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Photo: Shutterstock / Gerhard Pettersson

Massive Gender Disparities in Digital ID Systems Persist, ID4Africa Panel Says

– Biometric Update

Why women may lack an ID, and how this can exclude them from accessing essential services

In this recap of an ID4Africa panel, participants explain the factors that mean 48% of women in developing nations - the majority in Sub-Saharan Africa - are not enrolled in digital ID schemes, compared to 28% of men. As these systems are increasingly becoming essential for access to government services, and essential aid such as food, women who lack an ID are essentially locked out of society.

“Barriers include transportation, capturing biometrics, and social norms. Women needed to get permission from husbands to enroll and were constrained by pregnancy and child care. They also often did not think they need a digital identity.”

The panelists discussed solutions to this problem, including public information campaigns in the media which explain to female audiences how having an ID can benefit them.

While these nations are not legally barring women from registering their children, other informal barriers still exist. Solutions to these issues include simplification of registration procedures to overcome any economic barriers, as well as localization of late registration centers to eliminate travel requirements for women

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