This is Dr. Marliyyah Mahmood’s point of view as a woman in technology and project manager for Nigeria’s start-up Arewa. She claims that as a result of technological improvements, women in the West African country now have more access to a variety of options online.
“It is hard to overestimate the role of women in the development of any nation, state, or society,” she argues.
In a developing country, a mother’s influence on her child’s upbringing and women’s empowerment significantly affect health, education, reproductive patterns, income level, and other important indicators of development.
While a PWC report from April 2020 says that women own 41% of micro-businesses in Nigeria, the report says that 55% of financially excluded adults in Nigeria are women and that 13.1 million of the 25.1 million financially excluded people in the north are women.
Because most financial institutions are in the state capital, most business transactions are done with cash through informal channels. This is because most business funds are kept at home, and poor record-keeping makes it harder to get credit.
The last census, done in 2006, showed that about 49.7% of Nigeria’s population was made up of women. Even so, Nigerian women haven’t been able to change the way society has treated women for a long time.
Mahmood says there are several reasons men and women are treated differently in northern Nigerian society. Most have to do with the patriarchal system and the lack of gender awareness in rural areas, especially among women who have been taught to accept their lower status.
But now that women can get more information online, they are more aware of their surroundings. Mahmood says that women now have access to a virtual world where they can express themselves through educational content, blogs, videos, and social media tools.
In light of the changing political climate, digital platforms want to be more open than ever. Providing safety, inclusion, and a voice for women at all intersections is now a must, not just a choice.
More women have recently made enough money to be financially independent because of online workspaces. Specific job postings on several online sites have made it easier for women to find work. Housewives or moms who have been out of the workforce for a long time now have special opportunities to get back into it. Many websites list full-time and part-time jobs that people can do from home.
Startup AREWA and Financial Service Innovation (FSI) held a virtual hackathon in northern Nigeria to help more women start businesses by giving them simple and easy-to-use fintech solutions.
The creative solutions that came out of this hackathon were able to help women entrepreneurs who didn’t have bank accounts or didn’t have enough money in their accounts.
Marliyyah says that women now have access to many online opportunities thanks to technological advances. However, she says, it shouldn’t be forgotten that women need internet access to use these online opportunities.
It is unclear how many women and members of marginalized groups have access to such technology. Intervention is required in this setting to guarantee that intersectional gaps are bridged and that technology and the internet are more widely available,” she says.