“DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality” A call to action for International Women’s Day

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The theme for International Women’s Day, 8 March 2023 (IWD 2023) is, “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”.

This theme is aligned with the priority theme for the upcoming 67th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW-67), “Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls”.

In Antigua and Barbuda, there is very little representation for women in Digital Spaces. Bringing women and other marginalized groups into technology results in more creative solutions and has greater potential for innovations that meet women’s needs and promote gender equality. Their lack of inclusion, by contrast, comes with massive costs.

Women’s exclusion from the digital world has shaved $1 trillion from the gross domestic product of low- and middle-income countries in the last decade—a loss that will grow to $1.5 trillion by 2025 without action. Reversing this trend will require tackling the problem of online violence, which a study of 51 countries revealed 38 per cent of women had personally experienced.

A gender-responsive approach to innovation, technology and digital education can increase the awareness of women and girls regarding their rights and civic engagement. Advancements in digital technology offer immense opportunities to address development and humanitarian challenges, and to achieve the 2030 Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Unfortunately, the opportunities of the digital revolution also present a risk of perpetuating existing patterns of gender inequality. Growing inequalities are becoming increasingly evident in the context of digital skills and access to technologies, with women being left behind as the result of this digital gender divide.

The need for inclusive and transformative technology and digital education is therefore crucial for a sustainable future.

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