Women’s education and digital inclusion

An influential social entrepreneur working in this field is Dr. Sakena Yacoobi.  She is participating in our WCM Workshop in May 2010 and acting as a strategic and operational advisor to WCM.

Dr. Yacoobi is an Ashoka fellow, executive director and founder of the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) established the institute to provide education and health services to women and children in Afghanistan. AIL has served over 7 million Afghans since its inception by working at the grassroots level. Sakena’s vision of a healthier Afghanistan evolved after watching her mother give birth to 15 children, only to have 5 children survive. AIL was the first organization to offer human rights and leadership training to Afghan women and first to open Women’s Learning Centers—a concept now copied by many organizations throughout Afghanistan.

The Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) works to address the problem of women and children having inadequate access to education and health services. AIL’s mission is to empower all Afghans who are vulnerable and in need, by expanding their educational opportunities and by fostering critical thinking skills, self-reliance, and community participation.  AIL takes a multi-pronged, holistic approach to its work with the goal of developing the overall educational capacity of Afghan individuals and communities. For more information about the Afghan Institute of Learning visit http://afghaninstituteoflearning.org/.

Education is a cornerstone for the advancement of women. Women must have equal access to education and to the use of information and communication technologies. 

Women, mostly in rural areas, represent more than two-thirds of the world’s illiterate adults. See Feminist Women's Health Centre.

When a girl in the developing world receives seven or more years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children. See United Nations Population Fund, 1990.

An extra year of primary school boosts girls’ eventual wages by 10 to 20 percent. An extra year of secondary school: 15 to 25 percent. See Psacharopoulos and Patrinos.

Approximately one-quarter of girls in developing countries are not in school. See Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries by Cynthia B. Lloyd, 2005.

In most developing countries, women lag behind men in using the Internet, mobile phones, and radios. For example, women are estimated to be just 25 percent or less of Internet users in Africa, 22 percent in Asia, 38 percent in Latin America, and a mere 6 percent in the Middle East. See Bridging the Gender Divide: How Technology can advance Women Economically by Kirrin Gill et al, 2009.

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