Roseline Kalumbi impressive on students at Chimbongondo Community Day Secondary School
* The event was part of Plan Malawi’s pre-commemoration of the 2023 International Women’s Day on March 8
* Which will be celebrated under the theme: ‘DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality’
By Rose Cross Mahorya, MANA
Police in Mzuzu have encouraged youths in the area of Traditional Authority Mtwalo in Mzimba District to report any forms of cyber abuse against them without fear of being harassed or intimidated.
The call was made on Tuesday by Roseline Kalumbi at Chimbongondo Community Day Secondary School (CDSS) during a role modelling session which was organised by Plan Malawi International.
The event, which had several female experts in information & communication technology (ICT) sharing their experiences with the students, was part of Plan Malawi’s pre-commemoration of the 2023 International Women’s Day, which falls tomorrow, March 8.
Kalumbi, said there are laws that protect the identity of young people who would be brave enough to testify in a court of law, saying: “Some victims of cybercrimes fail to report such cases for fear of being harassed.
“I want to assure them that it is possible for them to testify in court without being physically present. However, I must warn the youth to also refrain abusing others through social media platforms.”
In her remarks, the school’s headteacher, Agnes Msopole applauded Plan Malawi International for the initiative, while also taking an opportunity to highlight challenges they face that include lacking necessities for promoting science subjects.
“Our school is in dire need of a new state of the art computer laboratory to accommodate all students as well as a science laboratory,” Msopole said.
Mzuzu planning area programmes manager for Plan Malawi International, Silence Banda said the session was aimed at inspiring girls to take up careers that involve science subjects while alerting them and the community regarding cyber abuse.
The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is ‘DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality’ — which is aligned with the priority theme for the upcoming 67th Session of the Commision on the Status of Women: ‘Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls’.
International Women’s Day began in New York City on March 8, 1857, when female textile workers marched in protest of unfair working conditions and unequal rights for women.
It was one of the first organized strikes by working women, during which they called for a shorter work day and decent wages and from then on it became a focal point in the women’s rights movement — bringing attention to issues such as gender equality, reproductive rights and violence & abuse against women.
International Women’s Day is commemorated in a variety of ways worldwide — as a public holiday in several countries, and observed socially or locally in others to celebrate and promote the achievements of women.
The UN observes the holiday in connection with a particular issue, campaign, or theme in women’s rights while in some parts of the world, it still reflects its political origins, being marked by protests and calls for radical change.
In other areas, particularly in the West, it is largely sociocultural and centered on a celebration of womanhood.
Under the theme ‘DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality’, the United Nations observance of the day will highlight the need for inclusive and transformative technology and digital education.
According the UN Women, the commemoration will explore the impact of the digital gender gap on widening economic and social inequalities and also spotlight the importance of protecting the rights of women and girls in digital spaces and addressing online and ICT-facilitated gender-based violence.
The website said bringing women and other marginalized groups into technology results in more creative solutions and has greater potential for innovations that meet women’s needs and promote gender equality.
“Their lack of inclusion, by contrast, comes with massive costs,” the website said. “As per UN Women’s Gender Snapshot 2022 report, women’s exclusion from the digital world has shaved US$1 trillion from the gross domestic product of low- and middle-income countries in the last decade — a loss that will grow to US$1.5 trillion by 2025 without action.
“Reversing this trend will require tackling the problem of online violence, which a study of 51 countries revealed 38% of women had personally experienced.
“A gender-responsive approach to innovation, technology and digital education can increase the awareness of women and girls regarding their rights and civic engagement. Advancements in digital technology offer immense opportunities to address development and humanitarian challenges, and to achieve the 2030 Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goals.
“Unfortunately, the opportunities of the digital revolution also present a risk of perpetuating existing patterns of gender inequality. Growing inequalities are becoming increasingly evident in the context of digital skills and access to technologies, with women being left behind as the result of this digital gender divide.
“The need for inclusive and transformative technology and digital education is therefore crucial for a sustainable future.”
On Wednesday, the United Nations observance will be marked by a high-level event that will bring together technologists, innovators, entrepreneurs, and gender equality activists to provide an opportunity to highlight the role of all stakeholders in improving access to digital tools and be followed by a high-level panel discussion and musical performances.—Additional reporting by Duncan Mlanjira, Maravi Express