NCC demands support for protection of women rights against online aggressions, threat

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By Joy Odor

The Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) has enjoined 193 United Nations Member States, Sister Agencies, Private Sector partners and civil society community of International Telecommunication Union (ITU), to protect all women and girls from online aggressions and threat.

The Deputy Director, New Media & Information Security Department, Nigerian Communications Commission, Mrs. Tokunbo Oyeleyes argued that girls would never realize the dream of digital gender equality until the Internet is a safe space for all of it.

She made this known in her paper presentation at Government Science Technical College Garki to commemorate Girls in ICT Day in Abuja on Thursday, celebrated fourth Thursday of April 2022 with the theme: ‘Access to Safety’.

The NCC official also warned that women and girls will never enjoy free digital access that enables them to harness technology to change their lives and the world if they do not feel safe online.

She said one of the key objectives of the Commission is to promote and safeguard national interests, safety and security, such as Child Online Protection which was the aim of the visit to the school to encourage girls to pursue studies and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), particularly ICT.

According to her, Girls in ICT’ is an initiative of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the global body responsible for setting telecommunications standard.

Mrs.Tokunbo Oyeleye opined that engaging with young women who are facing these challenges and partnering with them to co-develop solutions is one important step to help ensure that tomorrow’s Internet is a safe space for girls on ICT day and also to ensure that every girl and every woman everywhere gets her chance to use digital technologies to flourish, achieve her dreams and be her best self.

The Deputy Director, New Media and Information narrated that unequal access to the internet and technology means that individuals are not able to benefit from digital technologies and its diverse opportunities.

“Most survey respondents said the first thing that they would do when they want to learn something new or find out latest information is to search on the internet. ITU data shows that girls are falling behind boys in STEM education because of exclusion caused by affordability and a lack of education Hence, there is a need to promote opportunities for girls in STEM and educate them on the benefits they can gain from it.

“Gender and society roles are the major barriers to education in STEM/ICT. These stereotypes increase a sense to girls that they are not capable of pursuing ICT careers and are not supposed to be in it. This can create a toxic learning environment for girls because it is male-dominated.

“193 UN Member States, Sister Agencies, Private Sector partners and civil society community in ITU to come together to commit to more effective actions to protect all users from online aggressions and threats, stressing that girls would never realize the dream of digital gender equality until the Internet is a safe space for all of it.

“Online Safety is a key component to girls and young women’s lives today. If girls and young women do not feel safe online, they are likely to not feel confident in engaging in future STEM education and careers. To ensure girls are safe online, they need to be educated and empowered with the appropriate knowledge and tools to be used online” she said.

Also speaking at the event, an Early Career Fellowship facilitator of Internet Society (ISOC) and partner to the Commission on Child Online Protection, Mr Ebuka Nkoro told the students that to be digital superhero, they need four 4Cs a such as Content Risks, Contact Risks, Conduct Risks and Commercial Risks.

Mr Nkoro also advised the students to use strong password of 8-10 digits, use password managers and install antivirus ti be safe online.

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