SHARP Digital Education: Bridging the Digital Gender Divide in South Africa


Authors : Sara Abou Ibrahim; Cath Croxton; Nomvula Buthelezi

Volume/Issue : Volume 6 - 2021, Issue 9 - September

Google Scholar : http://bitly.ws/gu88

Scribd : https://bit.ly/3BwIVo6

Past research has shown the importance of women accessing and using digital technology in our present-day society. It is believed that women who access and use technology increase the work quality and productivity, the modulations for gender perceptions, and the condition of education. However, in South Africa, the barriers faced by women in using and accessing technology is contributing to a digital gender divide. COVID-19 pandemic is further exacerbating this situation. In a context where the nation’s digital skills are limited and the digital gap is vast, there is a huge need to train people on digital basics and to create awareness about the digital gender gap. The aim of this research is to show the importance of the SHARP Digital non-profit program in influencing the South African society’s mindset towards the women’s use and access of technology. For this, a sample consisting of 50 participants from both genders based in South Africa is considered. Participants enrolled in one of SHARP Digital’s courses. Participants took a postsurvey aiming to show the impact of the training on their attitudes towards women accessing and using internet and digital tools. Later, 9 of the participants who took the postsurvey participated in a focus group discussion aiming to understand in depth the stand of males and females in South Africa towards the digital gender gap. Descriptive statistics is used to analyze the data collected from the postsurvey, and the manual thematic coding analysis is used to analyze the data emerging from the focus group discussion. The findings lead us to advocate the inclusion of additional digital training, inclusive for both genders and not exclusively for women, and involving the government, the private sector and the NGOs in order to change South African society's mindset towards women and girls' using and accessing digital tools.

Keywords : Digital Gender Divide; Training; Digital Education; Digital Literacy.

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