Girls aren’t gaining the essential digital and social entrepreneurship skills they ultimately need to compete in the workforce, earn higher wages, or start their own business. Currently, over 90% of jobs worldwide include a digital component, but less than a third of female students choose courses in math and engineering in higher education.
“Technology is quickly becoming the primary inroad to education, healthcare, and economic opportunity — amid COVID-19, it was the only road,” says Karen Kahn, head of corporate affairs and chief communications officer at HP. “For girls in communities where they are already being denied these fundamental rights, digital equity is critical. Without it, the gender gap and the digital divide will only grow.”
That’s especially true at a time when the pandemic and political instability threaten to push back progress toward gender equity and stifle the confidence, networks, and knowledge girls need to create brighter futures for themselves and lead the world forward. During the pandemic, women ages 16 to 24 have faced higher rates of unemployment and many postponed their education, delaying their entry into the workforce.
“To achieve digital equity, we have to address the issues with equally diverse approaches, and support the various organizations on the ground already doing this work,” Kahn says.
On this year’s International Day of the Girl, October 11, the theme “Digital generation. Our generation.” urges all of us to help equip girls around the world with the digital tools, skills, and support they need to thrive.
Here are nine organizations you can support to do just that.
Amplifying stories by, for, and about girls
Girl Rising started as a 2013 film that showed how girls around the world were affected by the power of — or lack of — an education. Now, the organization creates content in 12 countries — educational resources, films, books, television and radio programming — for schools and other groups around gender equality, with the goal of empowering girls. For the past few years, HP has supported the Girl Rising “My Story” Storytelling Challenge, where young activists from all over the globe share the powerful first-person experiences that moved them to make a difference in their communities.
DONATE TO GIRL RISING
NABU tackles the digital divide by providing children’s books written in local languages both in printed form and on a low-bandwidth reading app, along with training writers and illustrators to create the stories. NABU partnered with HP and Girl Rising to publish stories such as I Love Being Me, which draws upon the experience of Japanese-American author Jessica Michibata, and Go Stella Go!, a story written in Swahili by Kenyan author Peter Ndiwa exploring universal themes of gender roles and stereotypes.
DONATE TO NABU
Girl Effect creates content in 20 countries across Africa and Asia — apps, chatbots, TV dramas, and magazines — that help girls make confident choices about their reproductive health, education, and employment. Its Ethiopian TV drama, Yegna, which addresses issues like early marriage to accessing health services, reached more than 10 million people nationwide; and it’s AI-powered chatbot Big Sis, a safe, private source of information about sexual health, has received more than 1.1 million messages from girls in South Africa and India.
DONATE TO GIRL EFFECT