This blog has been reposted from debwritesblog
This blog is part of the event report series on International Open Data Day 2018. On Saturday 3 March, groups from around the world organised over 400 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. 45 events received additional support through the Open Knowledge International mini-grants scheme, funded by Hivos, SPARC, Mapbox, the Hewlett Foundation and the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office. The event in this blog was supported through the mini-grants scheme under the Equal Development theme.
We are living in times where it seems very obvious to want certain situations. One of them is the presence of women in all professional fields. Who would not agree that such representation should be fair and equal with respect to the opposite gender?
Perhaps nobody would oppose it in public, but the reality is different. Women are not balanced in all professional environments, and more and more cases are reported that reflect the way they are rewarded for their work is not fair.
When it comes to open data it is a different situation. It does not take gender into consideration: instead it serves as an empowerment tool for any individual who is interested in making use of it.
Open data – data anyone can access, use or share – is transformative infrastructure for a digital economy that is consistently innovating and bringing the benefits of the Web to society. It often goes hand in hand with open working cultures and open business practices. While this culture lends itself to diversity, it is important that those who are involved in open data make sure it addresses everyone’s needs. It is therefore encouraging to see that open data initiatives in African countries are being led by women. From heading up technical teams to leading stakeholder engagement strategies, these leaders are driving open data across the continent.
The Women Economic and Leadership Transformation Initiative (WELTI) in partnership with The Hewlett Foundation, Open Knowledge International and SPARC organized a day event to celebrate Open data day 2018 on the 3rd March 2018 at the Fountain Heights SecondarySchool, Surulere where the speakers spoke on “Understanding gender inequality through open data /knowledge” and “The role of data and business in a woman’s world” respectively to 70 young women, young men and some teachers.
Key message shared
One of the female speakers noted that the proportion of women using the internet is 12% and that the percentage of women who have access to the internet is 50% lesser to that of the men. In her opinion, advocacy on gender inequality pertaining to the usage of data can be achieved through:
1. Proper orientation. People need to be enlightened on the use of data and it’s far reaching impact in the society.
2. E-learning centers should increase so that more women can gain access to the internet especially in rural areas.
It was also established that data can go a long way in helping one’s business through the use of the internet. She stressed that the internet has made business transactions easier and better unlike the olden days. The following can be accessed through the use of data:
1. Information gathering and study
With data, one can gather meaningful information about a particular business she is into.
The spread of one’s business to far and near locations without the need of physical contact or a business card which allows your brand to be known abroad.
3. Online Courses
It aids easy flow in education especially for those who don’t have the time to attend physical classes or lecture. Through the internet and the use of data ultimately, one can study professional courses and be awarded a degree.
4. Payment gateway and online transactions
It aids easy flow of payments for service rendered, unlike the olden days where you have to go pay physically to the owner no matter the distance but with the use of data, one can carry out a stress free transaction even without knowing the person she is transacting with.
We had a pre and post evaluation to get a sense of what the young women felt about open data. The results showed that most women who use data do not necessarily check for topics regarding women or check for information that has to do with making businesses thrive. Hence, WELTI would keep advocating for women to leverage technology especially through her flagship program The Business Meets Technology, as this is another way of them getting access to data that would be beneficial to them.
WELTI believes that with proper access to data, women are better able to understand what their rights are and work towards being the best they can be.
WELTI (Women Economic and Leadership Transformation Initiative) is a three year old registered not for profit organization in Nigeria headquartered in Lagos focused on women. We reach out to young women between ages 14-30 on our three pillars of Leadership, Economic and Health (HIV/AIDS and Female general health awareness). The intention is to enable the young women, through our programs, to be CORE (Competent, Organizationally skilled, Responsible and Ethical) women.
The women are taught to own their craft and be leaders in their own right irrespective of their gender. We are well aware that we are in a society where gender parity is yet to be achieved so we are doing the best we can as an organization to sensitize the younger women because we are positive that the time is now and change is imminent.
In these few years of her existence, WELTI has through her programs, been able to impact, engage, encourage, equip and empower over 1500 young women to get involved in programs that would help them, hone their skills, own their craft and be leaders in their own right. This we have been able to do by working closely with about 50 volunteers.