International Women’s Day 2023 – DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality

On behalf of the African Women Lawyers Association (Nig.). It is my honour to wish women all over the world a happy International Women’s Day! Today is a day to come together to celebrate the progress we have made in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment, while also acknowledging the work that still needs to be done in Africa and all over the world.

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality. This theme highlights the importance of technology and innovation in advancing gender equality and empowering women. In a world where technology is rapidly evolving, it is essential that women have equal access and opportunities to utilize technology for their benefit, and in doing so, for the benefit of society as a whole.

As an organization, our mission at AWLA (Nig.) is to promote, preserve, protect, and enhance the rights, interests, and welfare of women and children, to see a society free from abuse and indignity for women and children in Africa. We are dedicated to advocating for policies and laws that promote gender equality and protect the rights of women and children.One of the key ways we can make progress towards achieving gender equality is through education. We must empower women and girls with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in a rapidly changing world and in this age of information, digital and technological literacy and development is a must. We must work towards eliminating gender stereotypes and biases that have served to gatekeep women and young girls from receiving the same opportunities to reach their fullest potential, compete and thrive. This goes beyond education, we have a duty to invest in our young girls and women, granting greater access economic opportunities, including entrepreneurship and leadership roles, because even with the world at our fingertips in this digital age, cultural and economic barriers, still prevent many from having the tools needed to access and utilize that information. Through promoting educational and economic empowerment for women, we can create a more equitable and prosperous society.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let us take a moment to acknowledge the amazing contributions of women throughout history. Women have made significant contributions to science, technology, arts, and literature, yet their contributions have often been overlooked or undervalued. It is time to change that narrative and recognize the incredible impact women have had on our world. Today we recognize and thank those women, especially those African women whose bravery, intelligence and innovation have tangibly made the world a better place. These include women like:

  1. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma: a South African politician and the first woman to lead the African Union Commission. She has been instrumental in implementing policies and programs that support women’s rights and gender equality in Africa.
  2. Tebello Nyokong: a South African chemist who has made significant contributions to the field of photodynamic therapy, which uses light to treat cancer. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards and honors, including the L’Oréal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science.
  3. Ola Orekunrin: a Nigerian medical doctor and founder of the Flying Doctors Nigeria, which provides emergency medical services across West Africa. She has been recognized for her innovative use of technology to improve access to healthcare in remote areas.
  4. Mamphela Ramphele: a South African academic, activist, and politician who has been a vocal advocate for women’s rights and gender equality. She was the first black woman to be appointed as a vice-chancellor at a South African university and has held several leadership positions in the public and private sectors.
  5. Esther Obonyo: a Kenyan-born civil engineer who is a leading expert in the field of sustainable buildings. She has worked on numerous projects around the world and has been recognized with several awards for her contributions to the field.

These are just a few examples of the many contributions that African women have made to science and technology. Despite facing significant challenges, African women continue to push the boundaries of what is possible and make a positive impact on their communities and the world.I was able to find this information on these brilliant women because we are privileged to have access to a computer, the internet; we have been educated to the point that we are able to do the research. It is an indictment on society that there are so many phenomenal women and children amongst us in Africa, who have so much to contribute & create, who do not have access to the same. So, as we celebrate these women, we hope to inspire all those who have been stifled for far too long and we work to do our part in changing society for the better so that those who are so inspired are afforded the opportunity to bless the world with their gifts as well.

Happy International Women’s Day!  Let us continue to work towards a world where all women and girls are empowered, valued, and respected. Let us embrace innovation and technology as tools for progress and change. Together, we can create a world where gender equality and equity is a reality.

Efe Etomi

African Women Layers Association (Nig.), President

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