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International Women’s Day 2023: A Reminder To Uphold The Fight For Gender Equality

International Women’s Day 2023: A Reminder To Uphold The Fight For Gender Equality

iwd-2023-digitall-gender-equality

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n commemoration of International Women’s Day (IWD) held every 8th of March, this year’s IWD 2023 is themed—DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality. The United Nations has acknowledged and continues to honor women leading the way in promoting innovative technology and digital education. Therefore, this theme highlights the contributions of these women and aims to celebrate their efforts in advancing the field.

The UN has emphasized the importance of promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls in all areas of life, including science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Despite progress in recent years, women remain underrepresented in these fields, and gender disparities persist in access to education, employment, and leadership opportunities. By putting a spotlight on women and girls who are making significant contributions to technology and digital education, the United Nations hopes to inspire others to follow in their footsteps and foster greater inclusivity and diversity in STEM fields.

IWD 2023 challenges how far the fight for gender equality has come

Photo: Polina Tankilevitch/Pexels

Gender equality is a term used to describe equal treatment and opportunities for individuals of all genders. Sadly, women have often been discriminated against and treated unfairly because of their sex. Therefore, women have had to fight for their rights to be recognized and respected.

The struggle for gender equality has been a long and hard-fought battle, and women have been at the forefront for obvious reasons. They have had to break down barriers and challenge stereotypes that have held them back for centuries. Women have had to fight for the right to vote, education, equal pay, dignity, and respect in all aspects of life.

Despite the progress, gender inequality remains a significant problem in many parts of the world, like India, Iran, Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and some African countries. Women are often discriminated against in the workplace, denied access to education, and subjected to violence and abuse.

However, it is important to note that the fight for gender equality is not just about women. It is about creating a world where everyone can live freely and without fear of discrimination or violence.

Innovation and technology for gender equality

Photo: Anna Nekrashevich/Pexels

The pandemic ushered in a new wave of digital technology. Women have embraced the possibility of living up to their femininity without labeling and undue expectations. For example, a woman who works remotely or starts an online business wouldn’t need to compromise on her career to raise her kids. In these days of economic uncertainties, more individuals are charging toward the workforce with aggression, but in smaller societies, some women have had to forgo their dreams to guard the home front. While some do this willingly, there are many others who become resentful and insecure. At the other end of the spectrum are top career women shamed for sacrificing their family life on the altar of their careers.

Technologies like artificial intelligence, social media, online education, among others, have become highly accessible to everyone. This can be used to take a swipe at gender biases, especially in societies where women are uneducated. Through technology, women will continue to gain access to global standard innovations and premium education.

One of the ways to break unhealthy gender stereotypes is for women to continue to engage in traditionally male-dominated fields like science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). For example, the number of women earning degrees in computer science has been steadily increasing in recent years. According to the National Science Foundation, women earned half of science and engineering bachelor’s degrees (50%) and associate degrees (49%) as of 2023. This is a significant increase from just a few decades ago when women were severely underrepresented in these fields.

Women shattering glass ceilings

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Kamala Harris (@kamalaharris)

In addition, we’re seeing more women take on leadership roles in various industries. For example, Mary Barra became the CEO of General Motors in 2014, making her the first woman to lead a major global automaker. In politics, Kamala Harris became the first female Vice President of the United States in 2021, and in 2017, Jacinda Ardern became the youngest-ever Prime Minister of New Zealand and the country’s third female leader. Meanwhile, the recently concluded senatorial elections in Nigeria saw Ireti Kingibe emerge as the Senator of the Federal Capital Territory, unseating a man who held the position for over twenty years.

In sports, more female coaches and executives are springing up everywhere, like Becky Hammon, the first woman to serve as an NBA head coach in 2020, and Megan Rapinoe, who led the US Women’s National Soccer Team to victory in the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2019.

And let’s not forget popular culture where female stars like Angela Bassett, Thuso Mbedu, Viola Davis, and much more are embodying the definition of strong, capable leaders. This is a welcome change from the stereotypical roles women were often relegated to in the past. For example, in the movie “Woman King,” the fierce and strong female character led her Amazon army to fight and protect their kingdom. Television shows like “Scandal” and “The Good Wife” feature female characters who are powerful lawyers and politicians. This is far from the helpless and meek depictions of femininity that were heralded in time past.

Of course, there is still enormous work to be done to achieve true gender equality. Women still face barriers in the workforce, including outrageous pay gaps and a lack of representation in leadership roles. And while progress has been made in some areas, women still face discrimination and harassment in many aspects of life. But by acknowledging the progress we’ve made and by continuing to work towards a more equitable future, we can create a world where everyone has the opportunity to succeed, regardless of their gender.

This year’s theme, DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality prompts us to review the economic and personal losses these seclusions are costing society and women.

Happy International Women’s Day!

Featured image: kotoffei/iStock


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