Alliances for Africa is proud to join women globally to celebrate the International Women’s Day on March 8th, 2023. The International Women’s Day is a global event celebrating and recognizing the achievements of women in all spheres of life.
This year, the theme for the UN Women International Women’s day is “ DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality and we are taking the opportunity to recognize the amazing accomplishments of women while acknowledging the need for continued progress in achieving gender equality.
In her opening Statement to the 67th session of the UN commission on the status of Women at the General Assembly hall of the United Nations headquarters in New York on 6th March, 2023, the UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women Ms. Sima Bahous, stated clearly and we echo it that Women are 18 per cent less likely than men to own a smartphone, and far less likely to access or use the Internet. This past year alone, 259 million more men than women were online. Only 28 per cent of engineering graduates and 22 per cent of artificial intelligence workers globally are women, despite girls matching boys’ performance in science and technology subjects across many countries.
According to the global organization for mobile operators, 92 per cent of the nation’s adult male population have mobile phones while 88 per cent of the nation’s adult female population have mobile phones in Nigeria. It further stated that 36 per cent more men (54 per cent) use mobile Internet than women (34 per cent ‘The Mobile Gender Gap Report (2022).’
It said 37 per cent more men use the mobile Internet than men in sub-Saharan Africa. It added that the gap in phone ownership was lower than the gap in mobile Internet usage.
It is also a shocking reality that even in this age of awakening, in the technology sector globally, women only occupy a few positions and even at that they also face a gender pay gap of 21 per cent.
We also agree with the UN Women totally, that nearly half of all women working in technology have faced workplace harassment.
As a feminist organization dedicated to empowering women and girls by advocating for women’s right and gender justice, Alliances for Africa aligns itself with the UN women as we spotlight – Digital Skills- A tool for Women Economic Development and Gender Equality. We believe that every woman deserves access to education, healthcare, and equal opportunities. Through our programs and initiatives, we have worked tirelessly to improve the lives of women across the globe.
On this International Women’s Day, we join our voice to the upcoming 67th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW-67) to say that Digital skills are crucial tools for women’s economic development and gender equality. With the rise of the digital age, the ability to navigate and effectively using digital technology has become a key factor in accessing job opportunities and creating businesses.
See how digital skills can empower women and promote gender equality:
- Access to job opportunities: Digital skills enable women to access a wider range of job opportunities, including remote work and online jobs. This can be especially beneficial for women in rural areas or those who face mobility challenges.
- Entrepreneurship: Digital skills enable women to start and run their own businesses. This can be a powerful tool for economic empowerment, as women can create businesses that are flexible and fit their needs, such as home-based businesses or e-commerce.
- Financial inclusion: Digital skills can enable women to access financial services such as online banking and mobile payments, which can be especially important for women who may not have access to traditional banking services.
- Access to education and information: Digital skills enable women to access a wealth of educational resources and information, which can help them to expand their knowledge and skills.
- Networking: Digital skills enable women to connect with others in their industry and build their professional network, which can be important for career advancement and business growth.
Sadly, women may face specific challenges when it comes to developing digital skills. This includes :
- Gender biases and limited access to technology.
- Challenges of cyber violence such as stalking and doxing
- Revenge porn- A cyber violence young females face by participating in virtual campaigns or are feminists.
- Posting and publishing of obscene sexual contents
- Cyber extortion in which a blackmailer target a female with blackmail, threatening to leak personal data or compromising images or videos unless the victim pays.
- Creation of fake personality online profiles etc.
- Cyber intimidation, harassment, exploitation, abuse, threat, etc.
These and more are what women go through with severe consequences which discourage their presence and maximization of the digital space. This digital gap in no mean measures affects women and girls with low literacy or low income, those living in rural or remote areas, migrants, women with disabilities and the aged women.
A CALL TO EMBRACE EQUITY
Therefore, It is important we Embrace Equity and provide women with equal opportunities to thrive in the digital space.
- We request for cyber protection for women and girls to enable them thrive in the digital space.
- We ask that we address these challenges and provide women with the resources and support they need to develop and use digital skills effectively for the global economic development and gender equality.
- We demand the parents give girls equal access to digital education and devices as their male counterparts
- We demand that schools should encourage the development of curriculum that will begin early to teach girls digital skills while protecting them from cyber bullies
- We demand for justice for cyber victims and prosecution of the perpetrators of cyber crime
- We demand that few is no longer enough for us in STEM
Yes we can be More.
Ms Iheoma Obibi
Alliances for Africa
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