The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) will commemorate the 2019 International Women’s Day (IWD) on the 7th of March 2019 at the United Nations Conference Centre. The global theme is ‘Think equal, build smart, innovate for change’. This theme puts innovation at the center of efforts to build solutions that work for women and girls and achieve gender equality. The theme places emphasis on innovative ways in which gender equality and the empowerment of women can be advanced, particularly in the areas of social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure. The achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires transformative shifts, integrated approaches and new solutions, particularly when it comes to advancing gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. Innovative approaches that disrupt “business as usual” are central to removing structural barriers and ensuring women and girls are not left behind. Innovation and technology do provide unprecedented opportunities, yet trends indicate a growing gender digital divide and under-representation of women in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and design. This under representation prevents women and girls from developing and influencing gender-responsive innovations to achieve transformative gains for society. It is therefore vital that women and girls’ ideas and experiences equally influence the design and implementation of the innovations that shape the future of societies. To commemorate IWD, ECA will organize an interactive dialogue with girls from Ethiopia universities, high schools and around Addis Ababa. The interactive dialogue will be with the ECA Executive and Deputy Secretaries Female Heads of Missions and Embassies based in Addis Ababa.
In line with the global theme UNECA is proposing Girls and Innovation: Imagine the Possibilities as a theme for the dialogue with the girls. The theme is intended to challenge young women to share their thoughts and insights as well as their perspectives on the innovation for the future and how in their views innovation can accelerate the empowerment of girls and women. The dialogue inclusive innovation that will lead to equality between girls and boys, women and men, in all sectors of development. ECA intends to use this dialogue as a bouncing board for programmatic ideas in-line with the new strategic direction.
The expected outcome of this event is well-articulated aspirations, ideas and insights especially from the girls on what it would take to think smart and innovate for gender equality.
The event will take place at the Delegates Lounge on Thursday, 7 March 2019, between 11am and 13pm.