DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality
| IOP Desk - 09 Mar 2023

By Dr. Himachalam Dasaraju & Laasya Padmaraju

New Delhi, March 9, 2023


International Women's Day is celebrated each year on the 8th of March.
UN's SDG 5 (of 17) aims to “Achieve Gender Equality and Empower all Women and Girls”.


  • Gender inequality persists everywhere.
  • Women continue to be underrepresented at all levels of political leadership
  • Women are still lagging in social and financial status.
  • Gender Gap and Digital Divide are the cause of concern even today.


Gender equality is a fundamental human right and it’s a basic thing which leads to a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. Goal No. 5 of 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) of the UN is to “Achieve Gender Equality and Empower all Women and Girls”. These SDGs are targeted to achieve 2030 for the well-being of people across the world. Gender equality and women’s empowerment are crucial for all developed and developing economies as women constitute around 50 per cent of the global population, and contribute significantly to economic development. In reality, the situation is different and women, are deprived of more opportunities than men across the world. Gender inequality persists everywhere and women continue to be underrepresented at all levels of political leadership, lagging in social and financial status.

Shri. Swami Vivekananda has rightly emphasized that “There is no chance for the welfare of the world unless the condition of women is empowered; a bird can't fly on only one wing”. Therefore, they empower women by way of bringing them into the mainstream of the economy is a dire need of the day. Empowerment of women touches on the enhancement of the scope of choice of action, and freedom to act in all areas of operation, the mostly socioeconomic, political, and financial ambit of women. It enhances the scope of women’s life to control resources and the decision-making process in any country. Women are mostly deprived of their basic freedom, due to gender inequality in society and households too. Women need basic education, knowledge, skills, and self-confidence in the latest technology to actively participate in the economic development process of any country.


International Women’s Day (8th March 2023)

To review the socio-economic, political, cultural and environmental accomplishments of women and their status in society, the UN is organizing International women’s day on the 8th of March every year across the world. It’s steered to call for a gender equality and sustainable world and aims to focus on the women’s rights movement, throwing light on gender equality, violence and abuse of women across the world. Apart from various movements of women from countries in different forms for their rights and recognition for long, the UN 1975 started celebrating International Women’s Day and in 1977 UN declared officially the 8th of March every year across the world as UN Day for Women’s Rights and World Peace. 

UNESCO states that “International women’s day is an occasion to celebrate the progress made in achieving gender equality and empowerment of women but also to critically reflect on those achievements and strive for a greater momentum towards gender equality worldwide. It’s a day to review and recognize the special acts of women and stand together as a united force to strengthen gender equality around the world”.


The theme of the Day: “DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality”

The United Nations (UN) has decided to have the theme “DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality” for this year’s International Women’s Day (8th March 2023) with a special emphasis to involve women in technology in all spheres of economic activity. The theme focuses on the need for innovation and technology for promoting gender equality and strengthening women’s rights and welfare. With the advent of the technological revolution, a lot of changes has been taken place in all segments of the economy at a rapid pace.  Nowadays, digital technology has become an integral part of human lives across the world, particularly in banking technology, telecommunication, education, e-commerce, entertainment and so on. Digital technology has become a powerful tool for progressing gender equality and women have more access to technology-based networks and resources which are non-access to women. The digital technological transformation enabled women to break down the barriers hitherto. It paves the way to get more access to the latest technology, resources and opportunities to tap, start businesses, startups, and opportunity to compete and participate in global markets. The digital revolution has made women more active participants than ever before and placed the issue of gender inequality at the core of the global platform for bringing effective policy measures to strengthen gender equality by 2030 as targeted by the UN.

Gender Equality Status and Women’s Empowerment

Gender equality is one of the eight-millennium goals and 17 SDGs as well set for the well-being of the people. Gender equality and empowerment of women are the key elements to achieving progress in all areas of the economy across the world. It is in the context of women’s development is a way of creating opportunities and facing challenges in a woman’s life for enhancing her ability to make her life successful. It is a multidimensional process that enables women to realize their full energy, social recognition, and economic stability in life.


Global Gender Gap Index (GGG Index) 2022

The World Economic Forum (WEF) reported in its Global Gender Gap Index Report, measuring the extent of gender-based gaps among 4 key dimensions – 1. Economic Participation and Opportunity, 2. Educational Attainment, 3. Health and Survival, 4. Political Empowerment.


The ten countries with the smallest gender gaps are (July 2022) as:
1. Iceland (0.91), 2. Finland (0.86), 3. Norway (0.85), 4. New Zealand (0.84), 5. Sweden (0.82), 5. Namibia (0.81, 6. Rwanda (0.81), 7. Nicaragua (0.81), 8. Lithuania (0.80), 9. Ireland (0.80), 10. Germany (0.80).


Iceland has retained its position as the most gender-equal country in the world. Afghanistan is the worst-performing country as reported by WEF. The overall GGG Index is around 68.1% and at this rate of progress, at least 132 years will take to reach full parity.

It is observed from the Global Gender Gap Index 2022 of WEF, that India got the 135th global rank out of 146 countries (140th rank out of 156 countries in 2021), and 62.9 per cent of the gender gap in the gender parity in South Asia. India has slipped 28 places to rank 135 among 146 countries in the GGG Index Report 2022, by World Economic Forum. In 2020, India ranked 112th among 153 countries. Iceland has topped the index as the most gender-equal country in the world for the 12th time.

The recent statistics of the UN, report that 53% of work in developing countries is carried out by women and out of $ 16 trillion global output which is invisible, $ 11 trillion is contributed by women.  Even after considerable contributions, there is a lack of acknowledgement regarding the role of women in every sphere of life in all economies (UN, 2021). The major problems the women confront are non-recognition and huge disparity in the distribution of wealth and income. Women are contributing significantly to society and the economy in the area of agriculture and food production in developing countries. This is in addition to their domestic work which is not even measured in economic terms across the world. Therefore, it is desirable to impart knowledge of the latest innovations and digital technology which provide ample scope for employment and economic activity, which narrows down the gender equality gap.


What is needed?

There is an urgent need to narrow down the gender gap and the digital divide to promote the participation of women in science and technology. Exclusion of women from digital technology has been an estimated loss of $1 trillion from the GDP of low and middle income countries during the previous decade and the loss that could grow to $ 1.5 trillion by the end of 2025. More investment in women and access to digital technology uplifts all communities, people and countries across the world. It is a dire need to work together across governments to build a more inclusive and sustainable world for women, girls and men as well all over the world.

It is a great need to develop a toolkit to support innovators, designers and implementers of digital products and services, to benefit girls and young women equally and help close the gender digital divide. It is essential to educate and train women and girls students in the latest innovations and digital technology so that women get more opportunities to get good employment and to become small and micro-entrepreneurs. Perfect knowledge of the latest technology facilitates women to access Gig employment, which is a vital area in the employment landscape globally. Women should be educated on digital finance and knowledge of digital literacy is imperative. 



Innovation and technology are playing a vital role in gender equality and women's empowerment to achieve sustainable economic development across the world. Narrowing the gender equality gap is a major task globally and it is one of the 17 SD goals set for the well-being of the people.  It is a prioritized task to enhance the status of women in developing economies like India, as women are deprived of many socio-economic benefits and are backward in many ways. The success in this endeavour ultimately depends upon the commitment, willpower, and spirit of the government agencies and among women as well. Women's empowerment would be possible only through meticulous and serious efforts to reduce the gap in the gender equality index and bring them into the mainstream of economic activity. Further, it is essential to educate and train women on more innovations and digital technology, for getting good employment opportunities and nurturing and promotion of women's entrepreneurship as well. A multi-pronged strategy is required to achieve gender equality and women empowerment as part of UN SDGs targeted to achieve by 2030.


Images Courtesy: ; 2. World Economic Forum, Global Top 10 Countries, Global Gender Gap Index 2022; World Economic Forum, Global Gender Gap Index 2022; 3. Pics of Authors: Ms. Laasya Padmaraju & Dr. Himachalam Dasaraju


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