Today is International Women’s Day (IWD), an event that takes place annually to celebrate the achievements of women.
Leaders from the UK Government, the European Commission, and the United Nations have come together on International Women’s Day to celebrate the event and push forward innovations to enhance women’s place globally.
This year’s theme: ‘DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality,’ will explore the impact of the digital gender gap on widening economic and social inequalities. The event will also spotlight the importance of protecting the rights of women and girls in digital spaces and addressing online and ICT-facilitated gender-based violence.
Innovation News Network takes a look at some of the strategies global organisations are implementing to advance women’s positions in the field of technology.
What is International Women’s Day and why is it celebrated?
Last week marked the beginning of International Women’s Month – a 31-day celebration of women everywhere and their monumental impact worldwide.
The specific holiday honouring women’s societal and economic accomplishments always falls on 8 March, known as International Women’s Day.
IWD is celebrated in many countries around the world. It is a day when women are recognised for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic, or political.
Since its beginning, IWD has assumed a new global dimension for women in both developed and developing countries.
The growing international women’s movement has helped make the commemoration a rallying point to build support for women’s rights and participation in the political and economic sectors.
Examining the importance of this year’s theme
Our lives depend on strong technological integration: attending a course, calling loved ones, making a bank transaction, or booking a medical appointment. Everything currently goes through a digital process.
This year’s theme, ‘DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality,’ is aligned with the priority theme for the upcoming 67th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW-67), ‘Innovation and technological change and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls’.
The theme recognises and celebrates women championing transformative technology and digital education advancement. International Women’s Day 2023 will explore the impact of the digital gender gap on widening economic and social inequalities.
Moreover, the event will also spotlight the importance of protecting the rights of women and girls in digital spaces and addressing online and ICT-facilitated gender-based violence.
Women’s involvement in the field of technology results in more creative solutions and has more significant potential for innovations that meet women’s needs and promote gender equality. Their lack of inclusion has major downfalls for the industry.
According to the United Nations Women’s Gender Snapshot 2022 report, women’s exclusion from the digital world has shaved $1tr from the gross domestic product of low and middle-income countries in the last decade. This loss will grow to $1.5tr by 2025 without action.
A gender-inclusive approach to innovation, technology, and digital education can increase the awareness of women and girls regarding their rights and civic engagement. Advancements in digital technology also offer immense opportunities to address development and humanitarian challenges.
Additionally, growing inequalities are becoming increasingly evident in the context of digital skills and access to technologies, with women being left behind as the result of this digital gender divide. Therefore, inclusive, transformative technology and digital education are crucial for a sustainable future, and this year’s International Women’s Day seeks to help achieve this.
What is happening around the world?
The European Commission has encompassed the International Women’s Day theme in Europe through its Digital Strategy and Sustainable Growth policies. Through these, the EU aims to ensure women’s equal access to the untapped potential of digital technologies.
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the Commission, declared 2023 the European Year of Skills. Investments in education and skills training for women and girls play a fundamental role in enhancing women’s position in all fields and closing the gender pay gap.
Moreover, the Commission will announce its campaign on challenging gender stereotypes tomorrow, an important deliverable of the Gender Equality Strategy. This year, the European Commission is also launching a call for proposals under the Citizenship, Equality, Rights, and Values (CERV) programme to foster gender equality, including the balanced participation of women in economic and political decision-making.
Tomorrow, in recognition of noteworthy strides towards gender equality carried out by academic and research organisations, the Commission will announce the winners of the EU Award for Gender Equality Champions.
The United Nations Observance of International Women’s Day under the theme, ‘DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality,’ will be marked by a high-level event later today. The event brings together technologists, innovators, entrepreneurs, and gender equality activists to provide an opportunity to highlight the role of all stakeholders in improving access to digital tools and be followed by a high-level panel discussion and musical performances.
CSW67 also provides a unique chance to shape our digital future for the better. Over the next two weeks, governments, civil society organisations, experts, and activists worldwide will unite to face the challenges and further the enormous potential of technology for the empowerment of all women and girls.
Heather Baily, Chair of the UK Security Industry Authority, has spoken out on the importance of International Women’s Day. She stated: “At the heart of everything we do as the UK-wide regulator sits public safety. Our licence holders play a significant part in keeping people safe in various environments. Ensuring they are best equipped to deal with a terrorist incident has been our critical priority.
“I was incredibly impressed by the teamwork shown by all the members of the private security team who work at this club, but particularly so by the female team leader who showed a calm, professional and measured approach to each scenario. It will be these skills which will save lives in the event that this type of situation happens for real.”
She continued: “So to all of the fabulous women working in the private security sector and within the SIA, today we celebrate your contribution to making life safer for everyone. No matter what role you have or how long you have been working in our sector, every woman makes a unique and valuable contribution. Individually you are amazing, and collectively, we can make positive change for good.”
Heather also spoke with some of the trailblazing women working in private security: