IWD 2023 and The Marginalization of Women from The Digital Economy
The 2023 International Women’s Day, with the theme “DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender equality,” was observed with pomp and pageantry around the world, with women advocating for the respect of their human rights, respect for their bodies, and the need for unrestricted access to digital platforms to amplify their voice and agency, which regrettably have left women out of the digital spaces due to factors like poverty and poor social status. In order to support women’s skills, particularly in the area of economic empowerment, digital inclusion is essential. The Central Bank of Nigeria’s cashless policy, which has restricted women-owned small companies’ access to cash because they lack bank accounts and cannot accept bank transfers, is an example of how the digital exclusion of women has stifled and limited their capacities. Additionally, in many local markets where the traders are female farmers, they are unable to sell their produce for the same reason, which results in losses and, in extreme cases, the closure of their businesses, exacerbating as well as causing product destruction, exacerbating their vulnerabilities to Sexual and Gender Based Violence and impeding their ability to support themselves financially. Unrestricted access to digital platforms helps advance Gender Equality and women’s active engagement in all aspects of society particularly political participation which has continued to dwindle in every election year.
In order to accelerate economic development and ensure the rapid achievement of the African Union Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, the government at all levels must recognize the need for digital technology and put in place mechanisms that ensure its accessibility and affordability.