|Students work in team in a STEAM camp held at Nguyễn Trãi Secondary School. VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Tùng|
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam is among four countries demonstrating gender parity in digital skills, according to a recent UNICEF analysis.
The report entitled "Bridging the Digital Divide: Challenges and an Urgent Call for Action for Equitable Digital Skills Development" takes a close look at the gender digital divide among young people aged 15-24 by analysing available data on internet use, mobile phone ownership, and digital skills in mostly low-, lower-middle-, and some middle-income economies.
Though more gender-disaggregated data is needed to better monitor, understand, and work towards digital inclusion, the report finds that girls are being left behind in an increasingly digital and connected world.
While advancing access to the internet is important, it is insufficient for digital skills training. For example, in most countries analysed, the amount of young people with access to the internet at home is much higher than those with digital skills.
Only in Việt Nam and Mongolia is gender parity observed in both foundational reading skills and digital skills, where gender parity is observed in the analysed age cohorts. This indicates that in these countries, both girls and boys aged seven to 14 are acquiring foundational reading skills at similar rates, and adolescent girls and boys, as well as young men and women aged 15-24, are acquiring basic digital skills at comparable rates.
However, achieving gender parity does not necessarily imply that the skills are prevalent across the population. For instance, in Việt Nam, while 83 per cent of 7-14-year-olds have acquired foundational reading skills, only about 36 per cent of 15-24-year-olds have acquired basic digital skills. Although parity has been achieved, there is still a long way to go before all youth acquire the necessary skills for employment and higher earnings.
Globally, girls are the least likely to have the opportunities to develop the skills needed for 21st-century learning and employment, according to the report. On average across 32 countries and territories, girls are 35 per cent less likely than their male peers to have digital skills, including simple activities like copying or pasting files or folders, sending emails, or transferring files.
The root barriers are far deeper than a lack of access to the internet, according to the report. The findings suggest that educational and family environments play a critical role in the gender digital divide. For example, even within the same home, girls are far less likely than boys to access and be able to make full use of the internet and digital technologies.
Barriers to accessing opportunities to higher learning and the labour market, pervasive discriminatory gender norms and stereotypes, and concerns over online safety may further restrict girls' digital inclusion and skills development. — VNS