Secretary General’s Statement on International Women’s Day March 8, 2024

Secretary General’s Statement on International Women’s Day March 8, 2024

It is another time that the world celebrates International Women’s Day, today being the 47th year since it was officially recognized by the United Nations. Under the theme “Invest in women: Accelerate Progress,” this year’s International Women’s Day reminds us of the contribution of women in driving transformation and development across the world.

ATU recognizes and celebrates all the women who through toil, determination and resilience continue to make the world a better place. As we appreciate the contribution of women, we register our concern that deep-seated inequalities still exist, keeping women at the periphery of critical world affairs and denying them the opportunity to exploit their full potential and attain quality life outcomes.

Equally concerning is the fact that no country has attained full gender parity and that among the countries that have closed at least 80% of the gender gap, only one—Namibia—is from Africa. It is further disheartening that, according to the Global Gender Gap Report 2023, it will take Sub-Saharan Africa at least a century to close the gender gap if we continue with the current rate of progress. We hold the view that the current rate of progress is unsustainable and that concerted efforts need to be made to accelerate gender parity.

In matters of telecommunications/ICTs, like in other sectors, women are invariably disadvantaged and marginalized. While the world is steadily closing the gender divide with the latest report by ITU indicating that 57% of women are using the internet against 62% of men globally, only 24% of women use the internet against 35% of men in Africa. Additionally, women are at least 8% less likely to own a mobile phone and 20% less likely to own a smartphone.

With most, if not all, of the inequalities in the physical world being replicated in the digital space, we must be deliberate about empowering women to overcome the challenges caused by gender inequality. Governments need to create an enabling environment which supports the expansion of the informal sector which accounts for at least 83% of the continent’s total workforce. A majority of informal sector workers are women who, and because at the most basic level, we have barred them from fully and freely accessing and utilizing digital literacy skills, many remain either unbanked or completely financially excluded.

I encourage us to formulate and implement policies that inspire women’s participation in global telecommunication/ICT matters and empower their deserved promotion to positions of leadership. ATU continues to urge Member States, Associate Members and stakeholders to prioritize giving women an opportunity to participate in all ATU undertakings, ensuring gender equality and representation in ATU’s decision-making.

Cognizant of the disproportionate realities women face; stakeholders must proportionally respond to these challenges. It is upon us to invest in initiatives that eliminate gender barriers, ensuring that women have the requisite digital literacy and skills, and are safe and secure on the internet. This is the best chance through which women can derive the full benefits of ICTs and contribute to enhancing economic development for a more prosperous continent and world.

ATU wishes all women in Africa and across the world a happy International Women’s Day.

WeCreativez WhatsApp Support
Our support team is here to answer your questions. Ask us anything!
???? Hi, how can I help?

Send this to a friend