March: The Month for the Women
March 8th every year is commemorated as International Women’s Day.
International Women’s Day is a global event that celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. This day is a crucial opportunity to reflect on the progress made towards gender equality and to recognize the significant contributions that women have made in various fields. Additionally, it serves as a call to action for accelerating efforts towards achieving gender parity and promoting women’s rights around the world.
IWD raises a focal point in the women’s rights movement, bringing attention to issues such as gender equality, reproductive rights, women’s mental health and violence and abuse against women.
The theme to mark this year’s International Women’s Day is DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality.
Today, a persistent gender gap in digital access keeps women from unlocking technology’s full potential and the pervasive threat of online gender-based violence—coupled with a lack of legal recourse too often forces them out of the digital spaces they do occupy.
While digital technology has the potential to empower women, girls, and other marginalised groups globally, it is important to acknowledge the challenges and negative effects that women face in the digital realm.
Women are disproportionately affected by cyberbullying, online harassment, and hate speech, which can impact their mental health and well-being. Additionally, women often face barriers to accessing and utilising digital tools and resources, which can limit their opportunities for advancement and empowerment. However, with proactive efforts to address these challenges and promote inclusive digital spaces, we can harness the power of technology to eliminate disparities and promote gender equality worldwide.
Social norms, societal expectations, and peer pressure, also contribute to the negative impact of social media. Navigating the ins and outs of an online life is a stressful and anxiety-inducing experience. Women have been at the forefront of it all with all the online abuse.
But, fortunately, dealing with societal expectations, peer pressure, and unhealthy body standards is becoming easier, thanks to a wave of apps and virtual engagements geared towards women’s mental health. More change is coming as tech innovators are becoming more aware of the way that technology affects our mental well-being.
It is crucial for governments, activists, and the private sector to continue their efforts to create a safer, more inclusive, and equitable digital world for women. This can be achieved through policies and initiatives that address online violence and harassment, promote digital literacy and skills development, and ensure that women have equal access to technology and opportunities in the digital economy.
Additionally, it is essential to create spaces for women’s voices and perspectives to be heard and represented in digital media and technology development. By working together, we can create a digital world that empowers and advances women’s rights and gender equality.
Rachel Affiong Umoh