RAISING GIRLS’ AMBITION (RAGA 2019) – 5th International Interdisciplinary Conference
Global Youth Leadership and Girl-Child Foundation And Lead City University
CALL FOR PAPERS AND PARTICIPANTS
THEME: Debunking Stereotypes: Empowering Women and Girls for the Digital World for Sustainable Development
SUB-THEMES: Centre around but not limited to the following:
- Gender, Education, and the digital world
- The teacher, the curriculum, the pedagogy and digital education
- The family, social roles and girls ambition in the digital world.
- Gender, religion and the digital world
- Gender, economy and the digital world.
- Indigenous knowledge, gender and the digital world
- Digital teaching and learning for sustainable development
- Girls and coding for sustainable development
- Sociology of ICTs
- Africa’s readiness for the digital world
- Gender, education and the digital classroom
From Wednesday 9th To Friday 11th October, 2019
Pre-conference: Tuesday, 8th October, 2019
Departure: Saturday 12th October, 2019
International Conference Centre
Lead City University
Lagos-Ibadan Express Way,
Toll Gate Area, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria.
Society has a set of ideas about how men and women are to behave, and present themselves in the home, community, occupations and professions. Stereotypes evolve from conceptualization of gender roles, these roles mean how male and female are expected to act, speak, dress, groom, and conduct themselves based upon assigned sex roles. Girls and women are generally expected to dress in typically feminine ways and be polite, accommodating, and nurturing (Oti, 2012). Men are generally expected to be strong, aggressive, and bold (Odejide, 2006; Oti, 2012; Planned Parenthood Federation of America, 2019).
Every society, ethnic group, and culture has gender role expectations, but they can be very different from group to group. They can also change in the same society over time. For example, pink used to be considered a masculine color in the U.S. while blue was considered feminine (Planned Parenthood Federation of America, 2019).
Extreme gender stereotypes are harmful because they do not allow people to fully express themselves and their emotions, for example, it is harmful to masculine gender to feel that they are not allowed to cry or express sensitive emotions in public. And it is harmful to females to feel that they are not allowed to be independent, smart and assertive. Breaking down gender stereotypes allows everyone to be their best. Even though men and women have different biological features, research has proven that the brain formation of male and female are not so different as to make one appear spartially smart and the other not (Council of European Employers of the Metal, Engineering and Technology-based Industry, CEEMET, 2016). There is no evidence to suggest any inherent differences between genders in either aptitude or interest in the sciences (CEEMET, 2016). On the contrary, the recent iama physicist hashtag highlighted the variety, skill and joy of many young women physicists in rewarding careers (OCED, 2015). Gender and stereotypes have been found to be socially constructed. The effect of this is reflected in education, occupation and professions, so much so that most occupations are stereotypically gendered.
A recent study, ‘Gender stereotypes about intellectual ability emerge early and influence children’s interests’, shows that already, by the age of 6, girls are already less likely than boys to describe own gender as ‘brilliant’, and less likely to join an activity labeled for ‘very, very smart’ kids (New York University, 2017). When a young girl believes she is less intelligent and capable than a boy, she is also less likely to pursue STEM subjects that are often perceived as ‘hard’ through school and beyond. Another study paint a worrying picture of generations of girls being affected by negative stereotyping; a study of 9,500 girls and young women aged 11 to 18 in nine European countries underline the ‘leaky pipeline”: in Finland, 62% of female teenagers said they see the natural sciences as important, but only 37% said they would consider a career in that area (Helsinki Group on women and science, 2001)
Since the emergence of Information, Communication and Technologies (ICT), changes came to the ways things are done. The way we learn, transport, farm, sell and buy. The world suddenly became smaller, everyone is connected, things happen faster and it was christened globalization. It ushered in digitalization, which saw the exit of the analogue regime, as a result newer occupations and professions emerged. The digital technologies revolution has a vast potential to improve many aspects of people’s work and life. Today, almost 50% of global population is connected to the internet and the mobile phones, which further drive the internet connectivity at a more rapid rate (OECD, 2017). More than 68% of the connected audience (2.5 Billion out of 3.8 Billion) is already an active social media user on the mobile phone. However, this unprecedented growth in connectivity has not been enjoyed by everyone equally. Differences in resources and in the ability to access and effectively utilize ICT within and between countries, regions, sectors and socio-economic groups have led to a digital gender divide, which sees women worldwide particularly at a disadvantage (UN women, 2015; Esowo Francisca Ogbomo, 2011). The Internet has made it possible for all people to connect whenever they consider it necessary. It is a world filled with ideas, opinions, learning and opportunities through the use of digital tools that is mostly enjoyed by men and boys (OECD, 2018).
Today, around the world, some 250 million fewer women than men are online (International Telecommunication Union, ITU, 2016). In developing countries, limited access often concerns women living in Sub-Saharan Africa and in rural parts of Asia (OECD, 2018). In developed countries women face a facet of the digital gender divide: the systematic under-representation in information and communication technology (ICT) jobs, top management and academic careers (OECD, 2018). (UNESCO) opined that women worldwide are 20% less likely to hold a senior leadership position in the mobile communication industry, they make only 8% of the investing partners at the top 100 Venture Capital (VC) firms and only 17% of the scientist earning more than USD 105 000 (SDG, 2015) . Also affordability of the technology, lack of relevant knowledge and skills in using digital tools are among the main reasons for the digital gender divide worldwide. In addition, socio-cultural perceptions are often reported among the top barriers for women in owning and using a mobile phone, especially in rural areas of developing countries. In India, around 12% of women would not use the Internet because of negative social perception, and 8% of women don’t use it due to the lack of acceptance by family members (Intel and Dalberg, 2012).
Technology in its various forms, including Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), continues to redefine and revolutionize the way people live and work. Harnessing this technology to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment is not only vital for women and girls, but critical throughout the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, 2018). The link between technology and women’s rights is clearly reflected in SDG 5 on gender equality and the empowerment of women, which includes a specific target on utilizing technology and ICTs to realize women’s and girls’ empowerment. However, realizing gender equality reaches far beyond any single, individual goal. Gender equality is key to ensuring that no one is left behind, and is intrinsic to the success of each and every SDG.
Digitalization offers vast potential for women and girls: from ending poverty, to improving education and health, to agricultural productivity, and creating decent jobs. Digitalization is shaping future employment – but who will get those jobs? Digitalization is especially relevant today, as the globe is faced with a rapidly changing world of work. How can we ensure that women and girls acquire the right ICT skills to compete at par with boys and men in the 21st Century economy, enjoy greater choice and access to better education and better-paid, and flexible jobs?
By 2020, it is expected that more than 7.1 million jobs will be displaced, and by 2050, half of the jobs that currently exist will have disappeared (ITU, 2018; Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka, 2018). That means that 65% of the children entering primary school today could eventually work in jobs that do not yet currently exist (Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka, 2018). The ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ is also bringing advanced robotics, autonomous transport, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning, all of which will have a major impact on the future labour market. Along with these challenges come opportunities. It has been estimated that 90% of future jobs will require ICT skills, and some 2 million new jobs will be created in the computer, mathematical, architecture and engineering fields (World Economic Forum, 2016).
Women’s digital inclusion is key to sustainable economic growth and development. To seize the opportunity of being empowered and getting support to the new source of inclusive global economic growth through the use of digital tools, more women and girls need to be empowered, stereotypes need to be displaced. It is essential that no one, and especially no woman and no girl is held back in trying to achieve her aspirations. Now is the time to step up the efforts and take advantage of the digital transformation to ensure that it represents a leapfrog opportunity for women and girls and a chance to build a more inclusive digital world. The digital world is a world where everyone must be empowered to take part in the inter-connection through digital devices.
To this end, RAGA 2019 Conference seeks interventions as matters for human rights, for inclusion and for sustainable development. This conference will bring together Academics from multi-disciplines, from over twenty countries, will gather in the city of Ibadan to present scholarly papers, posters and round table discussions on recent field evidence on gender and the digital world. Non – governmental practitioners, Business men and women, Owners of digital platforms and users will share lived experiences in digital marketing, education, information, entertainment, banking, crime and communication. Secondary school students will present debates, essays, and JET projects on the subject matter.
At this conference, Secondary School students (boys and girls) will have the opportunity of attending the pre-conference and the opening ceremony. Girls from within and outside Nigeria are invited to submit essays and creative/visual arts and participate in debate in a competition that is open to Junior and Senior Secondary School Students (GIRLS ONLY).