By Christabel Addo
Accra, March 07, GNA – Although the digital revolution presents unprecedented opportunities for women and girls, it has also given rise to new challenges that are compounding gender inequalities in severe ways.
New challenges such as the persistent gender gap in digital access, and the underrepresentation of women and girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education, is undermining the achievement of gender equality globally.
The United Nations (UN) indicates that the persistent gender gap in digital access had kept women from unlocking the full potential of technology, and their underrepresentation in STEM education and careers remained a major barrier to their participation in technology design and governance.
Furthermore, there is the pervasive threat of online gender-based violence, coupled with a lack of legal recourse, which too often forces women and girls out of the digital spaces they occupy.
That is why the UN has chosen the theme: “DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality,” for the 2023 International Women’s Day (IWD) celebrations to draw more attention to the issue.
The IWD, is a global historical event marked annually on March 8, in honour of women’s contributions to society, economy, culture, and politics, and an occasion to reflect on the achievements and remaining work to be done to achieve gender equality in all spheres of life.
The occasion is also a focal point in the women’s rights movement, bringing attention to issues such as gender equality, reproductive rights, violence and abuses against women and girls.
According to the UN, women make up only 22 per cent of Artificial Intelligence (AI) workers globally, while a global analysis of 133 AI systems across industries found that 44.2 per cent demonstrate gender bias.
Another survey of women journalists from 125 countries also found that 73 per cent had suffered online violence in the course of their work, the UN stated.
It notes, “from the earliest days of computing to the present age of virtual reality and AI, women have made untold contributions to the digital world in which they lived.”
“Their accomplishments had been against all odds, in a field that has historically neither welcomed nor appreciated them,” the UN stated.
According to the UN, digital technology was opening new doors for the global empowerment of women, girls, and other marginalized groups; from gender-responsive digital learning to tech-facilitated sexual and reproductive healthcare, and the digital age represented an unprecedented opportunity to eliminate all forms of disparity and inequality.
On the IWD, governments, activists and the private sector alike are being called upon to ‘power on’ in their efforts to make the digital world safer, more inclusive, and more equitable and Ghana would not be left out in observing the global event.