The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed the way we all live and work. It led to an acceleration in the adoption and application of digital technology which has been transformative for both people and businesses.
The pandemic has deepened the digital divide, leaving the most vulnerable people lagging further behind. Nearly one in four Australians are digitally excluded. That means they don’t have access to affordable technology or data, lack digital skills and or don’t have the confidence needed to socially and economically participate in digitally-powered Australia. Refugee and newly arrived migrant women aged under 50 in Australia are at a higher risk of being digitally excluded than the rest of the population.
Migrants and refugee women generally have lower levels of trust in government institutions due to the challenges faced in their homeland, have less access to devices, have limited local knowledge, face language barriers and rely heavily on informal community information systems.
The Women’s Community Literacy Project empowers women from migrant, refugee and asylum seeking backgrounds to improve their English language, build digital skills, and develop strong social connections in Tasmania. Funded by Good Things Foundation and HOST International, this project is delivered in partnership with Speech Pathology Tasmania. Through this program we aim to provide direct support from a speech pathologist and digital mentor to 40 Tasmanian women to improve reading and writing of English as an essential sub-skill required for fluent digital capability to help close the digital divide in Australia.