Over 50 per cent of Nigerian women are offline, with no access to the internet, while 20 per cent were less likely than men to own smart phones, creating an exclusion gap, the United Nations Children’s Fund lamented on Monday.

The organisation also expressed concern over the rate at which adolescent girls in Nigeria drop out of school estimating it at over 1.3 million annually.

The UNICEF Deputy Representative in Nigeria, Rushnan Murzata, said these in her presentation during the 2021 International Day of the Girl Child with the theme: ‘Digital generation, our generation.’

The organisation said the adolescent girls drop out of school before reaching the last year of lower secondary education.

According to her, digital inclusion and digital literacy was becoming crucial to well-being and success as the ability to read and write.

Murzata said, “Over 1.3 million Nigerian adolescent girls are estimated to drop out every year before reaching the last year of lower secondary education.

“On digital access in low and middle income countries such as Nigeria, more than 50 per cent of women are offline, and women are 20 per cent less likely than men to own a smart phone. Digital inclusion and specifically digital literacy is becoming just as crucial to well-being and success as the ability to read and write.

“The gender digital divide in connectivity, access to devices and the skills to use are real. Girls are less privileged in this area. This inequality has created an exclusion gap across geographies and generations.

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“We want to use the opportunity of this year’s celebration to ask for improved access to digital skills and other life skills by girls for transition to secondary education. Let’s make girls their own advocates for girls’ education and digital literacy.”



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