“Innovation and technology provide unprecedented opportunities, yet trends indicate a growing gender digital divide and women are under-represented in the field of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and design.” (UN Women)
The United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a plan for the future of people as well as the planet. In 2017, the theme of International Women’s Day (IWD) was “Planet 50–50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality”. That year, governments were called upon to take bold steps and make big changes to move toward a 2030 where gender equality is a lived reality. Things have been changing but, unfortunately, not always in the right direction.
Given our current trajectory, we will not reach the UN goals for gender equality by 2030. That is why this year’s theme, “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change” is calling for “innovative ways in which we can advance gender equality and the empowerment of women, particularly in the areas of social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure.” (UN Women) As we are designing and building for the future, women’s voices must be heard and our lived experiences must be respected in order to create a future that will lead us to planet 50–50.
As education workers, we have the ability to make great changes just by doing small things. If you are looking for ideas on how to celebrate IWD, the Government of Canada has created an International Women’s Day Educator’s Learning Toolkit, available online. If we truly want to reach Planet 50–50 by 2030, we should be encouraging our students and our colleagues to recognize the social, economic, cultural and political contributions of women every day.