Despite decades of progress, women around the world still face significant barriers to equality in areas like employment, leadership, healthcare, education, and personal safety. Creating a society that is truly inclusive for women requires addressing these systemic challenges on multiple fronts. In line with the 2024 International Women’s Day theme of “Invest in women: Accelerate progress”, ensuring women’s full participation in the digital revolution is key to driving wider inclusivity.

1. Economic Empowerment

Ensuring equal opportunities and fair treatment for women in the workforce is crucial, including in high-growth tech fields. This means closing gender pay gaps, increasing female representation across STEM industries and leadership roles, providing affordable childcare, and implementing family-friendly policies. Entrepreneurship programs teaching digital skills and access to financial resources can help women launch tech startups.

2. Safety and Digital Security

Societies must prioritize protecting women from online gender-based violence, harassment, and privacy/security risks, in addition to physical safety issues. This requires appropriate laws, training law enforcement and tech companies, support services, and shifting cultural attitudes. Public digital spaces should be designed inclusively with women’s safety needs in mind.

3. Civic Tech Participation 

More women need opportunities to help shape digital policies, innovations, and civic tech solutions impacting their lives. Measures like training and support for female technologists, activists, and public leaders are important. Women should be represented in developing AI algorithms, online governance models, and digital rights frameworks.

3. STEM Education Access 

Providing quality STEM (science, tech, engineering, math) education for girls, from early learning through higher ed levels, is critical for realizing women’s full potential in an increasingly digital world. Affordable access to devices, the internet, coding camps, and mentors can open these paths.

4. Digital Healthcare Solutions

Technology can expand women’s access to reproductive health care, maternal wellness apps, online support groups for gender-specific conditions, and virtual counselling for gender-based violence. But digital health solutions must be designed to meet women’s unique needs and reach underserved populations. 

4. Online Representation and Inclusion

Making society more inclusive requires amplifying women’s voices across digital media, influencer culture, gaming, virtual worlds, and online communities. This diversifies narratives and role models. Tech companies should cultivate inclusive product design, workforces, and leadership pipelines with more women.

Achieving true inclusion for women requires commitment across sectors to tear down systemic barriers – including the digital divide gatekeeping women from accessing innovation’s benefits. An inclusive society where women can fully participate in the digital revolution allows us all to benefit from their ideas, contributions, and leadership.

Credit: Victoria Essien

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