Minister revives transformation agenda in ICT sector

Thursday, January 25, 2018
Nosihle Shelembe

Communications Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane says more must be done to increase the levels of women ownership in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and broadcasting sector.

Speaking to the media on the side-lines of the Regional Gender Sensitisation Workshop, Minister Kubayi-Ngubane said the responsibility of ensuring transformation in the ICT and broadcasting sectors lies with government and media houses.

“It’s a partnership… [that] will have to be from government in terms of policy, and putting policies in place that allow for transformation. Equally, the owners of media houses have to be partners, come on board and agree that the status quo can’t remain the same. Transformation is a necessity,” she said.

Minister Kubayi-Ngubane said the National Integrated Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Policy White Paper promotes the empowerment of women.

On Thursday, the Minister addressed the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) Africa Region of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in Durban. She gave a presentation on the Fourth Industrial Revolution and ICT.

Education the gateway to opportunities

Minister Kubayi-Ngubane said access to education needs to be extended to women, especially those who live in rural areas.

“Studies show that women still have limited access to education and therefore fewer women are able to enter the ICT sector.

“Those women that work in the ICT sector receive very limited support from the institutions of which they are part,” Minister Kubayi-Ngubane said.

She emphasised the importance of young girls doing mathematics and physical science in school, as future jobs will rely on those subjects.

“We need to enact policies in the developing world that will ensure that there is increased access to the internet by ensuring that there are affordable access devices and internet connectivity.

“Access, accompanied by technical know-how, will ensure that women realise the benefits of using ICT,” Minister Kubayi-Ngubane said.

Benefits of Fourth Industrial Revolution for women and girls

She said there are benefits in ensuring that women and girls participate in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The increased ability for women to telecommunicate by working from home would enable women to balance office work and child care, which is still primarily performed by women.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution, the Minister said, brings improved employment opportunities in the ballooning IT sector and increased ability of informal sector women to find opportunities in the formal sector.

She said for the world to achieve sustainable development, as outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), women can no longer be spectators and seize opportunities to be history makers.

SDGs are aimed at ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring prosperity for all.

“Women and girls are half of the world’s population and for a long time, they have been incapacitated from participating in the formal economy through gender inequality.

“With the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, women empowerment is no longer an option,” Minister Kubayi-Ngubane said.

The workshop was hosted by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Africa Region in partnership with the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature.

The purpose was to develop strategies to increase women’s role in parliaments, legislatures and other high decision making bodies in society in the African region. –