International women’s day is a day set aside by United Nations since the year 1975 to celebrate courage and determination of ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in social, economic and political achievements in history. This day is marked to push for women’s rights, gender equality and to reflect on the progress made over the years in regards to women empowerment.
The world has witnessed a significant shift and change in attitudes in the thinking of women and society about women’s equality and emancipation. Many of the younger generation may feel that all battles have been won for women, while many feminists of the 1970s know all too well the longevity and entrenched complexity of patriarchy. With more women on the board, greater equality in legislative rights, and an increased critical mass of women’s visibility as powerful role models in every aspect of life, one might think that women have gained true equality. The sad fact is that women are still not paid the same as their male counterparts, women are still not represented in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally, women’s education, health and violence against them are worse than men. However, there have been major improvements, including the creation of several safe spaces for women and girls to live free from gender-based violence, increased women’s access to credit tools and market opportunities, and increased women’s participation in decision-making and politics, enhanced women’s participation in peace building, conflict prevention and mitigating and reducing gender gaps in education, training and employment.
The gender gap found in the context of technology is particularly stubborn and wide. Technology has always presented a challenging paradox, on the one hand, it has been key to achieving progress in health, education, agriculture and welfare, and yet it has been fundamentally imbued with patriarchal power, especially when it comes to how masculinity itself is defined by how male have control over technology. Technology has revolutionized many aspects of our lives and has become an integral part of our daily lives. It has helped to offer modern solutions to most of the challenges facing humanity today. Unfortunately, some of these inventions fell into two categories; Used by women eg dishwasher, oven, vacuum cleaner and food processor or used by men eg power tools such as drills, tractors, guns and other construction tools. This grouping is being done by a chauvinistic society that has the misconception that women are week and incapable of handling heavy power tools.
Through capitalism, the female figure has been manipulated on Facebook Marketplace and Instagram ads to sell alcohol. Online alcohol advertisements are printed and published as outdoor marketing materials; displayed on billboards in the streets with beautiful female images that attract more customers, mostly men and youth. In addition, there is a growing audience of women’s music full of “drunken lyrics” that the target audience listens to, likes, downloads and shares widely to increase alcohol sales. Although the role of women in organizations and the larger economy is increasingly discussed, the content of the conversation has been more about how women can learn to function within the existing system than how to overcome structural barriers. The persistent gender gap in digital access today prevents women from unlocking the full potential of technology. Their under representation in STEM education and careers remains a major barrier to their participation in engineering design and management and the ever-present threat of online gender-based violence, coupled with a lack of legal recourse, too often forces them to leave the digital spaces they inhabit.
“My own definition of feminist is a man or a woman who says, “Yes, there is a problem with gender as it is today and we must fix it,”Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Women should break the patriarchy where they are convinced that they are less and empower each other to becoming visionary women who can make innovative impact in the world of technology. Having more women take part in the digital space will help offer additional employment, create income, add knowledge and will eventually lead to countries economic nourishment.
Women-to-women empowerment should be encouraged as it carries with it a responsibility to curtail negativity so as to effect change among women who are confident to start believing in their own power and feel more equipped to take on new technological opportunities.