International Women's Day and Women's History Month

We are committed to inspire inclusion this International Women's Day, 8 March 2024. At EdTech Hub we are dedicated to prioritising girls and women in our work.

We want to help girls by giving them fair opportunities to learn, by providing evidence-based recommendations in EdTech.

Throughout our journey in moving towards equitable education for all, we’ve come to see strong evidence that educating girls stands as a potent tool in eradicating poverty at the grassroots level. While there’s a notable surge in efforts to involve girls in STEM fields, our focus now shifts to technology’s role in empowering girls’ education. Can technology foster inclusive learning environments for girls?

We know that girls demonstrate high engagement levels when given equitable access to technology. A prime illustration of this is the Worldreader app, where female readers exhibit significantly greater usage compared to their male counterparts. Parental and caregiver involvement, however, is crucial to facilitating that engagement as they act as gatekeepers to girls’ tech access. Failure to engage parents in EdTech program development and training may exacerbate the gender digital gap. 

But why the focus on EdTech? Employing a diverse array of technologies, including mobile phones and SMS messaging, has been seen to expand opportunities for girls. Leveraging commonly owned, often low-tech, technology mitigates the risk of widening digital disparities, ensuring inclusivity in tech-driven educational initiatives. By prioritising parental involvement and embracing varied technological solutions, we can foster greater gender inclusion in educational technology. 

Join us this International Women’s Day, as we champion inclusion and honour the power of girls and women to overcome barriers and thrive with technology in all aspects of learning. Dive into our curated list of reading resources. Each one is packed with evidence-based insights and actionable solutions, to guide you in creating — and supporting — inclusive systems that prioritise girls’ education. 

Supporting access & equity

Generally, technology has proven to be equally, if not more, empowering for girls compared to boys. Due to the existing gender digital gap, however, girls often have limited access to technology both within and beyond the classroom. To bridge this gap, educators can work to increase parental awareness about available extracurricular enrichment resources and the advantages of girls’ access to educational technology. Additionally, exploring various information and communication technology (ICT) options such as mobile devices, television, and radio could provide girls with alternative means of accessing education. These ensure wider reach including remote and hard-to-reach areas, access to content anywhere and anytime and radio ensures accessibility to communities with limited access to other forms of media. We have curated a list of resources to ensure that girls and women are included in the use of EdTech for learning. Explore further.

The thematic analysis of literature on technology in girls’ education reveals three key themes:

  1. It examines girls’ interaction with educational technology, particularly in LMICs, emphasising its potential for fostering equality.
  2. It delves into the barriers hindering girls’ access to educational technologies, highlighting disparities in access.
  3. It assesses the readiness of systems and infrastructure in LMICs to leverage technology for girls’ education, underscoring the importance of a supportive environment. 

Findings underscore the need for targeted interventions to address barriers and enhance opportunities for girls to benefit from educational technology. Discover more. 

Interested in learning about effective strategies to encourage girls’ engagement with technology and to ensure educational programmes address, rather than exacerbate, the digital gender gap? Always had a question on equity, inclusion and out-of-school learning that you didn’t know how to answer? Look no further! Dive into this valuable resource for insights. 

Through producing and sharing critical evidence, we advocate for increased girls’ participation in education by inspiring inclusion through various interventions. Strategies such as utilising video and open-source digital content, television, and radio to deliver a gender-responsive curriculum, alongside fostering life skills and providing resources like dignity kits, have proven effective in supporting girls in North and Northeast Kenya to actively engage in education. Find out more. 

Practising inclusivity

EdTech offers promising avenues for girls in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), yet a gendered digital gap persists. Cultural biases and assumptions hinder girls’ access to technology, limiting their empowerment potential. Parents and teachers often serve as gatekeepers, influenced by gender stereotypes. Expanding access, especially through mobile phones, can enhance inclusive learning. Resources like EdTech Hub’s rapid review on girls and technology, Q&A sessions, and lessons on supporting marginalised girls offer valuable insights. The UK Aid-backed Girls Education Challenge (GEC) programme also provides illustrative examples, highlighting the need for targeted interventions to bridge the gender divide in tech access and utilisation. Find key insights.

In our search for diverse strategies to enhance girls’ inclusion, we examined the effectiveness of reading camps in Kenya. These camps established a consistent routine, aiding girls in structuring their studies efficiently. The success of this approach underscores its suitability within the given context. Notably, peer support mechanisms within the camps proved invaluable, offering girls assistance whenever they faced obstacles, thereby fostering their motivation to persist in their studies. Moreover, the incorporation of various activities made learning in the reading camps more engaging compared to solitary study at home. For further insights, delve into our findings.

We underscore the importance of concerted efforts to address gender disparities in education and harness the potential of EdTech to empower girls and ensure inclusive learning opportunities for all. 

EdTech limitations for girls are often attributed to social norms and household dynamics, including cultural biases, security concerns, and unequal division of domestic responsibilities. However, under the right conditions, communities can support girls’ participation in EdTech interventions and open up new avenues for learning. This is why addressing societal norms to promote gender equality in education is pivotal to creating opportunities not just in the classroom but for brighter futures for learners and communities! Explore with us.

Promoting skills, opening doors

At school and individual levels, the Programme for International Students Assessment (PISA 2018) results showed that boys outperformed girls in mathematics by 15 score points in Argentina while in science, girls slightly outperformed boys on average by two score points across Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.  

Our research suggests that bolstering girls’ and women’s self-esteem is crucial before or concurrently with the acquisition of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills. Numerous programmes in Latin America have integrated objectives aimed at enhancing self-esteem and fostering soft skills development. These objectives are designed to bolster girls’ and women’s performance in the tech sector, gradually dismantling gender stereotypes through increased female participation. Similarly, we observed a notable and positive impact on girls and adolescents who already possessed high self-esteem when engaging in STEM initiatives. For further insights into these findings, keep reading.

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