Women’s Economic Empowerment through Web 2.0
Since web 2.0 is somewhat a new concept in most of Africa, many Africans are quite excited about it. However, in addition the initial excitement that accompanies the introduction of web 2.0 applications, what excites me most about these applications is that they provide an opportunity for women to earn a decent income from the comfort of their homes. In fact, Web 2.0 has created a whole other industry where gender discrimination is almost non-existent. This is important because, it provides an opportunity for women to be empowered economically.
Although the opportunities to earn an income through web 2.0 applications are limitless, the easiest way to do it is to create a blog and market it though social media and social networking sites until advertisers are literally scrambling to get a piece of the action. Granted, this method of income generation isn’t practical for illiterate or semi-illiterate women around the world, but even educated women still need to be economically empowered. For example, did you know that throughout the world, the unemployment rate of women, including well educated women, is higher than that of men? By encouraging women to earn a living through web 2.0, we can reduce the number of women who are unemployed.
In my country, Kenya, where the overall unemployment rate is about 50%, more and more educated women are finding themselves unemployed every single day. In fact, many companies will not hire a pregnant woman or even a woman of child bearing age. Many Kenyan employers have been known to say, “why hire someone who’s going to spend most of their time on maternity leave?” Unfortunately, this situation forces women to choose between having children and having a job! On the other hand, even employers who may appear to be equal opportunity employers have a “pregnancy clause” in their contracts. This is where a woman is told that if she gets pregnant within the first so many years of employment, her employment will be terminated.
As a Kenyan woman who makes a living through web 2.0 applications, I enjoy being in an industry where I’m not discriminated for my child bearing ability. All my readers and clients care about is whether I’m going to deliver the agreed service at the agreed time. They literally do not care whether I’m male or female. Obviously, this has made a lot of difference in my life because I do not feel like I have to choose between having children and being employed. I would like to see more women around the world enjoying the same freedom as me.