As Nigeria joined the world to celebrate International Women’s Day 2023 themed “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality,” the African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre LSD) has applauded the significant contributions of women to the digital world.
In a statement commemorating the day, the centre’s women’s rights officer Emmanuela Nwahiri called for the institutionalisation of systems to address gender equality and increase women’s representation in the digital sphere.
According to United Nations (UN) data, women only make up 22 per cent of artificial intelligence (AI) workers globally. Additionally, a global analysis of 133 AI systems across various industries found that 44.2 per cent of them exhibit gender bias. A survey of female journalists from 125 countries also revealed that 73 per cent experienced online violence while working.
The persistent gender gap in digital access hinders women from unlocking the full potential of technology. The underrepresentation of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and careers continue to be a significant barrier to their participation in tech design and governance. The increasing prevalence of online gender-based violence too often forces women out of the digital spaces they occupy. Factors such as race, age, disability, socioeconomic status and location all play a role in determining women’s digital access and use.
Centre LSD called on governments, activists, relevant institutions and the private sector to intensify efforts to remove all barriers that limit women’s access to the digital world. This year’s IWD celebration provides another opportunity to galvanise collective action towards creating an inclusive and gender-equitable digital global ecosystem.
International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8th every year to honour women’s impact and contributions to society, economy, culture and politics. It is also an occasion to reflect on the steps taken towards achieving gender equality in all spheres of life and the work that remains to be done to ensure it.
The statement encouraged everyone to celebrate women always.