Wednesday 8th March is International Women’s Day (and before you ask yes there is an International Men’s Day which funnily enough only ever gets searched on International Women’s Day).
International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated every year and focuses on women’s achievements and challenges. It highlights the positive ways women have influenced the world, but it also raises awareness for issues that women face. IWD is necessary as it allows us a day to focus on the sexism that women still face today.
“DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”.
The UN theme for this year’s IWD is “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”.
Today, so much of our lives revolve around technology: from keeping in contact with family and friends, to booking an appointment, and even to being able to do your course here at the University, everything is reliant on technology.
Why has this ‘DigitALL’ theme been chosen?
The statistics regarding women and the internet are shocking. 37% of women do not use the internet. 259 million fewer women have access to the Internet compared to men. If women are excluded from online spaces then they are unable to develop the digital skills required. This has a knock-on effect regarding the pursuit of careers in STEM related fields.
By 2050, 75% of jobs will be related to STEM areas but women hold just 22% of positions in artificial intelligence globally.
A global analysis of 133 AI systems across industries found that 44.2 per cent of these industries demonstrate gender bias.
A survey of women journalists from 125 countries found that 73 per cent had suffered online violence in the course of their work.
The United Nations Observance of IWD will explore the impact of the digital gender gap on widening economic and social inequalities. It will focus on protecting the rights of women and girls in digital spaces and gender-based violence online.
With the rise of violent misogynists like Andrew Tate and events like the reversal of Roe v. Wade, this year’s IWD is of more importance than ever. The violence against women is drastically increasing. Wednesday 8th March is a day where we can raise awareness and support for all women everywhere.
At the same time, we need to focus on the success women have had in the digital field. Digital technology is opening opportunities for the empowerment of women. The digital age represents a chance to eliminate inequality, an opportunity that we must seize.