INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY, IWD, 2023. “DigitAll: Innovation and technology for gender equality.”

In the Spirit of celebrating women, one of our Community Based Inclusive Development, CBID personnel, also a person living with a disability, Precious Henry, has shared her concerns on what an inclusive and equitable world should be.

“Every year on 8th March, UN Women and the United Nations celebrate International Women’s Day. It’s a global event that gives a spotlight on Women and the significant roles they play on the world stage. This year’s theme, “DigitAll: Innovation and technology for gender equality” was carefully chosen to reflect the way the world has moved towards digital innovation backed by technology for an inclusive and better society for all.

As I represent millions of women with disability in Africa, it’s therefore very pertinent to look at how women with disability are included in the digital innovation and technological trend in Africa.” For Precious, the 2023 International Women’s Day provides an interesting opportunity to consider the level of inclusion, social justice, and equity for women with disability in Africa. She finds it empirical to define some concepts, for a clearer understanding of the gaps, and a way forward for the inclusion of women with disability in Africa into digital innovation and technology; and in line with the universal principle of “Leave No One Behind.”

Some of the concepts according to Precious include: 

“1. Social justice: it is justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society. Let’s take the continent Africa here as the society.

  1. Equity: the quality of being fair and impartial. Women with disability in Africa are most likely to suffer discrimination and neglect due to some factors but due to lack of time and space, I won’t be making the list. Also, the challenges faced by African women hinged on the absence of social justice and equity in the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges, as well as fairness and impartiality. More than 80 million Africans are disabled, according to the United Nations, estimated about 40-45% are women and such a huge number can’t be ignored and left behind. This year’s theme comes in handy as it helps to focus on those factors that constitute barriers for women with disabilities in Africa and the focal need to address them.”

“Women with disabilities in Africa when properly and judiciously included in all the development agendas such as New Partnership for African Development NEPAD, and UN-SDGs 20230 among others will no doubt contribute meaningfully to bringing change to their communities, and Africa. There are several women with Disabilities in Africa with special and unique gifts, doing great things in different fields of human endeavors, waiting for any opportunity to be called upon to contribute to national development, but sadly they never get the opportunity. Millions of these women with disabilities only needed a little push in the form of an incentive to live out their dreams of playing a part in the development of their society.”

She calls out a clarion call for the different governments in Africa to think inclusion, act inclusion, and make inclusion work for women with disabilities. She believes that African countries can maximize their potential when all section of their population is not left behind.  She adds an Igbo adage that says, “Nwanyi Buife,” when translated to English means women are assets.

She concludes with this: ” I, therefore, join other women in leadership to call for action towards inclusive policy-making, the involvement of women with disabilities in decision-making, and the creation of an enabling environment for more women with disabilities to participate in the government at all levels, as well as in both public and private sectors. I make bold to say today as we celebrate International Women’s Day 2023 that, “Women with disabilities” contributions to African development matter and should be made a priority by the governments of Africa.”

#IWD #Inclusion #SocialJustice #Equity