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How Do We Truly #EmbraceEquity To Create A #DigitALL Society On Behalf of African Women?

On 8 March 2023, we celebrated International Women’s Day. As a Black woman at the head of a youth-focused and led organisation that often works with young African women, I could not help but wonder: how do we #EmbraceEquity and #DigitALL in a society that defines Africa, more so African women as the underdog?

I believe to truly do so, we must not take the plight of young women – in the world and specifically on the African continent – for granted. We need to dismantle the popular notion that struggle and lack are the birthright of young women. Access and protection need to be the new narrative we adopt for this demographic in order for the equity conversation to be earnest.

The gap in education and skills development affects young women in our society who are not afforded the opportunity to complete their basic education, which affects their ability to access resources that can improve their livelihood. Some of the major challenges hindering women's advancement are access to education and skills development, the lack of gender equality, increasing rates of gender-based violence, agriculture, and the effects of climate change.

Africa’s emerging youth boom presents a critical opportunity to close the gender inequality gap with younger generations of African women through easily accessible education and skills development transfer. Even though the Africa Matters Initiative is actively engaging in such work, there is still a mountain ahead of us when it comes to closing that gap.

For instance, the United Nations states it will take over 300 years to achieve gender equality. 300 years. In a society accelerating towards complete digitization, where does the notion of building a #DigitALL society play a part in bringing that number down? What role does equity play when it comes to women on the continent of Africa who gets to decide our trajectory? Are our campaigns for equality ensuring that these women are given the tools and resources of self-actualization outside of those who seek to “save” young African women when they are wholly capable of saving themselves?

These questions don’t yield immediate answers, but they do make one thing clear: we need to re-examine the concept of equity as a part of a much wider social justice goal that cannot be achieved without first addressing foundational structural inequities in African societies. True inclusion and belonging require equitable action. If we truly believe in, value, and embrace equity, then women are more likely to have access to what's required to succeed.

As we promote access to digital inclusion for women and girls, we need to consider bringing awareness of some of the benefits and challenges relating to Technology. We capture this through season 2 of the Africa Matters Podcast #AMP via our 'What in the Technology! season, which builds young people's knowledge of different topics surrounding technology, digital activism, as well as online safety and privacy.

I hope you all had a fruitful International Women’s History Month! That being said, the work continues.

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