The Federal Ministry of Women Affairs has called for more participation of women and girls in the digital space.
The Minister, Pauline Tallen, while speaking at the official launch of the “Promote My Sister Campaign (PMS)” in Abuja on Tuesday, said female participation is limited due to “inequitable access to education, affordability, and stereotypes.”
Represented by the Director-General of Women Centre, Asabe Vilita, the minister noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has revolutionised the ICT world, hence the need to promote gender balance in the digital sphere.
“Equal labour market opportunities and treatment at work and striving for gender balance in the digital sector is of utmost importance to the world and economy,” she said.
PMS is an all-women and girl-focused campaign, spotlighting and encouraging the efforts many women and girls continue to make to support one another.
The campaign is an initiative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Ms Tallen said the launch of PMS is timely as the country has displaced women at the decision-making table.
Ms Tallen said there is a need to address the existing gender gap in the digital sphere and raise awareness of the effects technology has played in changing women’s roles in society.
She said it is imperative to note that increasing women’s participation will help combat gender inequalities, stereotypes, and discrimination.
She said it will also improve women’s access to the labour market, adding that the ministry would continue to partner with other stakeholders to scale up and replicate opportunities to improve the lives of women.
In his remarks, the Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Clem Ikanade, said a network like PMS is essential to the empowerment and well-being of women and girls in every society.
Mr Ikanade said various studies have shown that individuals with access to diverse circles of other women from different sectors, professions, and walks of life mean more life-changing opportunities and increased potential for socio-economic elevation, independence, and security overall.
“Because of the socio-cultural and political obstacles that confront women and girls, it is very important to create girls-women groups so they can relate, guide, counsel, and support one another,” he said.
He said this also affords women the opportunity to talk about their common strengths and weaknesses.
Mr Ikanade noted that the PMS campaign is in line with some of the aspirations of the National Development Plan 2021-2025, which he noted is aimed at reducing maternal mortality and the vulnerability of women and girls.
“The plan targets to reduce the maternal mortality rate from 814 to 500 per 100,000 live births. To this end, let me use this medium to appeal to the UNFPA to ensure that the objectives of the Campaign are achieved,” he said.