International Women’s Day Statement

Students And Youth Working on reproductive Health Action Team (SAYWHAT) joins the rest of the globe in commemorating the International Women’s Day celebrated under the theme: “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality.”


This theme aligns with the upcoming 67th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW-67) scheduled from the 6th of March 2023 to the 27th of March 2023 in the United States of America (USA) running under theme: “Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.”


It is crystal clear from all the themes highlighted above that for women and girls, technology is an important tool in achieving equality and enabling them to lead productive lives. From computers being used as a way of redefining education and life opportunities for women, to using technology to fight discrimination, technology provides women and girls the opportunity to break down barriers and change lives.


Technology can help us achieve gender equality by providing access to education, healthcare and information. The advent of Covid-19 is a testimony to the wonders of technology in both education and health information generation and dissemination. As SAYWHAT, we are happy that we responded to Covid-19 swiftly by constructing a studio that stands as a health information generation powerhouse. This is a home and a conducive space for girls and young women to explore their technological areas of interests particularly film related productions.


Technology makes it easier for women and girls to access contraceptives, manage their reproductive health, and protect themselves from both in person and online violence. In addition to these benefits, there are also economic benefits that come with gender equality. The United Nations reports that closing gender gaps could boost global GDP by 2% for developing countries alone.  Technology allows women and girls to earn an income online and use their skills more efficiently. Running self-sustainable online based start-ups empowers women and girls to make them retain power during sexual intimate times.


Gender equality is not a pipe dream. It is possible, but not without the concerted efforts of governments and people everywhere to create an equal playing field for women and girls. In particular, we must ensure that girls have access to the skills and resources they need to take advantage of technology – whether it’s learning how to code or building a mobile app – in order to build better futures for themselves.


While the government of Zimbabwe is applauded for establishing about 200 Community Information Centers around the country as one of the ways to enable rural women and girls to access the internet, efforts must be made to ensure that women and girls benefit the most from such tech related initiatives.


Community Information Centers should be accessible to all women and girls and those manning these spaces must be trained to assist women and girls on how to use Information Communication Technologies (ICTs).  It is important for women and girls to gain technological knowledge through the understanding of how ICTs work.  


In light of the above, we make the following appeal to the government of Zimbabwe and civil society organisations:  

  • The government of Zimbabwe should improve technological infrastructure for women and girls in the countryside for them to enjoy the benefits of technology. Women and girls in rural and farming communities remain excluded from tech related opportunities because they do not have access to the internet which is the bedrock of technology.
  • Zimbabwe’s education system must support and promote women and girls to take up science related programs at universities and colleges. Women and girls have the same capacity as men and boys to take up science programs such as engineering and can excel in the industry.
  • Mobile network service providers should come up with alternative and affordable data for connectivity to allow the marginalized communities to tap into technology as it is key to achieve gender equality in Zimbabwe.
  •  Law enforcement agents should pursue in accordance with the law perpetrators of online violence directed at women and girls to curb misogynistic attitudes against women and girls. Women and girls have been victims of online violence including stalking, revenge pornography and body shaming. Online violence and abuse may limit the rights of women and girls to fully express themselves without fear.
  • Civil society organisations should introduce deliberate programs to train women and girls about digital securities so that they are empowered and protected from hacking and stalking. Trainings should also equip women and girls in marginalized communities with skills to run tech related self-sustainable projects.  


Technology is one of the most powerful tools in the 21st century that can potentially serve as a catalyst for promoting and achieving gender equality in our communities.

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