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The theme for International Women’s Day, 8 March 2023 (IWD 2023) is, “DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality.” It is aligned with the priority theme for the 67th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW-67) by the United Nations (UN), “Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.” 


IWD 2023 recognizes and celebrates women and girls who are championing the advancement of transformative technology and digital education. It will explore the impact of the digital gender gap on widening economic and social inequalities. The event will 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 International Cooperative Alliance Asia and Pacific Committee on Women will organise a virtual lecture to commemorate IWD 2023 on March 7, 2023. It will be held in two parts:


  • What do we mean by digital inclusion for women in co-op business?
  • How do we protect women's rights and safety in digital spaces?


According to the UN, digital inclusion is defined as “equitable, meaningful, and safe access to use, lead, and design of digital technologies, services, and associated opportunities for everyone, everywhere.”


Some broad intervention areas to promote digital inclusion include:

  • Digital literacy and skills
  • Digital products and services
  • Digital communications
  • Digital marketing
  • Information and education on rights and safe practices in digital spaces
  • Information and access to preventive and protective measures and tools in digital spaces


Digitalisation and adoption of technology have become integral for any enterprise to grow and can be driven by a lot of factors. For cooperatives, this can be driven by evolving member needs, increasing competition in the market, changing business goals, and debilitating external shocks such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has brought to the fore the significance of digitalisation and the need for digital inclusion for everyone, especially women and marginalised groups. Women forming a large part of cooperative businesses, need to be part of this shift towards digitalisation. Bringing women into technology will result in more creative solutions and will also have more potential for innovations promoting gender equality and meeting women’s needs.


However, the adoption of technology differs across countries and sectors. In the Asia and Pacific region, a large number of cooperatives are in rural areas where technology and the internet are not easy to penetrate; members are semi-literate and are not trained or comfortable using technology; and members and even the management, on average, are middle-aged who are often reluctant to switch and adapt. At the same time, digitalisation adds costs not only to buy equipment, software, maintenance, and upgradation but also to educate and train members and the management to efficiently use the same.


The virtual lecture will look at issues around digitalisation and address some of the following questions – Why is digital inclusion important for women across all levels in cooperative businesses? Is digital inclusion enough to make women feel empowered? Given online and ICT-based frauds, crimes, and violence against women are common and publicly known, what are the ways to protect women’s rights and safety in the digital space?  


This lecture will be a starting point for these discussions, prioritizing women who are a large segment of the cooperative ecosystem.





Registration link


Event start date:
Tuesday, March 7, 2023
Event end date:
Tuesday, March 7, 2023
Venue: ZOOM