Accra, March 8, GNA – The Association of Women in the Media (ASWIM) has urged the Government to employ strategies based on equity to increase the participation of girls and women in the digital technology space for holistic national development.
It said this was an imperative given the fact that advancement for every nation today was propelled by Science, Innovation and Digital Technology,
This was contained in a statement signed by Mrs Mavis Kitcher, the President of ASWIM, and copied to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in commemoration of the International Women’s Day (IWD).
The 2023 IWD is on the theme, “DigitAll: Innovation and technology for gender equality.”
ASWIM said Ghana needed to leapfrog its economic development with huge investments in Science, Innovation and Digital Technology and the only way to maximise the national potential was to use equity interventions to balance the participation of women and girls in that space.
It quoted data from the United Nations, which indicate that globally, men are 21 per cent more likely to be online than women, and in the tech industry, men outnumber women two to one.
The ratio is even worse, being – five to one – in the area of Artificial Intelligence.
ASWIM said equity grounded interventions, therefore, should be pursued over those of equal opportunities, to create fairness for girls and women in STEM school enrolment, capacity building programmes, incubation and startups of businesses and access to financing in that space.
“ASWIM also supports the UN Secretary-General’s call for action on online education, removal of systemic barriers and a proactive approach to increase women’s participation and leadership in science and technology to address the imbalance,” the statement said.
Justifying its advocacy for equity-based strategies, ASWIM explained that: “Equality means each individual or group of people is given the same resources or opportunities; while Equity recognises that each person has different circumstances, and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome.”
It, however, lauded women for their immense contributions over the years towards achieving an inclusive society in Ghana’s quest to attain sustainable national development.
But it noted that: “The challenges women have to surmount in doing so are frustrating many and limiting the development of their potentials, thus making the nation poorer in varied fields.
“Indeed, ASWIM is very concerned about the imminent retrogression in the gains made since gender activism started on March 8, 1857, when female textile workers marched in New York to protest unfair working conditions, if the flame is not rekindled with urgent actions.”
It emphasised that the caution given by the Secretary Generalof the United Nations, Antonio Gueterres, about the reversalof the gains made by gender activism over the decades should not be taken for granted.
“It is in furtherance of the equity agenda that Ghana has since 2011, pursued the promulgation of the Affirmative Action Law, which seeks to remove the historical low representation of women in all decision-making spaces, while promoting democracy and development through effective participation of all citizens,” it pointed out.
ASWIM, therefore, urged the Government, Parliament, and all stakeholders to rededicate to the urgent passing of the Affirmative Action Law, which had been pending more than a decade after it was initiated.
“This would help make women’s contributions count even better for the building of a dynamic and balanced society in the interest of all,” it said.