International Women’s Day

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There is no such difference between women and men that women may not do great things.

Mary Ward

For followers of Mary Ward, International Women’s Day is a day we celebrate with great joy.

Each year on March 8th, we recognize and honour women who have done great things in our world, and take time to reflect on our individual and collective contributions to gender equality as women who live the gospel message.

At the United Nations, the theme for this year’s celebration of International Women’s Day is “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”. At today’s commemorative event, Doreen Bogdan-Martin, the very first Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union, stressed the need for women and girls to become active participants and contributors to tech innovation through education, leadership, and participation in decision-making processes. UN Under-Secretary-General and UN Women Executive Director, Sima Bahous, repeatedly emphasized that digital technology is an important enabler in society but what it enables is up to us. We must determine what the future of digital technology looks like.

Janet Palafox and Sarah Rudolph at the “Chalk Back” event at the UN Headquarters

Today, on International Women’s Day, and throughout the 67th UN Commission on the Status of Women, Mary Ward women are advocating for equitable access to digital technology for women and girls. As members of the Working Group on Girls, we strive especially to make the voices of girls heard. The girls we have consulted have asked us to advocate for the following:

  • Include girls in discussions on technology, innovation, and education in the digital age.
  • Provide equitable infrastructure, access, and/or devices that are available and affordable for girls.
  • Provide girls with access to schools with the necessary infrastructure for quality public education programs that promote digital and media literacy for girls. Digital education is a fundamental right.
  • Ensure the protection of the mental health of all girls, in an impartial and non-discriminatory manner, recognizing that media and digital content often contains harmful images of girls that can negatively impact their mental health and well-being, violating their rights.
  • Enact effective legislation that addresses the problems of technology-facilitated gender-based violence.

How can you help achieve gender equality for women and girls in your province or region through digital technology?