From the International President for IWDay 8th March 2023
Happy International Women’s Day
Today The Girls Brigade International family joins the rest of the world to celebrate International Women’s day, with the Theme, “Digital Innovation and Technology for Gender equality”. In line with the UN CSW67 theme, “Innovation and technological change, and Education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the Empowerment of Women and Girls”.
It is a Theme for the season! Social Media has become the biggest driver of our society today. Technology is good, but if not used the right way it can have a negative effect. Technology has been used to objectify women instead of empower them. Digital spaces have been used to promote products or lifestyles by using highly sexualised adverts that objectify women. Unfortunately girls and young women have played into the objectivity because of the high rewards associated with this.
Digital spaces have been used to create an image of how a beautiful woman should look. This can cause young people to have low self esteem leading to eating disorders and mental health issues. The digital space is full of addictive pages that promote low moral values. These spaces are highly rewarded at the cost of spaces that promote good moral values.
Women and young women must become key Stakeholders and be involved in the back end in the development and maintenance of technology and innovation. We must be involved in the creation of algorithms that push values that protect girls and young women. As an organisation, I encourage each one of us to do our part. We are an intergenerational group and can come together, young and old, to go into spaces of influence where we can push the right social media narratives.
We are rooted in the community. There are traditional spaces where girls and young women can learn about life, get advice and guidance. Remember our aim, “To help girls to become followers of Jesus Christ, through reverence, self-control and a sense of responsibility, to find true enrichment of life”. We need to bring these into the digital space where girls can go online to learn and get Christ centred guidance.
Let us not leave anyone Behind ! I am throwing a challenge to our young women who have the technical know how and are familiar with social media to help The Girls Brigade International to be in the lead in creating safe spaces for girls and young women on social media. We need to find innovative ways to speak to those who cannot read or write… Let no one be left behind!
Let us Rise in Strength, at such a time as this – Esther 4:14
Happy International Women’s Day.