By Tobias Lengnan Dapam

As the global community commemorates International Women’s Day on March 8, Save the Children International (SCI) Nigeria has called on all stakeholders to draw attention and interest towards the celebration of women across all spheres of life, especially the girl-child who have surmounted hurdles and societal stereotypes to reach their full potential.

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) is, “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”.

Save the Children in a statement issued on Wednesday said the theme is peculiar to the wave of women in technology as seen in the digital space today.

According to the UN Women, 22 per cent of women are workers in the artificial intelligence world globally. “This posits a huge gap between genders and affects gender equality in terms of access to digital technology.”

Save the Children International strongly supports the need for equity for men and women, boys and girls in schools, homes, offices, businesses, innovations and political space.

It said the opportunities available for women, particularly the girl child must be backed up with policies, strategies and structures that will ensure she excels.

Khadija Bappa Badamasi, SCI Nigeria Girl Champion from Yobe State said, “I want to live in a world where education is an instrument that is capable of correcting inequality in any society. I want to live in a world where early and forced marriage is eradicated. I want to live in a world where there is no discrimination against women and children. I want to live in a world where no child is left behind. Hence, I would like to call upon policy makers to enhance efforts to ensure that gender equality is a reality on the digital space as well.”

Etukudo, Utibe-Abasi Dominic, Girl Champion from Cross River State said, “A girl has the same rights as a boy, including for information technology, education, social treatment, and basic necessities. We will continue to advocate for our rights as human beings, not as girls! We deserve to live to our full potential and have fair and equal treatments and opportunities in life and we will make sure of this through orientation and reorientation with the safe access and proper use of information and communication technologies.”

Ramatu Umar-Bako, Senior Gender Equality, and Inclusion Adviser at Save the Children International Nigeria said, “we can only make progress in the conversation about equality when we embrace equitable concepts, take concrete steps to address diversity and ensure inclusive policies.”

Save the Children International (SCI) Nigeria called upon the government and all stakeholders to advance opportunities and ensure the needed resources to attain women’s access and safety on the digital platforms. “With this, girls will not only have equality but also enjoy equity to be outstanding. All hands must be on deck to champion innovations and excellence through digitalized education. This means advanced software for curriculums, digitalized classrooms, training and workshops, and transformative and accessible networks that compete with world standards. Women need more freedom of expression digitally without fear of trolls, cyber violence, abuse or bullying, the women should be empowered to exercise their skills in technology and digitalization with well-thought-out policies and laws that favor them, void of discrimination, biases and gender stereotype.”

Amanuel Mamo, Director of Advocacy, Campaigns, Communications and Media, Save the Children International Nigeria said “for us at Save the Children, equality means ensuring that all human beings – women, men, girls, and boys – are considered equal and are treated equally. We shall continue to pursue our dream of a world where all girls and boys are equally heard and valued. Women and girls must be able to engage, create, learn and work, safely and productively either online or offline, making the most of all the opportunities in every sphere of life and at every stage of it, in education, in the economy, in society and in politics.”

Therefore, SCI called upon governments, donors, partners, the international community, and key stakeholders to support the efforts of turning digital platforms to safe and accessible space for women, girls, and translate commitments into reality in prioritizing the empowerment of women and girls, including on the online platforms.

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