By Staff Reporter
ZIMBABWE Gender Commission (ZGC) has expressed concern over the structural and systemic barriers preventing women and girls from accessing resources in the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) sector.
In a statement, ZGC said while there have been commendable achievements, women face many gender-based barriers.
“The Commission expresses concern about the structural and systemic barriers preventing women and girls from being equipped with the resources, technology, knowledge, awareness and skills to leverage connectivity for their political, economic and social empowerment,” read the ZGC statement.
“The Commission further condemns technology-facilitated gender-based violence and the significant physical, sexual, psychological, social, political or economic harm it causes to women and girls, infringing on their rights and freedoms,” said ZGC.
More laws and policies, according to ZGC, should be enacted to ensure the safety of the cyber space which has amplified the reach and impact of gender based violence packaged in abusive online materials.
“ZGC calls upon the Government and relevant stakeholders to facilitate gender transformative technology within artificial intelligence (the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages).
“Engage men and boys in multi-stakeholder cooperation that ensures that digital rights are women’s rights,” underscored the statement.
ZGC added that there is a need to increase women and girls’ access to and use of digital technology and ensure affordable access to ICTs to facilitate online education and training.
The body also urged government to ensure that national strategies on technology and innovation provide the basis for gender-responsive policies and programming that fulfils the human rights and needs of women and girls.
“Government should ensure the full, equal and meaningful participation and leadership of women in technology and innovation while enacting legislation, developing policies and strengthening their implementation to prevent and eliminate acts of technology-facilitated gender-based violence.
“Provide support to survivors of technology-facilitated gender-based violence through the provision of helplines and social and legal services,” said ZGC.