Photo - The pioneering team of Digi's Wanita Era Digital
Digi Telecommunications (Digi) has launched a new Wanita Era Digital programme to empower women with the internet and digital skills to support Malaysia's high-income developed nation ambitions.
Officiating the launch of Digi Wanita (Malay for 'women') Era Digital (DigiWED), Ministry of Communications and Multimedia's secretary general YBhg. Dato' Sri Dr. Sharifah Zarah Syed Ahmad restated Malaysia's aspirations for the nation to advance in digital economy growth.
"Progress towards becoming a digital nation must be an inclusive process," said Dr Sharifah. "By connecting the unconnected and bridging the digital gender gap, we help ensure every Malaysian can be active participants and contributors to growing our digital economy, and we are pleased to partner Digi Wanita Era Digital as they help drive this ambition forward."
"We are proud to witness a strong collaboration between the government, private sector and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to drive digital inclusion and empowerment among women. We fully support this programme and encourage more women to step forward to equip themselves with the digital skills and other benefits provided by the programme," she said.
WED is a national digital collaboration between Digi, the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia Malaysia, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and the National Council of Women's Organisations (NCWO).
Orsolya Sekerka, Digi's chief IT officer and WED champion, 48.5 percent of the Malaysian population are women, according to Department of Statistics Malaysia (2014), and 6 million of these women have yet to access the internet (TNS/Google (2014): Connected Consumer Study).
"There is a great opportunity to bring meaningful change by bridging the digital gender gap, and addressing the barriers to internet adoption among women - which are not knowing how to get online and not having reasons for use," said Sekerka.
She said the main part of WED will be a series of educational meet-ups that will be conducted at 1Malaysia Internet Centres and NCWO affiliates' offices around the country.
These meet-ups will introduce women to basic, safe usage of smart devices and the internet for communicating, sharing, browsing, and entertainment, as well as give them good reasons to use the internet.
In the near future, Digi will look to expand the programme to help women take their business online and actively participate in the digital economy.
"The internet is a powerful instrument of transformation but it must be accompanied by skills and confidence for women to use it as a tool for empowerment," said Sekerka. "And we hope Digi Wanita Era Digital will inspire Malaysian women to take advantage of the freedom to connect and benefit from all the opportunities that flow from it - not only as an internet consumer but also an active participant in the digital economy. We know when women thrive, so do their families, communities and society as a whole. In this respect, we imagine the internet in the hands of every Malaysian woman; to see them connected and empowered - that is Digi's ambition."
Sekerka said in addition to the meet-ups at 1Malaysia Internet Centres and NCWO affiliates' offices nationwide, Digi is also open to requests from the public to bring DigiWED to any community across Malaysia. This means any interested parties, such as residents associations, women groups, colleges, social groups and others can reach out to the company via its website or email, and Digi will organise a meetup in your area.
Digi Wanita Era Digital is one of seven programmes Digi has developed under its Empower Societies initiative to enable different community groups in urban and rural areas, netizens, youth, children, the underprivileged and now women, to enjoy the benefits of being connected.
For more information on Digi Wanita Era Digital, upcoming meet-ups or get DigiWED to your community, visit the Digi website (digi.com.my/wanita).
Sign up for MIS Asia eNewsletters.