International Women's Day is a time to celebrate women, their achievements, brilliance and amplify the voices promoting gender equality. This year's theme, "DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality," highlights the importance of technology in promoting gender equality and empowering women.
While there are pioneering women in tech history— such as Augusta Ada Lovelace, who created the first computer algorithm and changed the world, women today are still vastly underrepresented in the tech sector. However, that is slowly but surely changing for the better as more women and girls have mastered computer languages and are quickly changing the narrative. A good example being Kate Crawford, writer, researcher, composer, producer, and academic.
According to a 2022 UN report, at the world’s present rate, we would still need 286 years before gender equality is finally achieved.
However worrying these statistics look, audacious women are found everyday in technology and its various intersections, despite it been seen as mainly a men’s playground. As we celebrate International Women’s Day, it is imperative to attack the root issues that perpetute gender inequality and understand the factors that serve as barriers to women’s integration into the digital economy and STEM occupations.
Here are some root causes that perpetuate gender inequality and what we can do to fight that:
- Gender stereotypes and biases: There is a pervasive cultural stereotype that women are less skilled and less interested in technology and STEM fields, which can discourage women from pursuing careers in these areas.
Understand your biases and assess women based on their competency.
- Lack of role models: Women are underrepresented in STEM fields, and this lack of representation can make it harder for women to envision themselves in these roles.
More women, men and organizations need to toot the horns of those women breaking stereotypes, so others can see themselves in these fields and strive to emulate them.
- Unequal access to education and training: Women may have less access to education and training opportunities in STEM fields due to economic and social barriers.
Institutions, governments and organizations in general, need to do better to ensure they bridge the gap of inequality in this regard by creating quotas, educational scholarships, training grants and mentorship to women.
- Work-life balance: Women may face challenges in balancing work and family responsibilities, which can make it difficult to pursue demanding careers in the digital economy or STEM fields.
Organizations need to acknowledge women experience these challenges and create policies that help women achieve work-life balance.
- Workplace culture: The culture of many tech companies and STEM organizations can be unwelcoming to women, and women may face discrimination or harassment in the workplace.
Organizations and people need to create and uphold policies that fight this type of barbaric culture.
Addressing these factors and promoting diversity and inclusion in digital technology and the digital economy is essential to ensuring that women have equal access to opportunities and can contribute their skills and perspectives to these important fields.
At Cova, creating equitable opportunities, an inclusive workplace environment and celebrating achievements regardless of gender are some ways we have contributed to this discourse, we still have a long way to go in order to attain our goal of gender equality and inspire women to succeed in a technology-driven world.
Would you lend your voice to equality today?
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