The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) on April 7, 2017 met with Ghana’s Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Ms. Otiko Afisa Djaba at her office to discuss ways of promoting women’s rights online.
In his submission, Executive Director of MFWA, Sulemana Braimah said the organisation is keen on empowering women and girls offline and online. He warned that if men were allowed to crowd out women in cyber space, the latter risked lagging further behind.
“Although there have been many interventions in the area of women’s empowerment, much of the effort has been in physical space. The MFWA has realised that the gender gap in opportunities offline is being replicated online as well. Given the indispensable role of the internet in our lives today, the social and economic marginalisation of women could worsen if men are allowed to dominate the online space as well,” Sulemana Braimah said.
In line with that, the Executive Director indicated that the MFWA, in partnership with the Web Foundation, has produced a Report Card on Ghana’s progress in bridging the gender gap online which provides useful findings and recommendations to inform policy intervention.
He, therefore, used the opportunity to invite the minister to a Stakeholders’ Forum on Promoting and Protecting Women’s Rights Online in Ghana, slated for May 24, 2017.
The MFWA team presented the Minister copies of the Report Card on Ghana’s progress in bridging the digital gender gap as well as copies of two Policy Briefs produced by the MFWA- Policy Brief on Child Online Protection and Gender Dimensions of Internet Rights in Ghana.
In response, Ms. Otiko Djaba affirmed her commitment to empowering women through ICT and internet literacy.
“The Internet and ICT generally are powerful tools that can empower women and help solve many of the social challenges which hold back progress for women and girls– child trafficking, child marriage, the kayaye problem, prejudice and discrimination against women in education, in employment and so on. I will therefore give premium to helping bridge the digital gender gap,” the minister said.
The minister said her Ministry is carrying out an intervention that will seek to link successful women in industry, in Science, Technology and Engineering with girls and young women so they could mentor them. She added that the project would be complemented with entrepreneurial skills to encourage more women start-ups, especially in IT.
Ms. Otiko Djaba thanked the MFWA for its women’s rights interventions and pledged her personal support. She also encouraged the organization to continue to support the media in Ghana through capacity building so they can contribute meaningfully to Ghana’s development.