The rapid digital transformation globally presents countries with numerous opportunities to ensure digital inclusion and, subsequently, social inclusion. For example, ECommerce, which uses digital technology, has created millions of jobs and earning opportunities for people, increasing household income and further uplifting people from the poverty line. Similarly, digital technologies in different industries provide people with social protection by ensuring social inclusion. In addition, digital technology can promote social inclusion through better accessibility, affordability, digital skills, literacy, and content awareness. Here is how digital technologies play a crucial role in social inclusion.
Extension Of Social Protection Coverage
Governments of many countries often use digital technology in their recovery plans in collaboration with the private sector. First, it uses digital technology to extend social protection coverage. After that, it uses digital technology to efficiently distribute financial support to its citizens. In addition, digital technology also helps bring transparency in database management which is beneficial to bring efficiency in different social protection programs by eliminating exclusion errors.
The pandemic accelerated the growth of digital finance worldwide. Now a wide variety of digital tools like mobile money, crowdfunding, e-wallets and more are available. These options ensure efficiency in the financial system and the financial inclusion of the population. However, ensuring good internet speed to access digital finance is essential. Speed Test and Smart are a few prominent platforms allowing users to check their internet speed to help them ensure the right internet speed for different online activities. Digital finance has made it possible even for the rural and remote populations to benefit from the services that fintech offers, improving accessibility to opportunities.
Opportunities for Youth Workers
Digital technologies, when used strategically, can improve job and other opportunity accessibility to young people. Moreover, it can help them meet their needs using digital means. As a result, digital technology has improved the youth’s productivity in numerous ways and has ensured personal development opportunities and social skills.
Digital Remote Learning
Many educational ministries use digital technology to provide students with remote learning. With the availability of remote education, students across the globe can gain access to educational content. It also helps them build the necessary skills which can be beneficial in the future.
Digital technologies are not only helpful for students but also for professionals who are looking forward to upskilling themselves. Skill upliftment ensures a reduction in intellectual discrimination and helps drive inclusion.
Inequalities in healthcare services come in the form of inequitable services. These inequalities strongly connect with inequality in healthcare resource distribution and socio-economic characteristics. Digital technology plays a crucial role in the healthcare sector to ensure social inclusion as it improves the functioning capacity of healthcare infrastructure. Furthermore, digital transformation in the healthcare sector is increasing the accessibility of healthcare services online.
How To Use Digital Technologies To Maximize Social Inclusion?
First and foremost, it is crucial to identify the segment of the population left behind by digital transformation. There is still a large section who need access to the internet. Governments should work to reduce the digital divide to ensure that citizens can leverage digital technologies for their growth. Furthermore, while reducing the digital divide, it is crucial to focus on the gender divide, hindering women’s and girls’ empowerment. Governments can efficiently use digital technology to empower women by increasing their economic power and improving their access to knowledge, which comes with increased confidence.
There is a need to take a holistic approach to reduce the digital divide. When digital inclusion occurs, it is possible to ensure social inclusion follows it. Governments can ensure digital inclusion by improving the ICT infrastructure in rural areas while providing affordable services. Secondly, there is a need to address the need for digital skills, a considerable barrier to digital inclusion. Education institutes should significantly focus on building students’ digital skills to make them work-ready.
Lastly, raising awareness regarding the benefits of digital technologies is crucial. When citizens understand the advantages of the internet and digital technology, they will be incentivized to explore different opportunities online. Accordingly, public campaigns can be beneficial to raise awareness amongst the people.
Digital technologies alone cannot ensure or improve social inclusion alone. Instead, it works as a means to enhance social, political and economic conditions. Consequently, it helps bring equality among people by empowering them. Finally, this results in social inclusion because of digital technologies.