First Lady Monica Chakwera has stressed the need to equip girls and young women with skills and tools to protect themselves in the digital space.
Madame Chakwera made the remarks when she presided over the official opening of a four-day Women and Girls in Cyber Conference held on Tuesday in Lilongwe under the theme: ‘Bridging the Gender Gap and Breaking the Glass Ceiling’.
She said the conference which places a great emphasis on cybersecurity, will equip young girls and women with the tools necessary to protect themselves in the digital space and to protect communities from the digital threats that surround us.
“Malawi and the rest of the world has seen a rise of cybercrime, data breaches, and online scams that have cast a shadow on the digital world,” adding that it is our duty, as policy makers, experts and professionals in the field, to rise to the occasion and protect our most vulnerable communities from the perils that lurk in cyberspace.
Madam Chakwera further said women are more likely to be victims of digital fraud and cyberbullying and harassment.
It is our responsibility as cybersecurity professionals to leverage the potential of technological advancement for positive change through an inclusive and diverse cyber space, she observed.
She said there is need to empower women and young girls to navigate the digital world with wisdom and discernment.
Most importantly, she said, there is also need to encourage women and girls to take up careers in cybersecurity.
The participation of women in cyberspace therefore fosters a diverse perspective in managing emerging trends and tackling these challenges brought about by our adoption of technological advancements, Madam Chakwera said.
Therefore, she said, the conference is the beginning of a new chapter in our country’s history to ensure that more girls and women take up diverse roles and career paths that the cyberspace provides including cyber security.
Madam Chakwera however bemoaned little progress in terms of women and young girls taking interest in the cybersecurity and digitalisation related careers.
Earlier, Minister of Information and Digitalization, Moses Kunkuyu said the conference provides a platform where women are to deliberate in ensuring a safe cyber space for all.
“The platform will make space for women to take up leadership roles in cybersecurity, ICT and digital technology, encourage women to be the change they want to see and embrace the digital space and harness it to their advantage,” he said.
The conference was attended by representatives from Botswana, Zambia, Ghana, Kenya and Sierra Leone among others.