Digital Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality

Hiren Pandit

The world is moving forward in the advancement of technology and digital education. International Women’s Day will explore the impact of the digital gender gap on widening economic and social inequality. These issues also highlight the importance of protecting women’s rights and addressing online and ICT-facilitated gender-based violence.

Bringing women and other marginalized groups into technology leads to more creative solutions and greater potential for innovation that addresses women’s needs and promotes gender equality. By contrast, their lack of inclusion comes at a huge cost: according to the UN Women’s Gender Snapshot 2022 report, the exclusion of women from the digital world has reduced the gross domestic product of low- and middle-income countries by a trillion over the past decade, a loss that could reach 1.5 trillion by 2025. will rise to the dollar. Reversing this trend requires tackling the problem of online violence, which a survey of 51 countries found 38 percent of women experienced personally.

A gender-responsive approach to innovation, technology and digital education can increase women’s awareness of their rights and civic engagement. Advances in digital technologies offer enormous opportunities for addressing development and humanitarian challenges and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda. Unfortunately, the opportunities of the digital revolution also present the risk of perpetuating existing patterns of gender inequality. Growing inequality is increasingly evident in the context of digital skills and access to technology, with women falling behind as a result of this digital gender divide. The need for inclusive and transformative technology and digital education is therefore crucial for a sustainable future. It will bring together technologists, innovators, entrepreneurs and gender equality activists to provide an opportunity to highlight the role of all stakeholders in improving access to digital tools and a high-level panel discussion.

The rate at which women have progressed has not reduced violence against women. Despite progress in various areas, violence against women has not decreased as expected. Rather, this violence is gradually increasing. Even during Corona, violence has increased. In the ongoing blockade and panic situation due to the Corona crisis, where women should get more sympathy, the increase in the rate of violence against them is very worrying. International Women’s Day is celebrated in such a context. The theme of this year’s Women’s Day is – Digital: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality. This day has been celebrated since 1911 to demand the establishment of all rights of women including the cessation of torture and oppression. All are limited to within days. Women’s rights have not been established; torture has not stopped. But some progress has been made. Bangladesh has made much progress economically in recent years. Progress has also been made in various social indicators including education, health and women empowerment. During this time, the status and position of women also changed. Currently, women’s participation is visible in almost all sectors of society. The attendance of girls at the primary level of education is now 100%. A majority of the achievements in the apparel industry are women. But the question arises. In Bangladesh, where women constitute 50 percent of the total population, progress is visible among very few women. Overall development of the country is not possible without the empowerment and development of women. The government has been working tirelessly for the overall development, and economic, social and political empowerment of women in the country. The government is adopting and implementing multi-pronged plans to ensure women’s safety, free entry into the workplace and women’s participation in policy-making, including expansion of women’s education and establishment of women’s rights. Even so, women’s safety at home and outside is taking a dire shape. To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, progress must be made in achieving its goals 5 and 10. The main spirit of the liberation war was to build a society without discrimination. It is also reflected in the constitution of Bangladesh. But in 50 years have we been able to build a society without discrimination.

In the 20th century Rokeya called for creating a society based on gender equality, today Bangladesh is moving forward on the path of creating a society based on gender equality. Standing on the golden jubilee of Bangladesh, it can be said without a doubt that Bangladesh is a role model in the empowerment of women in the world today. Today, Bangladesh leads the world in all the indicators that are used to evaluate women’s empowerment. This has been possible due to the leadership of the greatest Bengali father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his daughter the present Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Bangabandhu was essentially a feminist thinker and statesman. A believer in a non-communal spirit and gender equality, Bangabandhu was a visionary statesman who took the initiative to make Bangladesh a modern nation-state. Various programs have been adopted by Bangabandhu to promote women’s education and socio-economic development of women. Child Marriage Prevention Act-2017 was enacted to eradicate child marriage. Education of girls up to class 12th has been made unpaid, scholarships, stipends, old age allowance, freedom fighter allowance, distribution of free educational materials, and food programs for education have been introduced. Through this, the dropout rate of female students has decreased and the number of female students has increased.

Sheikh Hasina’s government has formulated a women-friendly budget with the aim of building a women-friendly society through women’s development and women’s empowerment. The current government has involved women in all areas, levels and sectors of development by formulating a women-friendly budget. Today there is a proud walk of women in all professional fields including politics, foreign policy, law-making, policy-making, finance, information technology, and sports. The Prime Minister of the country is a woman, the speaker of the national parliament is a woman, and the leader of the opposition is a woman. What can be a greater positive condition for the development of women’s society? Various national and international policies, including the constitution of Bangladesh, have given special importance to women’s political-social empowerment and participation.

Different kinds of discrimination against women, and denial of their rights, but some of these have come from very real and material reasons – women have been subjected to severe oppression for ages. Many women are talented and struggle to establish their position and status in society. Why doesn’t this opportunity come for all women in society? Answers to these questions are difficult to simplify. It can be said that various types of discrimination and attitudes towards women in society work behind this. Society, people’s existing view of women’s progress is like an invisible glass wall.

Women have always been marginalized, more so in some areas. The reason for this is that what is active in our minds is to keep women alive, not to give them rights. In this society, women are victims of mental abuse more than they are physically abused.She has to endure insults step by step. It is a shame that this society still does not respect women as human beings or give equal importance to women’s human rights. However, as a result of the successful implementation of various initiatives of the current government, women’s development is clearly visible today. Through the successful participation of women in business, politics, judiciary, administration, diplomacy, armed forces, law enforcement, and peacekeeping missions, the country is gradually progressing on the path of development.

Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman confirmed the equal rights of women in all spheres of national life in the constitution. Women have contributed to the progress and development of civilization throughout the ages with their talent and labor. And so the attitude towards women is changing all over the world. Now women’s work is being valued, recognition is increasing. Bangladesh is now a role model for gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Awami League government has had many achievements in 14 years. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the government has implemented various initiatives for the development of women and children through the implementation of Vision 2021. The goal is to achieve the SDGs in 2030 and a developed Smart Bangladesh in 2041. For the policies, laws and regulations made for the development of women and children in the last 14 years, the government has made several laws and regulations for the development of women and children in the last 14 years. Notable among them are –the National Women’s Development Policy 2011; National Child Policy 2011; Integrated Policy on Early Childhood Care and Development 2013; Psychosocial Counseling Policy 2016 (Draft); an Action plan for implementation of National Women Development Policy 2013-2015; Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act, 2010; Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) Act, 2014; Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Regulations 2013; Child Marriage Prevention Act, 2017

There are safety VGD programs for distressed women. With the aim of providing maternity allowance to poor mothers, assisting working lactating mothers, and creating self-employment for educated unemployed women, the National Women’s Organization has been training educated unemployed women in computer and information technology in all districts of the country. ‘Jayita’ for the development of women entrepreneurs: An attempt has been made to build a women entrepreneur-friendly separate institution gradually across the country through Jayita with the aim of marketing and marketing the products and services produced by small women entrepreneurs scattered all over the country. Multisectoral Program for Prevention of Violence against Women One-Stop Crisis Center (OCC) has been set up at Medical College Hospital.

Hiren Pandit is a columnist
and researcher.

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