If the pandemic has taught us anything, it has solidified the importance of digital literacy and connection, which is why the Generation Equality Forum (GEF) is launching a five-year commitment to close the online gender gap.
On October 11, 2021, the GEF's ongoing work will be highlighted on International Day of the Girl Child.
The 2021 theme of "Digital generation. Our generation." provides a platform for the global community to understand the disadvantages girls face online.
According to UNICEF, 2.2 billion people under the age of 25 do not have internet access at home, and girls are even more likely to be cut off.
While many of us in Australia have the privilege of accessing the internet in our houses, in 2020, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that 2.5 million Australian's don't have internet connection.
How do we know there is a digital gender gap?
According to the United Nations' website, the global internet user gender gap had grown from "11 per cent in 2013 to 17 per cent in 2019," and in the least developed nations, it's "at 43 per cent."
Girls are also being pushed out of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), with female graduates making up less than "15 per cent" in ""over two-thirds of countries."
Shockingly in higher-income countries, only "14 per cent of girls who were top performers in science or maths" are expected to work in the industry compared to "26 per cent of boys," which proves this concern is occurring everywhere in the world at alarming rates.
The digital reality for girls needs to be rewritten because we can't allow the next generations to get pushed out of the online world as it's irreversibly the way of our globe's political, social, economic, and linguistic future.
What can you do to celebrate the day?
You can help support girls in the digital space by discussing and sharing this information with your friends on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or whatever platform you like to use.
The GEF is encouraging people to share stories about the inspiring adolescent girls they have dubbed as "tech trailblazers."
The young women come from all over the world, and you can find their inspiring profiles and complementing resources to share on blogs, posts, or videos here.
How can you get your kids involved?
A great way to help your children understand the internet divide impacting their generation is to show the Girls In Tech video produced by UNICEF for attention capturing visuals and an easy to understand explanation about the issue.
You can play them the educational video here.
If your daughter shows interest in technology, you may want to show her the great not for profit groups for girls in STEM in Australia.
Organisations like Robogals, Girls Programming Network, and Tech Girls Movements all offer resources to help build their digital confidence and technological skills.
What are some charities you can donate to?
One charity you can donate to is Child Fund Australia, and you can reach their resources here.
Techgirls Movement is a foundation campaigning for a future "where women will lead and innovate across STEM fields."
You can access information about this charity and send your donation to empower young Australian girls ages 7-17 here.