International Women’s Day 2023

International Women's Day 8 March

International Women’s Day is more than just a global holiday, it is a freedom movement!

 “Women share this planet 50/50, and they are underrepresented – their potential astonishingly untapped.”
                                                                                       — Emma Watson

Since 1975, the United Nations sponsors International Women’s Day celebrations annually. The holiday celebrates women’s rights while recognizing the efforts of women towards building society and maintaining civilization.

The UN tagged the theme for International Women’s Day, 8 March 2023 (IWD 2023), “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality.”

This supports the priority theme for the 67th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW-67), “Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.”

Megaphone represent to protest the women rights on International Women's Day

Education technology (edtech) is evolving into the go-to tool to ensure equal access to quality education for all. And while edtech has been dominated by men in the past, women are now making strides in this industry.

As technology evolves in 2023, it is making space for more women around the world to breakdown barriers. This EDU Blog celebrates the women and girls, past and present who are leading the advancement of digital education.  Here are just seven of them:

7 women driving innovation for gender equality

Reshma Saujani

One of the leading voices in edtech is Reshma Saujani, the founder of Girls Who Code.

Her organization aims to close the gender gap in the tech industry by teaching young girls how to code. Saujani’s work proves that educational technology can create opportunities for women in underrepresented fields.

Her efforts have been successful, with over 300,000 girls enrolled in Girls Who Code programs to date.

Aditi Avasthi

Another woman making waves in edtech is the CEO, and founder of Embibe, Aditi Avasthi.

Avasthi’s AI-based edtech platform helps students prepare for exams by analyzing their strengths and weaknesses, and tailoring study plans accordingly. Since launch, Embibe has spread like a wildfire, with over 18 million registered users across India and the Middle East.

Jessie Woolley-Wilson

Another inspiring woman in edtech is Jessie Woolley-Wilson, the CEO of DreamBox Learning. DreamBox is an online learning platform which personalizes math lessons for students from kindergarten to grade 8.

Woolley-Wilson is passionate about providing equal access to education. She believes that technology plays a huge role in achieving this goal and has dedicated more than 20 years to her work in the education technology space.

For her innovative work in education, Woolley-Wilson has been awarded EdTech Digest’s “EdTech Leadership Award” twice. She has also been named a “Top 100 Influencer in EdTech” for 2018. The ASU GSV honoree received the “Innovator of Color” award and the “Power of Women” award. Forbes placed her on its “Impact 15” list for being a disruptor in education, and she has also been featured in CNBC, NPR, The New York Times and Business Insider, among other leading news publications.

Radia Perlman

During the 1970s, scientists and programmers were working round the clock to put together the networks and technologies that would eventually become the Internet —Radia Perlman was one of very few women involved in the process.

Perlman is a brilliant engineer and mathematician. She is most famous for her inventions, which have made an impact on how networks self-organize and move data. For example, while working for Digital Equipment Corporation, she invented the spanning-tree protocol (STP), which is vital to the operation of network bridges, earning her the title “Mother of the Internet”.

She continues to make significant contributions to many other areas of network design, earning her over 100 issued patents and many prestigious computer science awards such as, the Lifetime Achievement awards and the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Data Communication.

Hedy Lamarr

Similarly, Hedy Lamarr made an important contribution to modern technology through her work.

Lamarr aka ‘the mother of Wi-Fi’, was an Austrian-American actress who rose to fame during Hollywood’s golden age. Most famous for femme fatale roles like Cecil B. DeMille’s Delilah, Lamarr has been described as one of the greatest movie actresses of all time.

After her screen career, she worked with composer George Antheil to develop a radio guidance system for directing torpedoes to their targets in war. 

The system involved the use of “frequency hopping” among radio waves, with both transmitter and receiver hopping to new frequencies together. Doing so cut down the interception of the radio waves, allowing the torpedo to find its target. After its creation, Lamarr and Antheil sought a patent and military support for the invention. While awarded U.S. Patent No. 2,292,387 in August 1942, the Navy decided against the implementation of the new system.

Although the invention was never used during World War II, Lamarr later achieved recognition as an inventor of the technology that paved the way for today’s Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth devices.

Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai, became a freedom symbol after surviving a gunshot wound to the head when she was just 15 years old.

She is the Nobel Peace Prize recipient of 2014 for fighting for an education for every child.

She went ahead to start up the Malala Fund— a non-profit organization through which she supports education and inspires girls to make a difference in their communities. It is with Malala Fund and by using her own voice that this Pakistani female education activist speaks truth to power.

Angélique Kidjo

In 2014, Kidjo met with First lady Michelle Obama in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building of the White House to discuss international girls’ education.

At the G7 Summit in 2019, President Macron of France named Kidjo as the spokesperson for the AFAWA initiative (Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa) to help close the financing gap for women entrepreneurs in Africa.

Besides her music legacy, Angélique Kidjo has also dedicated herself to African women empowerment, earning her a spot on this list.

This West African singer, songwriter and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador is also the founder of Batonga Foundation. The foundation focuses on developing young women and girls in Africa through secondary school and higher education.

Since its startup in 2006, Batonga continues to advocate for community awareness of the value of education for girls. Batonga also works to grant scholarships, improve school infrastructure, increase enrollment, provide in-kind support for scholars’ families and cultivate mentoring programs.  

An idiom from Virginia Wolf for international women's day

How to celebrate International Women's Day 2023

Have you caught the International Women’s Day fever yet? Well, if you have, you’re likely wondering how to celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day. Here are a few ideas:

1- Share fun facts and other positive posts about gender equality on your social media accounts to celebrate International Women’s Day. Be sure to use relevant hashtags to improve your post visibility and engagement.

2- Plan an academic or social event related to the year’s theme in your community or virtual space.

3- There are many activists across the world who dedicate today to advocating for gender equality causes. Support such initiatives in your community. This could be through volunteering, donating money, or resources.

4- We at EDU Passport are always committed to ensuring education is accessible to all children.  This International Women’s Day and every day, we encourage our readers to learn about ways to support women who contribute to educational advancements.

Don't stop there... ​

Be an ally all year long! With EDU Passport, you can use your skills and expertise to empower students and inspire the next generation of women leaders. We’re celebrating your International Women’s Day.

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