95 per cent of all jobs today have a digital component, yet the ITU estimated that there are 200 million fewer women online globally than men. If women are not adequately trained, not only will this gender gap grow, but they will have reduced access to employment which could have further ramifications for their social, economic and political inclusion. Furthermore, there is a predicted skills shortfall in the ICT sector of nearly one million jobs in Europe alone by 2020. Women can only benefit from these opportunities if they have the necessary science, technology, engineering and math – STEM – skills.
The needs of women are not being adequately captured in the creation of ICT solutions because most times women are not involved in the creation of these solutions. This is a trend that needs to be corrected.
According to the ITU, reaching out to women and girls at the bottom of the pyramid requires more than merely ensuring access to ICTs and broadband networks. Women need training to become digitally literate. Digital literacy training opens the door to other essential skills needed to operate in a broadband environment, including financial literacy skills, as well as career training and ICT-enabled career training. Such training enables women to set up online businesses, or to use broadband services, such as social networking sites, to enhance their ongoing livelihood and economic activity