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Women and girls up digital skills |13 September 2023

Women and girls  up digital skills

Delegates and guests in a souvenir photograph (Photo contributed)

By Patrick Joubert


A group of women and girls from various ministries, agencies and youth organisations are participating in a workshop titled ‘Digital upskilling of women and girls in Seychelles’.

The aim of the workshop taking place at the Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay Resort & Casino is to familiarise women and girls with online safety and security concerns and increase their digital usage since online abuse and harassment have been identified as key barriers to women’s uptake of the internet and digital tools.

It is also to provide them with knowledge and skills to leverage digital marketing, to expand their business presence online, utilise analytics to target audience and grow their viewership, as well as understand the tools and skills necessary to reach social media influencer status.

The workshop by the family department within the Ministry of Youth, Sports and the Family is being done in collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (Uneca).

It was opened yesterday by Jane Larue, the director general for research and policy planning, in the family department.

In her opening speech, Mrs Larue said that Seychelles has made significant progress in technological advancement, but, there are still many challenges in regards to how these technologies are being used towards new developments especially for educational and economic progress.

She added that a 2020 report on the Status of Electronic Commerce in Seychelles, suggested that encouraging e-commerce might help reduce gender biases resulting from face-to-face interactions. The report was the culmination of a project entitled ‘development of ecommerce sector in Seychelles’, done with the involvement of Seychellois women entrepreneurs in partnership with the Enterprise Agency Seychelles (ESA) and a US project called ‘Providing opportunities for women’s economic rise’.

“However, operating such businesses required knowledge and skills with information technology to sell successfully and to be paid electronically, which is still a challenge for all entrepreneurs today,” she said.

Mrs Larue added that in 2020, Seychelles in partnership with Comesa (Common Market for Eastern & Southern Africa) also launched the ‘50 million African women speak’ project website in Seychelles, which encourages women entrepreneurs to have access to the African continent market, which at present boasts more than 1,000 Seychellois women entrepreneurs.

According to the Household Budget survey 2018, it is estimated, that 98 percent of the Seychelles’ population have access to television services with 63 percent having cable television, 60 percent with internet access, and 96 percent have mobile phone, out of which  40 percent own smartphones. Even though these figures are not disaggregated by sex, it is expected that a large percentage of women in Seychelles have access to communication technology.

Mrs Larue added that a study by UN Women and International Telecommunication Union (ITU) shows that internationally, women and girls use the internet less than men and boys, with some 46 percent of boys accessing the internet on their phones, compared to 27 percent of girls. It is stated that girls access digital technology later than boys, and their use of this technology is more often curtailed by their parents.

“Young women and girls are disproportionately exposed to online and ICT-facilitated violence and harassment, which can negatively impact their physical, mental and emotional well-being, and influence how they access and use digital tools for the rest of their lives. Which is why since last year, the programme unit within the family department started advocacy on cyber violence,” Mrs Larue said.

She stated that when girls access technologies for educational development their families and communities benefit.

“Thus girls studying science, technology should be encouraged. When women access online banking and resources, without bias, they start businesses that benefit their families, societies and economies. When women have access to safe digital platforms, they can grow their businesses and families,” said Mrs Larue who thanked and commended Uneca for including Seychelles in the project.

She also commended the Seychelles National Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Policy and Strategy 2016 – 2025 which under the STEM programme introduces primary and secondary students to basic hands-on computer training, robotics, artificial intelligence, renewable energy, internet and air space management in the modern age among other new and emerging technologies, better known as frontier technologies, to support the development of the fourth industrial revolution in the country.

The digital upskilling workshop is being conducted by five facilitators from Uneca and will end on Friday.


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