The Executive Vice-Chairman (EVC), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, said the important role played by women in the country’s socio-economic and political space was an enabler for social change.
Danbatta stated this in Abuja during a webinar while underscoring the need to empower women in Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
The webinar was organised by Zinari Communications Limited with the theme: “Mainstreaming Rural Women Enterprise Development into Digital Economy Initiative: The Opportunities, Strategies and Constraints”.
The EVC, who was represented by Grace Ojougboh, the Head, Online Media and Special Publication, NCC, said women were historically central to socio-economic and political development of any nation.
Danbatta stressed the need for nations to focus more on how ICT could be leveraged on for increased empowerment for women.
“There has been a general concern that unless the gender divide between men and women is specifically addressed there is a risk that ICT may worsen existing inequalities between women and men which can create new forms of inequality.
“However, if the gender dimensions of ICT in terms of access and use, capacity-building opportunities, employment and potential for empowerment are explicitly identified and addressed, ICT can be a powerful catalyst for political, economic and social empowerment of women and the promotion of gender equality,” he said.
He advocated increased collaboration between public and private-sector stakeholders toward advancing gender equality and women empowerment.
He also encouraged young women and girls to pursue studies and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
The EVC said that the commission would continue to play a front-seat role in driving the implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy document (NDEPS), 2020-2030.
He stated that NCC would do same for the Nigeria National Broadband Plan (NNBP), 2020-2025, and similar policies aimed at increased connectivity to all the citizens to bridge gender digital disparity.
Danbatta said that the commission constantly provided the necessary infrastructure that would guarantee ubiquitous access to telecoms services through the implementation of those policies while listing other initiatives undertaken by the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF).
“These are all aimed at boosting connectivity and provision of ICT tools among citizens, regardless of gender, across the length and breadth of Nigeria.
“The initiatives include the Community Resource Centres (CRS), School Knowledge Centres (SKC), E-accessibility projects, among others.
“There is no doubt that these efforts will facilitate development of a vibrant digital ecosystem where rural women can play very important roles in our socio-economic and political space,” he added.