What you need to know:
- The issue: Women’s Day
- Our view: How, pray tell, are we going to claim to be digital first when the women, because of anachronistic social constructs are left behind? When digital spaces are not inclusive or safe for women to thrive?
It is that time of the year when we join the world to observe and celebrate International Women’s Day. This year’s theme is, DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality.
In their message for the day this year, UN Women calls on governments, activists and the private sector alike to power on in their efforts to make the digital world safer, more inclusive and more equitable thereby creating a better future for all. In this digital age where communication in all sectors of life such as business, health, education, agriculture and general livelihood are increasingly being conducted digitally, one is bound to be caught flat-footed if they don’t adapt to the new digital culture, at least have basic knowledge, access to digital tools but more importantly be able to use digital spaces significantly. This is why the theme for this year is quite timely and important to the very livelihoods of women regardless of which class of society they belong to.
Unfortunately because of gender biases and cultural limitations, women and girls tend to shy away or are expected to shy away from performing at their full potential digitally, girls in certain societies are still discouraged from daring to dream beyond getting married, birthing children and feeding them which is by no means a mean feat but, there’s so much more to conquer and experience even while excelling at being homemaker and primary care giver.
Technology makes it even easier for women to be all the boundless human resources they can be, including what is considered as their traditional gender roles.
The innovations and disruptions occasioned upon us by the digital world need not be looked at as a threat but rather as an opportunity to broaden the horizons of many girls, women, and humans. However, we can only do so much with technology if there is no significant mindset change for both men and women.
Let us encourage little girls to dream beyond playing house and then give them the opportunities to practice, create environments in homes, schools, work places and the market place that give equal opportunity for girls to access and use technology productively. Lose useless stereotypes and gender biases that seek to keep one gender as repressed and underdeveloped as possible because this is detrimental to the entire society regardless of gender. Nurture any interest in tech, open doors for the budding women in tech, trade fairly with those in this space and accord them opportunity to be trained and prove themselves without unfair judgment and prejudice.
How, pray tell, are we going to claim to be digital first when the women, because of anachronistic social constructs are left behind? When digital spaces are not inclusive or safe for women to thrive? Let this not be just another day, another theme and chance for mindless speeches, let us actually set out to ensure that digital spaces are beneficial for all.