and a global voice.
- Relevant Content: Producing, curating, and sharing high-quality digital content helps sustain women and girls’ interest in using the Internet and empowers them to realize its long-term benefits.
- Economic Empowerment: Study after study (such as from Intel Corporation, GSMA, and McKinsey & Company) shows Internet access enables people to connect, learn, engage, increase productivity, and find new educational and career opportunities—dramatically increasing their ability to improve their economic status. Alliance activities make sure women and girls share in these benefits and are not disproportionately left behind.
- Online Social Networks: Being connected, heard, and externally validated within online social networks supports women and girls in overcoming challenges in their community, political, and household arenas.
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