United Nations Secretary General António Guterres has expressed fear that the world might be far away from the actualization of gender equality given the fact that progress toward gender equality is vanishing before our eyes.
The UN Chief told the Commission on the Status of Women on Monday 7th March 2023, hours before the International Women’s Day-8th March.
Guterres further asserted that gender equality is “300 years away” citing high rates of maternal mortality, forced early marriages, and girls being assaulted for attending school, as evidence that hope of achieving gender equality still stands at infinity.
As the world celebrates International Women’s Day-IWD, UN gave a fresh insight into what the global event stands for, this year’s theme and the issues that activists are focusing on.
The UN’s theme this year is “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality.”
Unlike the previous themes which focused most on climate change and desease prevention, this year’s theme highlights how technology is vital in advancing rights but a growing digital gender gap is a concern wrecking havoc on everything from women’s job opportunities to their safety online.
The UN, estimates 259 million fewer women having access to the internet than men, and women are largely underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers.
“Bringing women into technology results in more creative solutions and has greater potential for innovations that meet women’s needs and promote gender equality,” reads part of the post on the UN’s website, clearly depicting that their lack of inclusion in contrast with their demands comes with a hefty cost.
In their message for the day this year, UN Women tasked governments, activists and the private sector to power on their efforts in making the digital world safer, more inclusive and more equitable.
Experts say, technology makes it even easier for women to be all boundless human resources they can be, including what is considered as their traditional gender roles but becacuse digital spaces are not inclusive or safe for women to thrive, it leaves a huge gap that might require plenty of time to mend and bridge.
For instance, because of gender biases and cultural limitations, women and girls tend to shy away or rather expected to shy away from performing at their full potential digitally.
Girls in certain societies are still discouraged from daring to dream beyond getting married and being predominantly a homemaker which is by no means a mean feat for them.
Barbra Itungo, alias Barbi, a wife to the leading Opposition leader in Uganda took it to her Twitter handle today to paint an array of hope created by the technology, “Raising two daughters in a generation largely exposed to digital technologies where they can innovate and access tools to improve their lives and opportunities is amazing,” Noted Barbi
“To the young women out here online, do not accept to be out voiced, don’t allow to be out numbered in spaces like this especially on issues benefiting or affecting you. Rise and Speak! You are deserving and you fit in! So, go right ahead and take charge. Happy Women’s day.” She added.
To actualize the UN International Women’s Day theme, it is important to encourage little girls to dream beyond playing house roles and devise opportunities for them to practice, create environments in homes, schools, work places and the market places that give equal opportunity for girls to access and use technology productively.
Cutoff stereotypes and gender biases that seek to keep one gender as repressed and underdeveloped as possible because this is detrimental to the entire society regardless of gender.
Nurture any interest in technology, open doors for the budding women in tech, trade fairly with those in this space and accord them opportunity to be trained and prove themselves without unfair judgment and prejudice.