Women Can Make a Difference with Digital Skills
Insight The Fourth Industrial Revolution is here, and while everyone's talking tech, not everyone has the access our new digital economy depends on.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is here and it’s more digital than ever. Technology is something that everyone is talking about yet, when it comes to access, not everyone has it. This begs the question:
If digital literacy is crucial to the advancement of the fourth industrial revolution, how are we going to make sure that the digital tools are developed for all diverse groups that reflect the society we live in?
We live in one of the most diverse city in the world. With that, we have 140 neighbourhoods which its population is made out of low income, new immigrants and visible minorities.
A recent article ranked Toronto as the highest in tech jobs growth in Canada and U.S. The article states that a “report by CBRE Group said Toronto added 82,100 technology-related jobs between 2012 and 2017”. This is great news for all, especially for the population that could benefit from these jobs.
The reality is that not everyone in this city will be ready to fill in this demand in the next 10 to 20 years from now. Moreover, although a study was done in 2011, not much has changed since showing that 20% of Canadians find the cost of internet access too high and 15% of Canadians cannot afford to own a computer device, followed by 12% claiming lack of confidence, knowledge or skills.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution and its digital demands are leaving a few people behind. Inequality will continue to exist and, usually, the underserved communities will be the ones who will pay the price.
The question still begs: “How can we make a change, starting with our own communities?” Grassroots organizations bring forward movements which are focusing on change, yet that cannot be done alone. Organizations do not have the capacity to do things on their own and Private Sector does not have a complete understanding of the underserved population; a strategic partnership is best formed when both entities collaborate.
Toronto is opening its doors to tech jobs more than ever before, becoming the home of some major tech companies who have made an impact globally, yet half of our population is excluded from the equation not being able to be up to speed when it comes to their basic standard of knowledge in technology in the next 10 to 20 years.
With so many people moving towards digital skills it is essential that underserved population have access to fundamental programs focusing on technological skill building, like how we do with our STEMing UP and GO!stem Programs.
Why are some of the young women interested in learning more about technology and computer science at a young age, despite the fact that some believe that they are not capable? They want to develop cure for cancer, to change the way women in STEM are represented, to positively impact and change the STEM field into something much greater than it already is, and to be part of a field that can REALLY make a difference.
By Doina Oncel, Founder and CEO at hEr VOLUTION, an award winning non-profit organization focusing on inspiring girls, with a focus on girls facing multiple barriers, to embrace STEM careers.