The African Union (AU) Commission has called for critical ways to bridge the gender digital divide in Africa as the world observes the 2023 International Women’s Day (IWD).
Development Diaries reports that women across the world use this day to come together to celebrate and rally for equal treatment and representation.
This year’s theme is ‘DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality’.
Chairperson of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, in a statement marking the day, noted that innovation and technology are key accelerators for development in Africa.
Mahamat noted that in a world where innovation is currency, Africa’s development agenda will be compromised unless the continent zooms in on the contributions of women in the areas of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM).
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), in 2021, cautioned in a report that Africa’s inequality could worsen unless concrete action was taken to bridge the continent’s digital divide.
Also, according to a World Economic Forum (WEF) research report, it will take 100 years before there is parity between men and women working in senior STEM roles in Africa.
‘Women, especially young women, should be at the heart of this digital transformation and this year’s theme recognises that if we do not emphasise the contributions of women in the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts and culture mathematics (STEAM), in a world where innovation is mainstream, our development programme will be compromised’, he said.
He called for innovative and sustainable solutions towards the empowerment of African women.
‘It is clear to me that innovation and technology are key accelerators of development on the continent, and more especially through the pioneering contributions of women in the field, past and present’, he added.
‘I wish, therefore, that we look at ways to bridge the digital gender gap and make women, especially young women and girls, a priority in this sector of development of the future to achieve gender equality in Africa and beyond’.
Photo source: UNICEF