E Learning as Cost Effective Training Solution for Women in Developing World


Most of Western society views the issue of women in the workforce and women’s rights as a non-issue. It has been tackled in the past and women, in general, are treated with equal respect as with a man. That is true; at least in western and more developed countries. In other parts of the world that still abide by patriarchal and oppressive laws of society; women are still treated like properties, incubators and nannies for the babies. Their full potential to become productive members of society is not fully realized because of the lack of education and the pressures of tradition. In a recent TED (Technology Entertainment Design) Global Talk, Sheryl WuDunn, author of “Half the Sky”, spoke about the state of women in the world. She cited Amartya Sen, Nobel Peace Prize winner in Economics; in her essay featured on The New York Review of Books, she wrote “More than 100 million women are missing.” In the developed world, women outnumber men because women naturally live longer but in parts of the world that still lives in the dark ages, men outnumber women.  Bill Gates gave a talk in Saudi Arabia and in the question and answer segment, a man raised his hand and asked Gates what his opinion was about Saudi Arabia’s goal of being one of the top ten advanced countries in terms of technology. Gates looked at his audience. While there were women who were seated in one segregated side of the room, majority were males. Gates answered, “Well, if you’re not fully utilizing half the talent in the country, you’re not going to get too close to the Top 10.” Needless to say, the small contingent of women erupted in applause.While this clearly is a moral issue, it is also a practical issue. Women are more or less half of the population. If men are the only ones allowed to work, countries, at best, would only progress to half of its potential. Women can be solutions to improving lives of the family and therefore, society. Education, opportunity, and support are needed to elevate not only the lives of oppressed women but also their kin.Cost effective training solutions like elearning or learning online is just one way to develop a woman’s potential. The flexibility of schedule and relatively low cost of such a program would give a woman the opportunity to learn through virtual learning environment without having to leave her family or home.There are of course, challenges that this kind of project will have to face:Infrastructure. In developing countries, there are gaps in communications infrastructure. Technology is improving to make it possible for previously unconnected rural villages to communicate with the rest of civilization but there are still large gaps that have to be filled by government funding since private companies would hardly start an initiative if there is no profit in it for them. Free access to computers will also be a problem unless government or NGOs provide public computer laboratories that women and girls can use.Government Support. Laws that oppress women needs to change. Sharia Law is just one example where women are restricted to the house. Allowing women to go to school and work means they can contribute financially to the household, giving them a greater sense of purpose and control over their lives.Societal Support. A lot of women face a vicious cycle of oppression due to tradition and culture. It is extremely hard to change the minds of the masses when they have been used to old ways and customs. Overcoming societal pressure would only be achieved once the women have gone on to succeed in their endeavors proving to themselves and their peers that women are just as good as men.Vocational courses, high school curriculums, or even primary school curriculums can be delivered through cost effective training solutions. In educating women, developing countries will increase their workforce and deliver their society from the dark ages.

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Joel Owens is a traveler, computer geek, entrepreneur with a passion for learning. To know more about cost effective training solutions, please come and visit our website.

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