IWD 2023 – Creating Opportunities in Digital Spaces

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day 2023 is ‘DigiTalk: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality’ with the United Nations recognising and celebrating women and girls who are championing the advancement of transformative technology and digital education, whilst also exploring the impact of the digital gender gap on widening economic and social inequalities. International Women’s Day 2023 will also highlight the importance of protecting the rights of women and girls in digital spaces and addressing online forms of gender-based violence.

Atrish Sanchez of the GSD Executive said: “Despite their many achievements, women and girls remain largely underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) areas. Globally, they represent a minority of students in STEM education, at only 35 percent in the European Union, with just 3 per cent studying information and technology. The under-representation of women in these careers is an issue to tackle with the goal of bridging that gender gap and to break down biases and stereotypes. It is as basic as creating opportunities for our young women.

Additionally the need to protect the rights of women and girls in digital spaces and addressing online forms of gender-based violence is important. According to the UN, 7 March 2023 had been harassed online and 85 per cent had witnessed some form of online violence. Abusive behaviours take different forms, ranging from identity-based insults to targeted harassment or attacks on privacy. The common theme in all of these is to create a hostile environment for women online aimed at shaming, belittling them, oracross 51 countries, almost 40 per cent of women insinuating that they do not belong there.

As a society we must not only take a firm stance against all types of gender-based violence, but also understand the importance of the inclusion of women within STEM sectors.” all the sectors that both create these technologies and digital spaces to reduce these biases inherent to institutional cultures and work to create effective, safer, and inclusive spaces. It is imperative that scientific progress is also gender neutral, serving all equally and drawing equally on the talents of all. “