Connection Equals Opportunity for 5 Million Women

The Intel® She Will Connect initiative helps millions of women discover how technology can help them achieve their goals.

Did you know that in developing countries, about 200 million fewer women than men are Internet users? That lack of online access limits women’s abilities to empower themselves, their families, and their communities.

Thanks to the Intel® She Will Connect initiative, Jessica Orji—and millions of other women—are discovering how computers and Internet access can help them achieve their goals and dreams.

I always felt computers were basically for the "yahoo boys" who do 419 in our area. … I still cannot believe that I now use the computer and even the Internet.

“This is a place I never thought I would go,” says Jessica Orji, talking about the Internet café near her home in Mushin, Nigeria. She believed that computers were only for Internet scammers and pornographers, and couldn’t imagine they had any relevance in her life or her hairdressing business.

All of that has changed since she attended a free, weeklong Intel® Learn Easy Steps computer course at a local state-run skills acquisition center in early 2015. Prior to the course, Jessica had never touched a computer. Now I love the computer,” she says.

With the Internet, I can reach more people. I can advertise my business online through my new Facebook account, and even create fliers for my business. I can also make a budget to plan my finances. As a result of the training, for the first time, I went to the café to browse the Internet. The training completely changed my perception of computers and [the] Internet.

 

The training course Jessica and 59 other women attended was offered as part of the Intel® She Will Connect initiative, which aims to bring 5 million women online in Sub-Saharan Africa—where the Internet gender gap is greatest. The impact of that gender gap is felt in women’s families, their communities, and broader society. In fact, a “Women and the Web” report commissioned by Intel estimated that bringing women online would contribute up to USD 18 billion to the annual Gross Domestic Product of 144 developing countries.

For women like Jessica who participate in the Intel She Will Connect program, the benefits are immediate. She has new hope that through online advertising she will be able to build her business and earn enough to continue her education and open her own salon.

“The Internet will open so many opportunities for women,” she says, adding that her new-found love of computers is spreading: “My mum is a caterer. We went to the café to make fliers for her business, showing proper and clear description of her full catering services. She has gotten some new customers through those fliers. We are hoping we will be able to get a personal computer at home, as the entire family is excited about this new discovery.”

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