Wednesday 8 March marks International Women’s Day (IWD) 2023. This year, the United Nation's (UN) IWD theme is DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality, recognising the importance of protecting the rights of women and girls online and addressing the digital gender gap.
auDA recognises that online equality and inclusion is critical to ensuring all Australians can unlock positive social and economic value from the internet. To learn more about what digital equality and inclusion means to our community, we spoke to six women from the .au membership program. Each has an important message to share.
Briseida is an experienced business development professional, who focuses on nurturing innovation between academia, industry and government across Asia Pacific. She believes digital enablement serves as an invaluable source of knowledge and provides access to greater support systems and, in turn, personal empowerment.
Briseida notes, “Progress is still to be made around societal gender biases that prevent women taking part in broader communities. Greater accessibility, connectedness and knowledge will be a positive outcome for all, as a greater contribution from the society at large can be made.”
Briseida’s #IWD2023 message
“May women continue to forge the way forward, feeling supported and without fear, for our peers and the next generation of women.”
Esther Anderson works as a Digital Strategist and Analyst and is the founder of Teck Design and Marketing and the Influencers of Substance mentorship program. To Esther, DigitALL means ensuring women and girls have equal access to technology, digital tools and digital skills.
Esther says, “Digital technology allows women to learn, communicate and grow, whether it be for business or family reasons. By closing the digital gender gap women have an equal opportunity to participate and benefit from technology.”
Esther’s #IWD2023 message
“In this digital age, global communication is not just a necessity for most of us, but a life force. For those of us with the skills, we should always reach out and offer a helping hand up, not a handout.”
Kim Lowton is an experienced technical, policy and business executive, a member of auDA's Technical Advisory Standing Committee and currently runs global regulatory compliance programs at Google.
For Kim, enabling digital gender equality starts with recognising your own privilege. “Growing up in Australia, I experienced privilege that is not accessible to everyone including access to the internet and a career that leverages digital skills. In many parts of the world that is disproportionately unavailable to those who identify as female,” Kim said.
To achieve a DigitALL future, Kim encourages others to amplify the voices of those who experience inequality and call out inequality where you see it.
Kim’s #IWD2023 message
"Take a moment to listen to the stories shared during IWD and think about small actions you can take locally that move us towards a better future. It starts with all of us.”
Dr. Marion Piper
Dr Marion Piper is a coach, copywriter and speaker who combines human creativity and technology. According to Marion, IWD is not about a single day in support of those who identify as women, Rather Marion says, “IWD is an opportunity to stop, reflect and celebrate how far we've come, but to also dig in and remember how far we still have to go”.
“There are still so many seats at the table we need to add - [including] women of colour, women with disabilities, neurodiverse women."
Marion’s #IWD2023 message
“Get creative. Instead of the usual luncheon or gala event, get behind new initiatives that prioritise action, such as not-for-profit Fck the Cupcakes. As women, our innate creativity is what can set us apart and adds so much power and value to the world.”
Sandy Chong is the CEO and Director of the Australian Hairdressing Council where she works to champion the highest possible standards in ethics, technical ability and workplace practices across the industry.
To Sandy, IWD is a reminder that women are an integral part of our communities and that every woman should be valued. “It’s a day to reflect on how far women have come in their quest for gender equality, knowing there is so much more to achieve. Information, education, innovation and technology means [today] all can be involved, contribute, have a say, and be heard,” she said.
Sandy’s #IWD2023 message
“You will always be judged by the quality of your actions and integrity of your intent. Respect versus react. Everyone has a place in society, an equal place that is devoid of violence, discrimination and hate.”
Wendy is the Senior Marketing and Communications Specialist for ABB, a technology leader driving the digital transformation of industries and past president of WINGS of Hope - a charity for the bereaved by suicide community.
Wendy believes DigitALL is an important theme for this year’s IWD as it acknowledges that access to digital technology is a vital steppingstone to digital inclusion and empowerment. "Without access, we can’t empower women and other marginalised groups to provide solutions or innovation. Access and empowerment go together,” she said.
Wendy’s #IWD2023 message
“Change the ‘perception’ of the individual. Change from within is critical for equality to be successful.”
auDA is proud to support International Women’s Day. Through our policy and advocacy work, we aim to protect an internet that ensures communities locally and globally can realise the social and economic benefits that internet access enables. This forms part of our efforts to meaningfully contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including goal 10 “reduce inequalities”.
auDA is also committed to diversity. Women comprise 50 per cent of auDA’s Board and more than 50 per cent of our staff and we actively work to grow and diversify the .au membership base to better represent the Australian community and increase participation of women and other underrepresented groups.