A couple of weeks ago I joined activists from different countries of the world gathered at in New York for the 55th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women; a global policy-making body, dedicated exclusively to gender equality and the advancement of women. Yearly,representatives of Member States gather at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to evaluate progress on gender equality, identify challenges, set global standards and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and advancement of women worldwide. This year’s Commission on the Status of Women prioritized access and participation of women and girls in education, training, science and technology, including for the promotion of women’s equal access to full employment and decent work as it’s working themes.
The compelling themes for my CSW attendance was the Employment and Technology themes, as expected of every of conference they were lots of sessions demanding attendance but one most captivating session was the Youth Perspective on Development: Gender Equality and New Technologies.
Panelists at the session were young people, Musa Anusmana Soko- Sierra Leone, Ivete Mafundza – Mozambique, Cecilia Rocha Carpiuc – from Uruguay, and Olga Tzec – from Belize including Ambassador Daintowon Pay-Bayee of the Moremi Initiative from Liberia. Discussions were centred on the role on new technologies in the protection of women and advancement of their empowerment. Of a resounding mention was the power of the social media and its role in driving change in Egypt and other countries in the Arab world. Correspondingly safety issues were raised over the vulnerability of girls to stalkers and rapists who now pick on their victims online; recommendation were made for the education of girls online. Young people also called on governments especially in Africa to create the enabling environment through supporting infrastructure to enable young people utilize effectively the ICTs for job creation.
Views of young activists at the Technology town hall ;
“Technology is good but it is a tool and we shouldn’t over rely on it, because they are a huge number of people that remain unreachable “- Mawuli Dake, Ghana
“Traffickers are now utilizing Social media to traffic girls and women for prostitution and other purposes”- Cecilia Rocha, Uruguay
“Technology is a double-edged sword. Empowerment needs to include information on cyber self-defense, not just tools alone” – Moderator
“We need to begin to engage effectively our political leaderships, to deliver for us, as NGOS and Individuals we cannot provide electricity nor install optic fibre cables- Esther Eshiet, Nigeria