Gender Digital Divide Persists in Africa

By Juliet Nanfuka |
Last month, the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) released its Affordability Report 2017 which indicated that while the world will this year mark a significant milestone of 50% global internet penetration, large numbers of women in developing countries remain offline because “they cannot afford to connect.”
The A4AI report’s findings echo earlier reports on the longstanding gender digital gap that is the result of prevailing social and economic barriers including illiteracy, gender roles and various forms of discrimination. In 2013, a report by the Broadband Commission estimated that 200 million more men than women accessed the internet. Similarly, according to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), in 2016 the difference between the Internet user penetration rates for males and females was largest in Africa (23%) and smallest in the Americas (2%).
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Gender, Youth and Digital Democratic Processes in East Africa

The Arab Spring has demonstrated a couple of things namely the power and importance of social media, the ability for technology to unite crowds of people in the shortest amount of time no matter the location, and the increased blurriness between the local and global entities with the use of tools like Twitter and Facebook. The role social media have played in the revolutions in countries such as Tunisia, Egypt and Libya is well documented. That youth in particular are recognized as the major players behind the use of these platforms is largely undisputed.

In this article the composition of youth is scrutinized to acquire an understanding of which youth actually have the opportunity to partake in democratic and public fora. The concept of youth and their use of social media for democratic processes is not sufficiently discussed with regards to heterogeneity. The complex layers comprised of the term ‘youth’ is an important point of consideration so as to ensure that all youth are engaging in democratic processes. This article considers differences among youth from a gender perspective, specifically the differences between young men and young women with regards to digitally mediated democratic processes.

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