The 8th of March is one of the days of the year when I am proud to be a woman. I am proud, not of my biological features, but of my development as a young woman in a society where women are second to men. I am very proud of my contributions and accomplishments, as are many other young girls around the world who are working hard to change the narrative.
Moving away from pride, my current concern is the barriers that women continue to face. In today’s world, women continue to face discrimination, inequalities, gender-based violence, and negative effects on their sexual and reproductive health, among other things, making it difficult to carry everyone along for the ride, yet with the hope that all is not lost.
Back to the issue, since the first international women’s day was observed over a century ago, the world has seen significant progress in women’s rights and opportunities. However, there is still much work to be done to ensure that women everywhere have equal access to education, employment, healthcare, and political representation, which has been my interest and focus for some time now. Women’s participation and inclusion in politics and leadership at large is something that really needs to be encouraged by all.
Personally, I’m excited about this year’s International Women’s Day theme, “Digital: Innovation and technology for gender equality,” which calls on governments, activists, and the private sector to step up efforts to make the digital world safer, more inclusive, and equitable. Despite accounting for nearly half of the world’s population, women have 259 million fewer internet users than men, according to the United Nations.
Although many actions have been taken around the world to bridge the gap between women and technology, there are still some gaps that affect the majority.
- Access to technology: While the digital age has created new opportunities for education and employment, many women continue to lack access to essential technology. This could be due to financial barriers or cultural beliefs that discourage women from pursuing careers in technology.
- Opportunities for employment: The tech industry has traditionally been dominated by men, but as more businesses shift toward digitization, there are more opportunities for women in tech roles. However, gender bias and discrimination can still exist in these industries, and women frequently face barriers to advancing to positions of leadership.
- Entrepreneurship: Because women can now access customers and suppliers from all over the world via online platforms, digitization has made it easier for them to start their own businesses. However, many challenges remain for female entrepreneurs, such as obtaining funding and breaking into male-dominated industries.
- As more aspects of our lives become digitized, digital literacy is becoming increasingly important. Women who lack these skills may face challenges in areas such as education and employment.
Furthermore, women may face social and cultural barriers to obtaining digital literacy training. As previously stated, while digitization has created new opportunities for women, it has also highlighted existing inequalities and created new challenges. As a result, it is critical to continue working toward gender equality in the digital age. Having said that, I hope that Women’s Day becomes more than just a ceremonial observance and I believe that this celebration will result in significant change and that we will embrace the equity that we seek as women and as a society.
The writer Edith Gyekye is the Coordinating Secretary for the Ghana Union of Professional Students.