As the world celebrates the International Day of the Girl child, Mrs. Olufunso Owasanoye, Executive Director, Human Development Initiatives (HDI) has highlighted the importance of increasing digital adoption and use from basic education level to improve digital access for girls.
Mrs. Owassanoye made this known while speaking during an event organized by HDI in collaboration with ActionAid Nigeria and with the support of NORAD to commemorate the 2021 International Day of the Girl Child with the theme ‘Digital Generation – Our Generation’.
Mrs. Owasanoye noted that “a key barrier to girls’ digital inclusion is lesser access, compared to men and boys, which includes access to devices, to data, and to networks.”
She mentioned that it is important to address the gender digital gap because digital access can empower girls, help expand their sense of self in the world, increase civic engagement, and raise awareness of their rights.
She thereafter advised the girls against using the internet for negative purpose which could jeopardize their future, and also implored parents to bridge the communication gap between them and their children especially the girl child, to win their confidence and trust to speak out.
Mr. Samuel Ajayi, HDI’s Programmes Officer who commended the Lagos State Government for improving on the standard of public education, however, wants the lawmakers to prioritize a gender responsive public service.
Girls that were present at the event shared some of the challenges they encounter, ranging from gender discrimination, sexual abuse by their family members, lack of attention from their parents, low self-esteem, inadequate teachers and infrastructure in public schools in Lagos and peer influence on the internet.
The girls called for more enforcement of government laws protecting the rights of the girl child and quick dispensation of justice for girl child abusers.
The highpoint of the event was the distribution of sanitary pads to the girls to in attendance. The school girls were drawn from the 6 education districts across Lagos state and 3 Local Government Education Authority, LGEA.