If you think that women should not bother their pretty little heads with technology then you had better stop reading now.
Because ORT Russia has partnered with Project Kesher for their first course in training professionals who will go on to use a new Hewlett-Packard course to help thousands of women master technological tools in the administration and marketing of small businesses.
The two organizations have enjoyed a long and successful collaboration in tackling the “digital divide” through the computer training they offer at 17 ORT-KesherNet training centers in Belarus, Georgia, Russia and Ukraine, which has so far enabled more than 11,000 Jewish and non-Jewish women to improve their economic situation.
Now they are upping the ante by training nine trainers in HP’s LIFE (Learning Initiative for Entrepreneurs) program, a step made possible by last year’s training of seven professionals as Master Trainers.
According to ORT Russia National Director Dr. Sergey Gorinskiy, “By training just nine professionals from ORT-KesherNet centers in small towns we will enable thousands more women to overcome social and structural barriers which have been working against their enjoying the benefits of a growing economy and the digital revolution. As economies become more dependent on technology, so the digital divide becomes an ever more serious challenge. And in the Former Soviet Union, where women are more likely to live below the poverty line than men, it is a big problem.”
Gorinskiy’s study, Women in Technological Society: a Challenge to the Modern School, has influenced the teaching of technological subjects in ORT’s school network in order to close the gap between the genders.
But the evolution of high school education has come too late for many and to help them, ORT has found an excellent partner in Project Kesher, with which it collaborates on the ORT-KesherNet centers initiative.
“Unemployment is almost non-existent in big cities like Moscow. But in the small towns where the ORT-KesherNet centers are situated it can be as high as 10 per cent,” Gorinskiy continued. “There are simply not the opportunities to work for big companies, so one of the best ways to make a living is to start a business. But although, at school, girls tend to do better at learning technology than boys, they tend not to appreciate its work-related potential. When combined with social attitudes which favor men in technology-related professional roles, we find that women often don’t have the skills they need to get ahead in the 21st century.”