Today marks International Day of the Girl Child!
International Day of the Girl Child is important because, given that 132 million girls around the world are still not in school it's a day we need to be loud about, we need that reminder that we still need to address the challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfilment of their human rights.
The theme this year is Digital generation. Our generation. Why the focus on digital? Well, I don't know about you, but I couldn't have survived the last 18 months without digital technology. It's important. Here's some facts.
- The global internet user gender gap is growing, from 11 per cent in 2013 to 17 per cent in 2019, and widest in the world’s least developed countries at 43 per cent.
- 2.2 billion people below the age of 25 do not have internet access at home, with girls more likely to be cut off.
- Globally, the percentage of females among Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) graduates is below 15 per cent in over two-thirds of countries.
- And in middle and higher-income countries, only 14 per cent of girls who were top performers in science or mathematics expected to work in science and engineering compared to 26 per cent of top-performing boys.
So, what is being done?
I wanted to share the work our charity partner One Girl is doing in the digital/ girl's empowerment space. In a response to schools closing in Sierra Leone in 2020 due to Covid-19, One Girl piloted a program called Girl Tok. Girl Tok is a program that lends smartphones to girls, buys them data, and teaches them how to use their smartphone and the internet safely (including how to verify information and not get stuck in fake news loops). Once the girls were confident in using their smartphones, the team in Sierra Leone delivered interactive, fun sessions led by mentors just a bit older than them. They had a series of modules including Well Body, Well Mind; Queening; and My Body, My Choice.
Here's a video One Girl created outlining the program and some of the stories from the participants!
To find out more about One Girl and their programs including Girl Tok head to their website here.