The month of March, which in the context of its historical significance to St Vincent and the Grenadines ranks alongside August and October, begins tomorrow, March 1. In its designation as National Heroes Month, March occupies a special place, but March also has a broader international significance for us.
For more than a century now, activities have been held all over the world in observation of what is now celebrated globally as International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8. It is a day of tremendous social, economic and political significance since it focuses on the lives of half of the world’s peoples, women, and their struggles for gender equity in a still lop-sided world.
Given their role as mothers and lynchpins in the family structure, the focus on women is clearly most relevant and each year themes are developed by the United Nations to highlight particular areas of emphasis on the continuing uphill battle for equity.
Significantly, in recognition of the critical role of technology in the modern world, the theme chosen for 2023 is “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”.
It is a most appropriate choice since it places emphasis on the important role women must play in modern technological development. Historically, although women have continued to demonstrate that they are equally equipped to pursue technological development, their role has always been relegated by the bias of HIS-tory. This is changing, though not fast enough (especially in developing countries), and today more and more, women are coming to the fore in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) areas which would have been considered taboo, including such areas as computer programming, space exploration and physics.
Facing historical discrimination, we must not shy away from what is universally recognized as the need to redress centuries of neglect of the equal role which women should play.
Importantly, while undertaking bold initiatives in this regard, we must not wait until women reach community college or university, the outreach must target our females right from the beginning, challenging the traditional roles which had been mapped out for them.
This is critical not only to realizing the goal of gender equality but in releasing so much potential trapped under centuries of bias and discrimination. It also enables the flowering of our talents and abilities from which the entire society and our national development thrust can only benefit.
Yes, we must continue to fight against the repressive and regressive actions against women, violence, sex trafficking and the like but we must also place equal emphasis with equipping our women for the world of technology
and embrace and utilize to the fullest every opportunity for technological development.