Posted By

Tags

International Women’s Day addresses the Digital Gender Gap



International Women’s Day 2023 (INL Image by Praneeta Mahajan)

Praneeta Mahajan
Hamilton, March 8, 2023

The United Nations Observance of International Women’s Day 2023 on March 8, 2023, recognises and celebrates the women and girls who are championing the advancement of transformative technology and digital education through their theme for the year “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality.”

It will explore the impact of the digital gender gap on widening economic and social inequalities. It will also spotlight the importance of protecting the rights of women and girls in digital spaces and addressing online and technology-facilitated gender-based violence.

The massive cost of Exclusion

Bringing women and other marginalised 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. As per the UN Women’s Gender Snapshot 2022 report, women’s exclusion from the digital world has shaved US$ 1 trillion from the gross domestic product of low and middle-income countries in the last decade, a loss that will grow to US$ 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.

UN Women Executive Director Sima Bahous (UN Website Photo)

Gender-responsive approach

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 UN’s 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.

UN theme “DigitALL: the need for inclusive and transformative technology” (Photo by UN Trust Fund/Phil Borges)

Right to Digital World

UN Women Executive Director Sima Bahous said, “Women and girls have just as much right to access the digital world and prosper in it as men and boys. Their creativity, knowledge and perspectives can shape a future where technology contributes to transforming social norms, amplifying women’s voices, pushing forward against online harassment, preventing the perpetuation of algorithmic biases, and distributing the benefits of digitalisation as the great equaliser to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.”

According to a media statement she released, she mentioned how women’s and girls’ movements are defiant and steadfast in the face of regressive gender norms and pushback against their rights.

She said, “Activists are raising their powerful voices for inclusion, and an end to violence and discrimination in education, the workplace and in legislation. On International Women’s Day, we honour and celebrate them, adding our committed support to their energy and drive.”

By current estimates, almost half (53.6 %) of the global population is online, but the share of that access and its benefits is unequal. Last year there were 259 million more men than women using the Internet—and it was not a safe space.

Ms Bahous said, “We have both to end the gaps and detoxify the online world for those entering it. With the right decisions by government and industry and the collaborative efforts of civil society, closing the gender digital divide could become the fast lane to progress as technology accelerates.”

New Zealand Case Studies

According to Amnesty International, Around one-third of New Zealand women surveyed said they experienced online abuse and harassment. Out of those-

75% had trouble sleeping well, 49% felt their personal safety was at risk, 32% felt the personal safety of their families was at risk, 72% were less able to focus on everyday tasks, 37% said the perpetrators were people they knew personally while 53% said the perpetrators were complete strangers.

70% of the women said they had lower self-esteem or loss of self-confidence after the incident with more than 65% of them feeling a sense of powerlessness and 49% said they used social media less or stopped altogether.

Praneeta Mahajan is an Indian Newslink reporter based in Hamilton.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share this story

Related Stories

Indian Newslink

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement