Anniversary International Science & Tech

Int’l Women’s Day: Innovation and Technology For Gender Equality

Today is International Women’s Day. This year’s theme, “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality,” highlights the role of innovative technology in promoting gender equality and meeting the health and developmental needs of women and girls.

Globally, the increasing number and use of mobile phones and internet connectivity have facilitated access to health information and services.

The adoption of digital health and other technological innovations has positively impacted electronic medical records, health data management, security, and effective communication between health workers, patients, and community stakeholders.

Innovations have equally enhanced capacity building and knowledge translation through online training, webinars, and innovative tools for patient care—such as telemedicine, robotics, and artificial intelligence.

Efforts at innovation have facilitated improved access to quality health care services and encouraged the participation of individuals, families, and community stakeholders in health care, especially during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

We have seen that women can be innovators and contribute to transforming the health of all people on the continent.

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.

However, 37% of women do not use the internet. 259 million fewer women have access to the Internet than men, even though they account for nearly half the world’s population.

If women are unable to access the Internet and do not feel safe online, they are unable to develop the necessary digital skills to engage in digital spaces, which diminishes their opportunities to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) related fields By 2050, 75% of jobs will be related to STEM areas. Yet today, women hold just 22% of positions in artificial intelligence, to name just one.

Bringing women into technology results in more creative solutions and has greater potential for innovations that meet women’s needs and promote gender equality. Their lack of inclusion, by contrast, comes with massive costs.

Hemce, we must do more to remove the digital gender divide, mainly impacting vulnerable women and girls, especially those in rural and remote areas with low education and socioeconomic status.

By doing these, we will ensure that disadvantaged and vulnerable women and girls also benefit equitably from digital and technological innovations for their improved health and well-being.

We must also work to ensure that women and girls are safe online. This will free them from online gender-based violence, including cyberstalking, sexual harassment, trafficking, and gross breaches of privacy.

Did you know?

  • Only 63 per cent of women are using the Internet in 2022 compared to 69 per cent of men (ITU, Nov22)
  • By 2050, 75% of jobs will be related to STEM areas. Yet today, women hold just 22% of positions in artificial intelligence, to name just one. (WEF Report)
  • A study of 51 countries revealed 38 per cent of women had personally experienced online violence. (2022 Gender Snapshot Report)
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