Jakarta (ANTARA) - Paul Gilster, in his book, Digital Literacy (1997), defines digital literacy as the ability to comprehend and apply knowledge in diverse forms obtained from several sources via computers.

Everyone living in today's information age should possess this capacity. Today, no one can deny that technology has advanced.

With today's devices and technology, information is easily accessible through a variety of applications, ensuring that every community has equal access to information, wherever and whenever they need it.

However, some people are still unable to grasp how to use digital devices appropriately and efficiently with today's advanced information technology, especially women in Indonesia.

Indonesia's Minister of Communication and Informatics, Budi Arie Setiadi, emphasized the need for building digital literacy among women to create a healthier, smarter, and more productive digital landscape.

"Our digital literacy rating is modest (3.49 out of 5) for women. Digital literacy is crucial. To raise Indonesia's digital literacy score, we must keep improving," he stated.

Setiadi remarked that the Ministry of Communication and Informatics is fully supporting activities aimed at improving the digital literacy skills of the entire community, including women.

The digital society is being shaped by digitization. Women, in particular, require literacy to enable them to grasp technology in more effective ways, he affirmed.

To boost women's digital literacy, he recommended the National Digital Literacy Movement (GNLD).

Through the movement, his ministry is providing training to the general public, including women, on digital skills, digital ethics, digital culture, and digital security in collaboration with community partners.

One of the classes offered by GNLD supports women entrepreneurs in the digital space, Setiadi highlighted.

Meanwhile, Secretary General of the ministry, Mira Tayyiba, urged young women to master science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) as well as digital literacy to support digital transformation programs in Indonesia.

She remarked that women's mastery of STEM and digital literacy is necessary to equalize the proportion of digital ecosystem users, which are currently male-dominated, both at the global and national levels.

"As a woman in the digital era, I invite young women to continue to step up and work together to realize an inclusive, empowering, and sustainable digital transformation," she said.

According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), in 2022, most of the world's 2.7 billion people who did not have internet access were women, she noted.

In the same report, the percentage of women using the internet globally amounted to 57 percent, as compared to 62 percent for men.

"In the national context, a survey by Kominfo and Katadata Insight Center in the same year showed that men's digital literacy reached 3.56 points, higher than women's score of 3.52 points," she noted.

Furthermore, she said that more men master STEM than women.

Hence, under its efforts to support gender equality, the ministry is seeking to close the gap in the mastery of STEM and digital literacy by supporting women's empowerment through various digital transformation programs.

"With internet access and skills to use digital technology, women can expand their opportunities to start businesses with a larger market, get better jobs and health and financial services, pursue education, exchange information, and participate more actively in community and family life," she affirmed.

To achieve greater equality, women's empowerment necessitates digital literacy, which involves raising awareness and building skills for increased participation, decision-making power, and transformative actions.

In today's digital age, women and technology are inextricably linked. Women must play a more active part in today's world, given their enormous potential.

Protecting women

Minister of Women's Empowerment and Child Protection, Bintang Puspayoga, believes that digital literacy skills help safeguard women and children from the perils of social media.

A digitally literate woman can protect herself in cyberspace in the future, as well as her children while browsing cyberspace on social media, Minister Puspayoga stated.

She underlined the widespread prevalence of online gender assault. The minister also drew attention to the information gap that affects women and children.

In response to the situation, the ministry encourages women to use the power of digital technology while also educating and safeguarding themselves from the hazards that the online medium may present, she stated.

Puspayoga highlighted that one of the ministry's goals is to develop the Women and Children's Friendly Smart Home, which incorporates high-tech principles.

She said that her ministry also works with National Radio (RRI) to disseminate information about empowerment issues in cyberspace through a specific channel in the RRI Play Go app.

The channel discussed health and development for women and children in order to promote their mental and physical well-being, she added.

Puspayoga noted that the move is vital to allow women to participate in relevant communities, seek assistance from large organizations, and exchange ideas in discussion forums.

"Synergy and support from everyone are the keys to addressing the digital gender gap and establishing protection over women and children's rights," she remarked.

She believes that combined efforts can drive women to participate in digital transition while also countering the widespread hoaxes that frequently mislead women and children.

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Editor: Anton Santoso
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