Women propagate digital innovations for gender equality

Sima Bahous, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, during a past event. PHOTO/Courtesy.
Sima Bahous, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, during a past event. PHOTO/Courtesy.

This year’s annual celebration of Women’s Day focused on innovation and technology for gender equality. 

Technology ownership and use may help address development and humanitarian concerns, and empower and elevate women. 

The United Nations Women commemorated the day with panel talks highlighting the roles of all

in enhancing access to digital tools, which served as a high-level event that brought together innovators, technologists, gender equality activists, and stakeholders.

Last year the UN observance for International Women’s Day (IWD) declared this year’s celebration theme to be DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for gender equality.

The theme aligns with the 67th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW-67) priority theme: Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls. 

It was, therefore, a day to honor and celebrate women and girls who champion the advancement of transformative technology and digital education.

Breaking biases

“Women and girls have just as much right to access and prosper in the digital world as men and boys. Their creativity, knowledge, and perspective can shape a future where technology transforms social norms, amplifies women’s voices, and pushes against online harassment. 

Preventing the perpetuation of algorithmic biases and distributing the benefits of digitalization as the great equalizer to achieve the sustainable development goal,” Sima Bahous, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, remarked. 

According to studies, there is a gender gap in technology, with girls being excluded from access to and ownership of digital equipment. 

As a result, they are never included in the benefits of the digital world. 

According to the UN Women’s and Gender Snapshot of 2022, bringing women and other marginalized groups together can help middle-income and low-income nations avoid losing up to $1 trillion in GDP. 

There is a need to include gender equality from conception to execution for equitable progress in a developing nation like Kenya because the online environment is crucial for growth and opportunity. 

Designing digital goods that are inclusive of girls’ needs includes both genders in the buildup process, especially in the co-creation, design, and product testing.

The fact that bias, injustice, and violence against women and girls still exist in our society in the digital age indicates that there has been no significant progress in achieving gender equality. 

Sade Baderinwa, a journalist and WABC TV news anchor. PHOTO/Courtesy.
Sade Baderinwa, a journalist and WABC TV news anchor. PHOTO/Courtesy.

The UN Women’s celebration made four calls during 2023 International Women’s Day: eradicating all barriers to accessing the digital world; educating and training women in technology and stem; empowering women to build tech that meets their needs; and, last, ending gender-based violence online.

Driving a digital future of equality

Sade Baderinwa, a journalist and WABC TV news anchor, in her opening speech at the UN Women’s Day celebration, addressing the female audience, clarified: 

“Technology is a huge space and we must be a part of this digital revolution. Instead of handing girls dolls to play with, how about we hand them microscope?” 

It is estimated that by 2050, around 75% of the total job opportunities will be around STEM. Yet, women are highly underrepresented in this sector and this calls for total inclusion of both genders in case we want an empowered and equal society. 

However, some women have also excelled well in these spaces that women are trying much to advocate for even though they haven’t been credited. 

Catherine Johnson was one of the first women of color scientists who helped take humans to the moon, among many others.

Increasing disparities in access to technology and digital skills are becoming increasingly obvious. 

To save the future of young girls who are still suffering from exclusion in the digital spaces, digital illiteracy must be eliminated and digital education adopted alongside traditional classroom learning. 

Digital technology has become an essential part of millennials’ lives. 

There is a glaring disparity between internet usage by men and women worldwide—69% of men and 63% of women use the internet—and if it is not addressed, it will only widen the gap.

Online violence

Even while the digital transformation is progressing, it is terrible that technology in Kenya and worldwide is somehow enabling the already-widespread violence against women. 

A collaborative effort is needed to change the situation because 73% of Kenyan women have in some way been a victim of online assault.

Online female aggression is thought to be a byproduct of patriarchal society’s natural aggressive reactions; it has been labeled poisonous and harmful, especially in a field that is constantly reinventing itself. 

In the Kenyan digital scope, Twitter has been labeled the most aggressive, ranging from body shaming to abusive language, especially to the most vocal women in society. 

Prominent women like Adelle Onyango, Lillian Muli, and Betty Kyalo, have all, at some point, spoken up against the online bullying they have experienced, as have uprising content creators like Azziad Nasenya, Elsa Majimbo, and Chebet Rono.

Empowering women, girls, in digital space

According to feminist activist and Founder of Teenseed, Winnie Obure, women should speak up for themselves because if they don’t, someone else will experience the same issue without speaking up, and the trend will continue. 

A day before the festivities, she tweeted, “If you don’t talk, another person will go through the same pain without getting help.”

 Winnie Obure, Founder of Teenseed. PHOTO/Courtesy.
Winnie Obure, Founder of Teenseed. PHOTO/Courtesy.

In order to fully realize their potential, women increasingly need to feel safe in their surroundings, regardless of where they are. 

The online world has been shredded in such a way that women can simultaneously be highly praised and worshipped for using digital tools well and reduced to nothing by the simple use of a gadget. It’s a dangerous and opportunistic place at the same time.


Women have historically been underrepresented in the telecommunications industry, but recently there has been a push for diversity, which the women themselves are quickly pushing.

Inclusive and transformative technology is essential for a sustainable future, especially in digital education.

We utilize the internet for things like online banking, remote employment, and health check-ups because technology dominates our life. 

But in this fast-paced digital era, 37% of women worldwide do not have access to the internet world, which means they are missing out on a lot.

Women need access to and control over technology to advance economically and socially. 

When they are involved in technology, more innovative solutions and innovations that support gender equality and cater to the needs of women are produced. 

Contrarily, their exclusion has significant financial consequences.

YOU CAN ALSO READ: GWILN: Branch out and be tech-savvy, women told during their day

“Inclusion is not just an add-on. We must look beyond gender as an add-on and ensuring that it is integrated into our systems and application of innovation and technology,” said Irene Mwendwa, director of Strategic Initiatives and Feminist movement-building program from Uganda, said during the panel discussion at the UN women’s celebrations.

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Ms. Loise is a Communication Specialist with a bachelor's degree in Publishing and Media Science from Moi University, Kenya. She is a dedicated web developer and a climate change and environment writer. She also owns diverse skills in social media marketing. Her contact: loiselenser@gmail.com


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