DigitalALL: Integreat as Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality #IWD2023
On the first International Women’s Day in 1911, more than one million women took to the streets to demonstrate for their rights, but it was not until 1975 that 8 March officially became the “Day for Women’s Rights and World Peace”. Today, millions of women still take to the streets every year, because although a lot has already been done, the goal of a just world is still far from being achieved.
Decades later, we have new challenges – Digital Challenges
This year’s International Women’s Day is themed DigitalALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality. The motto captures the essence of our work. Our self-image is to develop inclusive digital solutions that ensure more justice. It is not for nothing that the 10th UN Sustainable Development Goal is “Reduce Inequalities”, which we identify with most strongly.
This will require a collective and coordinated effort by governments, businesses, civil society, women’s organisations and others to not only harness the power of digitalisation for the benefit of women, but also to not raise existing barriers. Digital responses are needed that specifically address the needs and challenges of girls and women.
Barriers still need to be broken
Not everyone has the same starting point and thus the same opportunities in our society. So if we offer every person the exact same resources, we cannot expect everyone to be able to achieve the exact same results. An image that nicely illustrates this principle is the following: Equality is giving shoes to everyone. Justice is giving everyone shoes that fit them. So it is not enough to give women the same rights and opportunities. To achieve real justice, the barriers that women face every day must be broken.
A clear example of this is that in 2021 still only every third executive in Germany is a woman. Although there is no law that would prohibit women from taking a leadership position, significantly fewer women do so than men. The women’s quota is therefore not an equal, but due to the significant differences it is a very fair means of countering this problem. Although the quota already came into force in 2016, the situation is only slowly improving, which shows how deeply rooted the disparities between men and women are.
Integreat must be put to the test again and again
Integreat is intended to be an inclusive tool for all people who are new to Germany. It should be so easy to use that everyone can use Integreat. The content should be written in such a way that everyone feels picked up and no one feels excluded. And above all, the information should be relevant. This includes offers for which we have to be grateful to many organisations in Germany that are specifically designed for girls and women. Integreat needs a team that thinks about these dimensions in its development. We can influence this and are already doing so more than before. Fortunately, we know from our municipal partners and social organisations who are responsible for the content that we are not only preaching to the choir, but also receiving impulses from them for more gender justice and inclusivity.
It just takes a collective and coordinated effort by several stakeholders.