As you know, we have been running a year-long campaign to bring more awareness to the digital economic divide. We have looked at various groups who are being left behind – women, people with disabilities, older workers, disenfranchised youth, ex-offenders, religious groups, racial/ethnic minorities and LGBT people.
We also solicited your thoughts on the topic through our “Dismantle the Digital Caste System Contest.” We received over 500 entries to the contest. Thanks to everyone who entered! The winning responders below are receiving a free, refurbished iPod Nano!
Through my work as a social worker, I travel to Native American reservations to see my clients. Many there don’t have regular Internet access. What access they do have is limited to dial up connections. The local government has done some things about it, but more could be done. I find it horrible that in the wealthiest country in the world there are still people in the United States who don’t have good Internet access. You need technology to do practically anything today, and if you don’t have that technology, you get left behind. In addition to healthcare reform, there should also be broadband reform.
– Cynthia Davis, MSW, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA
Thank you for putting focus on the issues of poor access to electricity in the developing world. (See Bringing Electricity and Broadband to East Africa) Yes, many people who have regular power take it for granted. I do think President Obama’s Power Africa project and the many ongoing Chinese projects are a good start that is much needed in jump starting the digital economy on the continent. But I also think solar and geothermal technologies are going to make a difference too. Once all of these technologies are up and running, we are going to see some big changes in the tech sector, especially as Kenya becomes a power player in IT.
– Clara Onyango, Mombasa, Kenya
It is very important to highlight the plight of women in technology. It is true when it is said that when you educate a woman, you educate a village. I took a web app design class last month, and I was the only woman in my class. I wish there were more women in these technology classes because when we educate ourselves, we are empowering ourselves and our ability to financially support ourselves, our families and our communities. I am inspired by other women technology entrepreneurs and I want to start my own online business soon.
– Ayu Dinihari, Jakarta, Indonesia
Thank you for your article about the different ethnic/religious groups working together. In Australia there has always been a strain between the Aboriginal communities and white communities. But I can see the potential a similar MEET project can do to bring together groups that would otherwise be at war with each other. Technology can bring people together, support multilateral cooperation and support a more peaceful world.
– Marcus Gurrumull, Brisbane, Australia
I was very concerned, but also encouraged about the advice for older workers in the technology world. I used to be one of the old grumps who didn’t want to learn about social media. I’m old school. But then I realized that if I wanted to keep my business going, I had to learn how to do this stuff. Now I like being called an old techie. Keep up the good work!
– Danny Williamsen, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago