Gender equality is a mere afterthought to many institutions — and there are numbers to show for it.
A 2021 report by Equals Measures 2030 indicates that as of September 2019, only 89 commitments in National Action Plans around the world include mentions of women, girls, or gender, which is just 2% of the nearly 4,000 commitments made by national and local governments.
The Global Gender Gap Report (2021) estimates that it could take 267.6 years to close the gender gap in Economic Participation and Opportunity. As for the gap in Political Empowerment, it could take an estimated 145.5 years to attain gender parity.
In 2022, women are still fighting to be seen and heard!
This year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) campaign theme is #BreakTheBias, which calls for us to imagine a gender-equal world.
Equality means that we all understand that everyone deserves to be at the table. It means women taking up spaces without men becrying the “destructiveness” of feminism. It means creating spaces of leadership and empowerment for women so that they can thrive without gendered biases.
While the data is displeasing, we cannot overlook the strides that have been made towards bridging the gender gap. For instance, looking through the gender-responsive approaches that Open Government Partnership (OGP) is adopting, women’s equality might not feel as far-fetched as the data indicates.
It is worth noting though that the greater fight for gender equality has been left to feminist movements. As Open Heroines, we are slowly breaking barriers and biases by occupying spaces that were inaccessible to us a few years ago. We have used platforms such as the OGP Summit to bring diverse feminine voices to the open+ spaces. The Open Heroines community is running now so that the next generation of open government/open data and civic tech can walk.
On this day (and in this Women’s History Month), we would like to highlight the work of one heroine who is breaking those barriers; Janet Chapman. Janet, the chair of the Tanzania Development Trust (TDT) reckons that many women in rural Tanzania have never been online, and their voices are unheard. The organisation is trying on #BreakTheBias by empowering a network of Digital Champions in remote villages to teach their community digital skills.
Recognising that women are underrepresented in the geospatial community, TDT recently trained nine African women through their mapping project, Crowd2Map.
“Open Data is being used in Tanzania to help find and protect girls at risk of Female Genital Mutilation and report gender-based violence. Tanzania Development Trust and our local partners are helping rural women to get online for the first time to use these tools to protect their communities,” she says.
Heroines from different disciplines joined in the Women’s Day campaign by sharing their views on how the open government/open data/civic tech spaces can break gender bias:-
“Open government could break the gender bias by not only sharing fancy data sets but also equipping women with basic relevant information on how to access services and enjoy rights in a digestible language and through media used by them.”
“Open organization principles squarely highlight the need for shared power and collaboration. A healthy open community can and should set a path for goals of transparency, inclusivity, adaptability, collaboration, and community”. Here’s to more women helping and supporting each other to make change and impact.”
“We can #BreaktheBias by championing ongoing communication on the collection of gender data and the importance of making this data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR)!”
“Data allows us to highlight inequality and gaps across sectors. There is evidence that there is currently an unequal distribution of care work — which falls mainly on families and, thus, on women. Information on care is currently still fragmented and, in many cases, limited and lacking. Governments must work to identify care needs and create better public policies to close inequality gaps.”
“Women worked from home and set up businesses through open data enabled by technology during the pandemic and they are thriving. If there was any lesson learnt at all, it is that women should be given equal opportunity to BE.”
“Feminism in data requires strong leadership to shape the agenda of women, but achieving equality requires everyone.”
Happy International Women’s Day, and Happy Women’s History Month!