International Women’s Day, 2023 – Promoting Gender Equality and Closing the Digital Gap
On International Women’s Day 2023, we are steering our focus towards closing the digital gender divide in Africa.
This focus aligns with the United Nation’s theme for the Day—“Digit4ALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality,” aiming to make people aware of the importance and contribution of digital technology in unveiling issues of gender inequality and discrimination. IWD will explore the impact of the digital gender gap on inequality for women and girls, as the UN estimates that women’s lack of access to the online world will cause a $1.5 trillion loss to gross domestic product of low and middle-income countries by 2025 if action isn’t taken.
Every year on 8 March, International Women’s Day is celebrated to commemorate and honour women’s accomplishments, raise awareness about gender disparities and discrimination, as well as promote global support for women.
The symbol for International Women’s Day is a female gender symbol. It is usually accompanied by the colours purple, green and white.
On #InternationalWomensDay, we say #THANKYOU to all the women we work with who are leading emergency responses and supporting their communities worldwide!
At the World Bank, gender equality and empowerment is a priority. To close the digital gender, divide in Sub-Saharan Africa, we work with client countries on solutions to provide affordable internet access for all, building digital skills tailored to women’s needs and interests, improving accessibility to products and services, integrating a gender lens in ICT policies, and supporting digitally enabled firms with funding tailored to women.
There is a great gap in women’s and girls’ adoption of digital technology compared to men’s and boys’. It has been reported that more than 50% of women are offline globally. In the Global South, this is more pronounced as the internet penetration rate for women is 41%, compared to 53% for men.
Digital technology can indeed be a concrete tool for the development of policies and programs for women and girls to overcome inequalities. Digitalization can also help to speed up gender policy interventions while at the same time bridging the gender digital divide.
This can be achieved by engaging more women and girls in sectors such as health, education, technology, services, etc. However, in the absence of indicators differentiated by gender, it is difficult to measure impact.
Countries such as Ghana, Kenya, Botswana, India, Bangladesh, and Nepal are taking the initiative to improve the skills level and usage of women for the reduction of the gender digital divide. For women with small- and medium-scale enterprises, having proper access to financial products and services is of great importance.
Why is International Women’s Day celebrated on March 8? There’s another tale, likely apocryphal, as to why Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8. As it goes, on March 8, 1857, female garment and textile workers in New York City staged a protest to demand higher wages, better working conditions, and equal rights. The US Census Bureau continues to present this story on its site, but historians have been unable to verify if this protest ever took place, believing it may have been fabricated during the Cold War to remove the holiday’s links to Soviet Bolshevism.
ACCESS TO DIGITAL DEVICES WILL HELP TO INCREASE WOMEN’S ONLINE ACTIVITIES, THEREBY REDUCING THE GENDER DIGITAL DIVIDE AND PROMOTING GENDER EQUALITY.