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Saturday, November 27, 2021

Expensive data, cyber-bullying, depriving women from benefits of digital space

Data in Ghana is expensive and that deprives some women from accessing the internet

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has called for more efforts to help women in benefiting from the digital space.

The foundation says although women in Ghana are closing the gender gap in internet access, they are missing out on the benefits of the digital space.

Appearing on Frontline on Rainbow Radio 87.5fm, Dora Boamah Mawutor, the Head of Institutional Development at MFWA, said women using the internet in Ghana still experience a lower quality of connection to men, preventing them from fully benefiting from digital technology.

She appealed to the government to put in resources to improve internet access in Ghana, especially in remote areas, to help women, especially to benefit from the digital space.

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She noted that data in Ghana is expensive and because of that, several women are deprived of accessing the internet.

She advised telecom companies to review their prices and help in bridging the gap between men and women in the internet space.

She said as part of Corporate Social Responsibility, the telcos can invest in deprived areas so that women in these areas would be able to access the internet.

She further asked Women’s Rights Groups and organisations serving women to move their activities from offline to online to help women access their activities.

She stressed that several issues hinder women from being online and these include challenges with access, affordability, high levels of illiteracy and lack of know-how, and online safety challenges (cyberbullying, harassment, cyberstalking, body shaming, rape threats, and revenge pornography).

She added that though the government has put in place some ICT-related policies aimed at improving internet access and use, and creating a safer internet space for the public, including women, several of them do not have clear targets or specific action plans or budgets allocations for their effective implementation.

She posited that research shows unstable connectivity is also depriving opportunities for women, hence the need for the government to improve that, improve education for especially young girls.

She said research has shown that public education, awareness creation, and policy formulation and implementation are important aspects of promoting women’s rights online issues.

This can be achieved, however, with the backing of sound research from academia and other development research bodies.

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