HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2023
International Women's Day 2023 marks a time to appreciate women and recognize their efforts in driving digital transformation in various sectors of Uganda's economy. Women's participation in the digital economy has been steadily increasing, and they are playing an essential role in shaping the technology landscape in the country.
The theme for this year's International Women's Day, "DIGIT-ALL: Innovation and Technology for gender equality," highlights the role of technology in promoting gender equality and women's empowerment. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digital transformation, making it more important than ever to address the digital gender divide and ensure that women can fully participate in the digital economy.
Women in Uganda have been leading the charge in driving digital transformation in the country. They are leveraging technology to break down traditional barriers and create new opportunities for themselves and their communities in the sectors of education, health and business.
To celebrate a woman is to acknowledge and recognize the efforts of the women who have impacted the lives of women and the nation. This year’s theme brings to light Ms. Barbara Birungi Mutabazi, a renowned figure in the Ugandan tech industry and is widely recognized for her contributions to promoting the role of women in technology. She is the co-founder of HIVE COLAB and Women in Technology Uganda (WITU), non-profit organizations. WITU empowers and supports women in technology-related fields and HIVE COLAB empowers all citizens in tech related businesses, entrepreneurships and startups. The Hub is a co-working space and offers mentorship, and training to startups and entrepreneurs. She has a passion for technology having completed her undergraduate degree in Computer Science at Makerere University, master's degree in information technology from the Carnegie Mellon University in the United States. She then returned to Uganda, where to this day is involved in promoting technology and innovation in the country. She has made significant strides in promoting gender equality in the tech industry. With over 4,000 women and girls in coding, digital skills, and entrepreneurship. She has been involved in the creation of several mobile applications aimed at addressing social issues, such as maternal health and education. She has been recognized with several awards, including the African Digital Woman of the Year Award in 2016, and the Social Impact Award at the Women in Africa 2020 Summit.
Despite these advancements, women still face significant challenges in the digital economy. The digital gender divide remains a significant barrier to women's full participation in the digital economy. Women are less likely than men to have access to digital devices and internet connectivity, limiting their ability to participate in the digital economy. This inequality is even more pronounced in rural areas, where access to digital infrastructure is limited.
Governments can play a crucial role in promoting digital inclusion and addressing the digital gender divide. They can invest in digital infrastructure and provide targeted support to women entrepreneurs and startups. They can also implement policies that promote gender equality in the digital economy and protect women from gender-based discrimination and harassment.
The private sector can also play a vital role in promoting gender equality in the digital economy. Companies can implement gender-sensitive policies and practices that promote women's participation in the digital economy. They can also provide training and mentorship programs that help women develop the skills needed to succeed in the digital economy.
In conclusion, International Women's Day 2023 is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women in driving digital transformation in Uganda's economy. However, to fully realize the potential of the digital economy, we must address the digital gender divide and promote gender equality in the digital economy. This requires a concerted effort from all stakeholders, including governments, civil society organizations, and the private sector. The United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a framework for global development efforts, and gender equality is a key component of the SDGs. In particular, SDG 5 aims to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Technology and innovation can contribute to achieving this goal in several ways. By working together, we can create a more inclusive and equitable digital economy that benefits everyone.