An author and a member of the speaker’s faculty at the second edition of the 2020 Digital Rights series hosted by ITREALMS, Morenike Adebayo, has said that digital era offers women, especially in Nigeria like other developing countries, more opportunities.
The second edition of Digital Rights webinar series was hosted in collaboration with DigitalSENSE Africa, Domain Name System ([DNS] Women – Nigeria) and NaijaAgroNet was on the theme: ‘Women and Rights in Digital Era.’
Adebayo, an author, activist and social entrepreneur, who dwelt on the sub-theme: “Nigerian Youth, Women and Rights in Digital Era” noted that in a country that has very limited representation for women in politics, the military, and law enforcement, “it is also refreshing to see the women’s rights movement find refuge in online platforms.”
She cited for instance that social media has become the traditional channel for pressuring law enforcement to bring sexual offenders and murderers to justice.
“See the recent #JusticeforUwa and #JusticeforTina movements seeking justice for Tina Ezekwe and Vera Uwalia Omozuwa, for instance,” she said.
Morenike pointed out that technology mostly through the Internet seems to be shaking the traditional hierarchies that have subjugated Nigerian women as a whole for centuries.
“Social media has also spearheaded a large-scale societal shift in beliefs around rape and victimhood through hashtags such as #SayNoToRape,” she said, calling for more infrastructure deployment in rural communities across the country.
“The digital era has revolutionised democracy and political consciousness in Nigeria, stressing that for the first time in her history, Nigerians have an accessible platform from which to share their thoughts to the public, thus information has now become currencyliterally.
“For those who can afford it, N200 provides about 1 Gigabyte (GB)of data. They can use this data to log onto Twitter or Facebook and share their take on anything, in spite of the government’s attempts to silence them on digital platforms through the Hate Speech Bill and the Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulation and other Related Offences bill,” she said.
Nigerian youths and women, she said, could call in to their favourite radio shows and let their On-Air Personalities (OAPs) know what their local governments have been up to on the ground.
“They can even communicate directly with governors, local government officials, and national offices through their official social media channels. These provisions represent huge strides in political communication and liberty in Nigeria,” she further said.
She buttressed her point, citing a recent study by the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) which showed that 55per cent of men in Northern Nigeria do not want their wives to use the internet and 61 per cent of fathers discourage their daughters from using it.