The 2023 International Women’s Day: “ Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality”
*Precious Bernadette Esogbue
The month of March is dedicated to celebrating women around the world, acknowledging their achievements and raising awareness of gender inequalities in many parts of the world. Each year a theme is chosen that focuses on a particular aspect of women’s rights and empowerment.
The theme of International Women’s Day (IWD) 2023 is ‘Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality’, highlighting the important role that technology and innovation can play in promoting gender equality. Clean Technology Hub joins with many to advocate for a gender-responsive approach to innovation and technology that promotes gender equality across board.
Although the world has made great strides in closing the gender gap in recent decades, women still face multiple challenges, including gender-based violence, discrimination in the workplace, and limited access to education and health care. Technological Advancement has the potential to transform the lives of women and girls, opening up new opportunities and breaking down barriers that have held women back for centuries.
Innovation and technology are important tools for empowering women, reducing gender inequality and promoting their full and equal participation in all areas of life. For example, mobile technology has revolutionized the way women access information, communicate with others, and engage with their communities. Social media platforms give women a voice, allowing them to share their stories and experiences, connect with others, and organize for change.
In addition, technology can help women obtain education and training, find employment opportunities, and start. businesses. The use of e-learning platforms and online courses has made education accessible to women, regardless of. location or circumstances. This was especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic, which had disrupted education for millions of girls worldwide. Similarly, online marketplaces have enabled female entrepreneurs to reach new customers, grow their businesses, and increase their income.
Technology is not a panacea for gender equality. It is also a double-edged sword. Women and girls are often left out of the digital revolution and face several obstacles, including lack of access to technology, digital literacy and cybersecurity. Moreover, technological innovations such as artificial intelligence and algorithms can perpetuate gender stereotypes, prejudices and discrimination.
The energy sector is also one area where gender inequality persists. Women are underrepresented in leadership roles, technical and engineering positions, and entrepreneurship in the energy sector. A study by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) found that women make up only 32% of the renewable energy workforce globally. This is despite the fact that the renewable energy sector has the potential to create millions of jobs and contribute to the global transition to a sustainable energy future. Women’s participation in the energy sector is critical to achieving sustainable development and addressing the urgent challenge of climate change.
Promoting gender-sensitive technology policies and practices is essential to ensuring that technology benefits women and girls. This requires cooperation with the public and private sector, civil society organizations and the tech industry to address the digital gender divide and create accessible and equitable solutions for all.
Governments and policymakers must prioritize gender equality in technology policies, promote digital literacy, and invest in infrastructure that bridges the digital divide. The private sector must also take responsibility for creating gender-inclusive products and services, increasing women’s representation in technology, and addressing the gender pay gap.
Finally, the. International Women’s Day 2023 theme, “Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality,” highlights the potential of technology to transform the lives of women and girls around the world. However, it also highlights the need for concerted efforts to ensure that technology benefits all women and promote gender equality. By harnessing the power of innovation and technology, we can create a fairer and more equitable world for women and girls.
*Precious Bernadette Esogbue is Research Associate and Lead Clean Cooking &Livelihood Programme Portfolio at Clean Technology Hub.