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Women’s Month: Pushing gender equality in digital space

March is the month to celebrate women and their social, economic, cultural and political achievements.

It is the month to focus attention on gender equality and empowerment and the progress that has been made for women in the community, the workplace, and in government.

Many countries around the world commemorate March as National Women’s month, either through a law or tradition. On March 8, the world marks International Women’s Day (IWD) with activities led by the United Nations which officially recognized the day in 1977.

“IWD offers an opportunity to reflect on progress made, to call for change, and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities, the UN Women, the United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women, said.

This year, the gender equality issue focuses on women in digital space, where everything now happens, and where one has to have a strong technological connection to succeed in one’s career or chosen field.

However, “37 percent of women do not use the internet and 259 million fewer women have access to the internet than men although they account for nearly half of the world’s population,” UN Women said.

Thus, this year, the United Nations Observance of IWD is focused on the theme: “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality.”

While the observance of IWD will recognize and celebrate the “women and girls who are championing the advancement of transformative technology and digital education,” it will also bring attention to the issues affecting gender equality in digital space.

The most significant is the fact that studies show that by 2050, 75 percent of jobs will be related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related fields.

“If women are unable to access the internet and do not feel safe online, they are unable to develop the necessary digital skills to engage in digital spaces, which diminishes their opportunities to pursue careers in STEM,” the UN Women said.

Thirty-eight percent of women in a study of 51 countries had personally experienced online violence, according to the 2022 Gender Snapshot report.

On March 8, the UN will hold a high-level event which aims to provide an opportunity to highlight the role of all stakeholders in improving women’s access to digital tools.

In the Philippines, the Philippine Commission for Women (PCW) which leads the celebration of IWD, has launched the theme for 2023-2028 initiatives: “Women and Everyone (WE) for gender quality and inclusive society.”

“WE for gender equality and inclusive society” supports the aim of the Philippine Development Plan that highlights “growth must be inclusive, building an environment that provides equal opportunities to all Filipinos and equipping them with skills to participate fully in an innovative and globally competitive economy,” the PCW said.

In the Philippines, a law and two presidential proclamations honor women’s role in history and society. Republic Act 6949, signed in 1990, declared March 8 of every year as National Women’s Day.

Proclamation 224, signed in 1988, declared March 8 as “Women’s Rights and International Peace Day” and the first week of March as Women’s Week. Proclamation 227 signed in 1988 declared March as “Women’s Role in History Month.”

The progress of gender equality and empowerment in all spaces of life need the continued attention of women and everyone.

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