The Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen has stated the need for women to gain more access to opportunities in digital technology and economy as the low and middle income countries have lost about 1trillion dollars from women exclusion.
Tallen who made the call on Tuesday at the 67th session of the United Nation Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) pre-departure meeting in Abuja, noted that gender bias against women, especially women in technology should be curbed, just as a lose of about 1.3trillion dollars is projected in 2025 if nothing is done.
She reiterated that women need access to more opportunities in technology especially those in underserved areas.Adding, digital revolution has created another form of gender bias.
Tallen said, “women exclusion from digital economy have shelved 1trillion dollar from the gross domestic product of low and middle income countries in the last decade. A loss that will grow into 1.3trillion dollar by 2025 if no action is taken,reversing this trend according to report will mean tackling of online violence which 38% of women are personally experiencing.
“The main theme of this year’s CSW Session, ‘Innovation, technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls with review theme “Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls” is expected to highlight the need for inclusive and transformative technology and digital education among women and girls in all member states.
“To achieve the 2030 agenda Sustainable Development Goals(SDG), unfortunately the opportunity of the digital revolution also present a risk or perpetuating existing patterns of gender inequalities which is
increasingly evident in the context of digital skills and access to technology with women been left behind as a result of digital divide.
“The need for transformative technology is therefore crucial for a sustainable future,as gender approach innovation to technology and increased awareness of women and girls regarding their rights, civic engagement and advancement in digital technology offers great opportunity to address developmental challenges.”
However, the minister noted that Nigerian government have made concerted efforts to increase the development of women and girls in technology, although despite these many achievements women and girls are under represented in science, technology engineering and mathematics(STEM).
“Globally there are minority of students in STEM education as in 35percent only 3percent of women and girls are studying information and communication technology, this directly reflects the discrimination faced around the world. As a country Nigeria is not doing badly in STEM education for women and girls but could do better.
“We need to pay close attention to gender differentiated risk that women and girls are exposed to over their life circle. Policies along the areas should be created to promote equal access for decent work for women. It is not surprising that this year’s CSW is focusing on these areas.
“It has been widely acknowledged that no tool is more important in development like women empowerment and gender equality approach as when women participate in decision making processes and sits on an equal basis’s with men, growth and development is accelerated, death and poverty eradicated, what women do not nurture cannot be sustained.
“It is good for us to understand the concept of innovation and technology promoting the input of women especially those in the grassroot through advancement, adaptation and successful technology.Strengthen data disaggregated system, create environment conducive to women empowerment and advanced legal reforms including collaboration and partnership.
“CSW Nigeria reaffirmed her commitment of the Beijing declaration and platform for action, this year is a very critical one for all who believe in women empowerment and strategic inclusion, innovation, technological change and education in the digital age is central to the realization of the goal of the SDG2023.”
Director women development department
FMWA, Funke Oladipo on her part stated that as a UN member state, Nigeria has represent the interest of Women, noting,in this digital age UN secretariat believe that women globally should not be left behind.
“A look at the segregated data for those who are utilizing the digital technology to improve their status or empower themselves, we find out that the men are in the lead.
“So this meeting is very important to see how women too can come on board to use digital technology to promote their trade , reproductive health right and then agitating for the need to have more women and girls in science technology and education.
“Women in Africa remain the poor, dispossessed, landless, unemployed, worker in the informal sector as expressed in the African women gender empowerment of 2018 to 2028. The need to track the SDG that is related to innovation and access to the economy particularly SDG 1and 8 which focuses on where women have access to skills in creating technology to increase their income level from poverty.”