As part of Google’s focus on supporting digital literacy and STEM advocacy, the company has launched Maharat min Google (“Building Capabilities with Google”). This program is aimed at helping women and young people in the Arabic-speaking world “get ready for future job opportunities, advance their careers, or grow their businesses.” The examples Google cites are training for social media, video, online marketing and e-commerce.
According to the World Economic Forum, digital skills aren’t widely available in Arab-speaking countries, yet one in five jobs will require them by the year 2020. Google is hoping to close that gap with this latest initiative, especially because many young women in the region outperform young men in STEM fields according to the World Bank. However, employment rates for women are low because of social expectations and gender norms.
Google hopes to alleviate some of this disparity through Maharat min Google. It will consist of free courses, tools and in-person training to job seekers, educators, students and businesses. The organization is also partnering with INJAZ Al-Arab, with a $1 million grant to help the non-profit continue its work in helping students (especially women) with hands-on training for digital skills. What’s more, Google is working with the MiSK foundation to provide training for 100,000 people in Saudi Arabia (50,000 of which will be women).
This certainly continues Google’s work in building digital skills and STEM advocacy. It’s interesting that the organization has chosen to focus on the Arab-speaking world. It’s nice to see that the company truly understands the meaning of “global” and isn’t solely in a US/English speaking mindset when it comes to the people it helps.