International Women’s Day is a global day that celebrates the accomplishments of women while reminding us of the ongoing struggle for equality. Significant activity is witnessed worldwide as groups, individuals, companies and organizations come together to celebrate women’s achievements or rally for women’s equality.
Digital tools, such as social media, have enabled women to express themselves and push back against gender standards, resulting in conversations that were not possible in the past. In Nigeria, the news media have propelled the feminist movement as celebrities have made use of their fame and following to challenge gender bias and support women in various communities.
However, the increase in digital spaces has also exposed women to new challenges and threats, cyberbullying, harassment, and sometimes stalking. Women who use digital platforms to take a stand against gender inequality are often victims of harmful and threatening behaviors. They may receive threatening comments and messages or be exposed to slut shaming.
Persons harboring anti-feminist and mischievous sentiments habitually try to impede the fight for gender equality by obstructing women from partaking in conversations about equity and undermining their legitimacy through prejudiced convictions.
To curb these challenges, digital spaces should be characterized by respect for diversity, freedom of expression, and protection from harm. Digital platforms must be designed and equipped with tools that can detect and discourage all forms of gender-based violence. Countermeasures should be implemented so that users can report and block abusive content, track perpetrators, and seek help for victims.
If Women must flourish in the digital space, then they must be taught skills that can protect themselves online, detect harassing content online, and protect their data. For women with the technical skills and digital literacy to partake and contribute to tech design and governance, digital equality needs to be promoted. This requires significant investment in developing women’s skills and involving more women in tech decision-making.
Establishing safe online environments is an essential tool for furthering gender parity, defending women’s rights, and enabling women to assume command in the online sphere. A communal effort from society is necessary to recognize and uphold both offline and online cultures that are safe, respectful, and open for all, especially women. Through collaboration, we can construct a digital world that utilizes the potential of technology to construct a more fair society that views women as capable individuals who can contribute to the evolution of the world.
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