Girls need ICT training to succeed in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

“True equality means not treating everyone equally, but meeting the equal needs of everyone equally.” – Terry Eagleton, literary scholar, cultural theorist and eminent professor of English literature.

South Africa has been declared the most unequal country in the world and women remain the most marginalized in terms of economic opportunity compared to men. We have entered a new technological era that entails a change in the nature of work and new ways of life. In the midst of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), gender inequality is as big a problem as it was in previous industrial revolutions.

The eradication of 4IR sexism has received little attention, and even if it is recognized on paper, it is not being implemented. According to the report PVCwomen hold only 19% of information and communication technology (ICT) jobs.

The ICT sector is highly unequal in access to employment opportunities for women, hence the lower percentage of women in these jobs. Women who already work in the sector face meager wages compared to their male counterparts. According to a media report by researcher Sibahle Malinga, in 2020, women in the tech industry earned up to 25% less than men.

The initial problem here comes from society. Young girls do not take science-related subjects in high school due to a patriarchal system in which women are seen as “guardians” rather than as participants in economic activities. Because of this, some do not graduate due to societal expectations.

These perceptions also limit women’s attempts to become technology producers. Gauteng MEC for education Panyaz Lesufi acknowledged how 4IR will be improve the education system South Africa and said it would “enhance our ability to work and learn from others who are far in time and in another place.” I

In his speech during Human Rights Month (March), he emphasized that since the introduction of new technologies may continue to increase the inequalities that arise in society, there is a need for a human rights curriculum in the education sector to promote “inclusive schools” for all students.

However, the MEC did not specify how this curriculum would benefit young girls, as 4IR could pose a greater threat to their future.

On the other hand, the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosaadvocates that “South Africa should be a more technologically advanced country that finds solutions that move us forward, with 4IR as the foundation for economic recovery.”

The President also acknowledged that women’s equality has been achieved in areas such as government and the administration of justice, but so far it has been difficult for women to achieve equal economic opportunities.

It becomes tiresome when society considers certain professions suitable for men and others for women.

Women are becoming consumers rather than producers of technology in South Africa. This era of technology requires young women to study science-related subjects in high school so that they become key producers of technology that will serve our society.

In 2020 South Africa statistics showed that most of the one million domestic workers in the country are women. This confirms the lack of technological knowledge among women in the country. This is of concern at a time when technology is taking over, as it could lead to a feminization of poverty in female-headed households.

This is because some jobs are losing value after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Women are losing their jobs because they suffer the most from it. Patriarchy is problematic in a country rooted in a culture and history of oppression.

In an article on gender equality, Professor Chilidji Marwala, Vice Chancellor and Chancellor of the University of Johannesburg, emphasized that gender equality can be achieved if we “change our patriarchal culture”. Indeed, a paradigm shift is required in how women and the tech industry are perceived in society.

Women’s opportunities are not limited to raising children, they can also contribute to the growth of the economy.

The ICT sector has an important role to play by taking the lead in involving women in the production of new technologies in the country.

Feminism also has a role to play in ensuring that this is achieved through policy development.

The education sector, together with various companies in South Africa, should develop technology-related programs that will empower and encourage young women to enroll in ICT-related courses at universities.

LG South Africa and Huawei South Africa partners with GirlCode to empower young girls through technology. This initiative included training young girls in skills related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics to give them access to job opportunities in this field.

Girls in Tech also plays an important role in providing technology education.

The paradigm shift is a small but important step towards achieving gender equality in access to economic opportunities for women during this 4IR period. Addressing the growing gender disparity in the ICT sector must be multi-faceted and long-term and will require commitment from local community members, politicians, the ICT sector and education.

Some firms and organizations in South Africa, as noted above, are empowering young women through technology education to achieve gender equality in the 4IR era.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect official policy or position. Post office and guard.