Post COVID-19 African Woman: Leveraging Technology to Cushion Effects of Pandemic
By Mary Moore
Undeniably, COVID-19 has forced the entire world into adopting global ‘new normals’. The ensuing coronavirus pandemic has reaffirmed the indispensability of technology in our everyday, reinforced human dependency on it.
Never before has the significance of technology in our day-to-day life been palpable as it has during the pandemic. We saw how people all over the world worked from home during peak of the pandemic when the whole world was shut down through lockdowns, leaving the use of technology as the only option for skeletal delivery of essential services.
Those who could, deployed technological advancements to hold virtual meetings to enable critical discussions since the lockdown made it practically impossible to move around or assemble in places as ‘physical distancing’, of human beings became the order of the day.
The preceeding scenario no doubt re-emphasized the increasing need for the African woman to embrace technology and computer literacy in order to overcome attendant challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.
Moreover, the digital world order has made it imperative for substantial amount of our daily activities to be carried out through a variety of computer software and applications, thus increasing human reliance on computers in almost all facet of human endeavour.
Whether it is by operating of a smartphone or using platforms such as ATM, among several others, life and technology has become intertwined and inseparable and there is no going back rather, more and more technological advancement and applications are been churned out on an almost daily basis.
No womder, technology is today regarded as the ‘future of the world’, thus becoming a necessity for the African woman to adequately equip herself with this essential knowledge and skill in this information age in order not to be left out.
A number of factors combine to militate against her keying into technology and using it effectively and efficiently in her daily life. Most glaring among the inhibitors are lack of education and inaccessibility to computer literacy or technology owing largely to her rural dwelling and other environmental and cultural conditions.
Therefore, whatever it is to be proposed in order enable the African woman to leverage technology to mitigate impact of the pandemic should include a blueprint that will address the challenges of access to computer knowledge or literacy, cultural limitations and stereotypes.
Also noteworthy is the peculiarity and make up of the woman, which predisposes and keeps her at the mercy of the hazards of pandemic and violence. It is not a rarity that her male counterpart runs away and leaves the family behind during disasters of pandemic, however, a woman will, most likely, not run away and abandon children behind under similar circumstances.
As a result, the impact is more severe on women and children and the duo turn out to be the main victims. Empowering the African woman with basic and relevant technologies/computer literacy will undoubtedly enable them live improved life while deploying technology to solve daily challenges as they come, not only during but also post pandemic.
Technological knowledge could be applied in different areas hence it is sectionalized into different types and categories. Some of the aspects involve being conversant with the internet. Others include the use of machine for agro-allied processing or domestic activities. And the African woman is, among others, involved greatly in these areas.
From whichever angle it is viewed, there will always be abundant reasons to justify provision of necessary platforms to encourage Africa women to key into digital/computer literacy, especially those in the rural areas who usually engage in farming and thus required agro-allied processing of some harvest. It will no doubt build their capacity and increase their output thereby improving their lifestyles and ameliorating or eradicating poverty.
This is not only laudable but it is also doable. Stakeholders in the public and private sectors, non-governmental organizations, religious and cultural organizations are therefore urged to come up with mechanisms for practical solution that will bridge this gap and provide the African woman access to computer literacy and technology.
These measures would require a number of actions in form of legislation and policy making, targeted at providing education and accessibility to technology by women, beginning from adequately educating and empowering the girl-child. The African Union and sub-regional bodies, like ECOWAS and others, could also take up these developmental recommendations and make their implementation uniform and mandatory in all the 54 sovereign states of African.
Like the saying goes, “when you educate a woman, you educate a nation”.