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WiBD Nigerian Chapter Kickoff and Panel Technology and Policy: The Key to Eliminating VAWG

WiBD Nigerian Chapter Kickoff and Panel on Technology and Policy: The Key to Eliminating VAWG.

Regina Karson, WiBD US Board Member.
11/25/20

History of WiBD Nigerian Chapter:

I met Dr. Rose-Margaret Ekeng last year at a technical event in San Francisco, CA, USA. Dr. Ekeng is a Nigerian Engineering Professor at Ohlone College (local college). I told her about Women in Big Data (WiBD) and she said there could be interest in Nigeria in starting a WiBD Chapter. I connected Dr. Ekeng with Tina Rosario, CDO SAP who runs WiBD EMEA.  Tina in turn introduced Dr. Ekeng’s Nigerian cohort to Naomi Molefe, Director WiBD S. Africa Chapter.  These women worked with Itunu Olufemi, Nigerian Chapter Director and Debbie Braide, Nigerian Chapter Co-lead to organize WiBD Nigeria.  Thus, we combined the WiBD Nigerian Chapter launch with a panel on UN awareness day for violence against women and girls (VAWG). I am personally thrilled to be part of this kick-off and honored to discuss the “shadow pandemic” of VAWG.

UN VAWG

This year’s theme for International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!

Panel on Technology and Policy: The Key to Eliminating VAWG

Dr. Diana Keonly, UN Ambassador gave the keynote speech.

The panelists were then asked questions about policy and technology as it pertains to VAWG:

  1. What are the possible implications/dangers of “maintaining the status quo” with regards to the elimination of VAWG?
  2. What are some resources that are available for the economic empowerment of Women through technology?
  3. What types of International Economic Policies/Laws are essential to stimulate economic growth for women?
  4. Technology has evolved overtime and we are in the era of Big data, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) in what ways can these technologies be used to eliminate VAWG? Are there any ethical issues with existing technologies?
  5. The UN has invested a lot in the elimination of VAWG, in your experience as someone at the frontline of supporting DV victims, what are some changes that need to be made to policies to support victims, what are the main needs of victims and has the system failed them?
  6. How can Allies support the Cause? /What is your Call to Action for the Everyone or relevant stakeholders?

Q1-What are the possible implications/dangers of “maintaining the status quo” with regards to the elimination of VAWG?

RK Answer- Cited UN Dept of Economic and Social Affairs: The World’s Women 2020: Trends and Stats, produced every five years since 1990

Less than 50% of working-age women are in the labor market, a figure that has barely changed over the last quarter of a century, according to a new UN report launched today. Unpaid domestic and care work falls disproportionately on women, restraining their economic potential as the COVID-19 pandemic additionally affects women’s jobs and livelihoods

No cracks in the glass ceiling

In terms of power and decision making, women held only 28% of managerial positions globally in 2019 – almost the same proportion as in 1995. And only 18% of enterprises surveyed had a female Chief Executive Officer in 2020. Among Fortune 500 corporations only 7.4%, or 37 Chief Executive Officers, were women. In political life, while women’s representation in parliament has more than doubled globally, it has still not crossed the barrier of 25% of parliamentary seats in 2020. Women’s representation among cabinet ministers has quadrupled over the last 25 years, yet remains well below parity at 22%.

Education for women is on the rise

The world has made substantial progress in achieving universal primary education, with girls and boys participating equally in primary education in most regions. While school closures related to COVID-19 are likely to set back progress on access to education, evidence shows that girls, once they have access to schooling, tend to do better than boys in terms of academic achievement. In tertiary education, women outnumber men, and enrolment is increasing faster for women than for men.

However, women continue to be underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, representing only slightly more than 35% of the world’s STEM graduates. Women are also a minority in scientific research and development, making up less than a third of the world’s researchers.

Violence against women and girls remains a global issue During COVID-19 lockdowns, many women and girls have been isolated in unsafe environments where they are at heightened risk of experiencing intimate partner violence. Around one third of women worldwide have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner; and 18% have experienced such violence in the past 12 months. In the most extreme cases, violence against women is lethal: globally, an estimated 137 women are killed by their intimate partner or a family member every day.

While female genital mutilation is becoming less common in some countries, at least 200 million girls and women alive today have been subjected to this specific form of violence across Africa and the Middle East where the practice is most prevalent.

In a sign that attitudes are changing, women’s acceptance of being beaten by their partners decreased in almost 75% of countries with data over the past seven years. But laws to address domestic violence are not yet universally available, with only 153 countries having such laws. Gaps are largest in Northern Africa, Western Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, where 43% and 35% of countries respectively have not passed such laws.

  1. https://www.un.org/en/desa/world%E2%80%99s-women-2020
  2. Full report with all dataly/worldswomen2020
  3. File date: Tuesday, October 20, 2020
  4. URL: https://worlds-women-2020-data-undesa.hub.arcgis.com/

Q2-What are some resources that are available for the economic empowerment of Women through technology?

RK Answer-Education is the key to empowerment: Traditional Universities are great, online resources such as Coursera, Udacity or Udemy are also great, the Women in Big Data website features blogs on technical, business, women centric topics. I created a curated list of these blogs you can obtain thru your local WiBD Chapter Director (see womeninbigdata.org). Additionally, there is a resources tab on WiBD site.

Q4-Technology has evolved overtime and we are in the era of Big data, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) in what ways can these technologies be used to eliminate VAWG? Are there any ethical issues with existing technologies?

RK Answer -Ethical AI is a big issue in both policy and data science practice.

RK Answer-WARIF use case: Highlights the use of technology for social good

The Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF) founded in 2016 by Dr. Kemi DaSilva-Ibru, an obstetrician and gynecologist working in Lagos, Nigeria, strives to ensure that all young girls and women in Nigeria can live in a society free of sexual violence.

More than 500 traditional birth attendants – who know their communities and the secrets of women’s experiences – now have real-time connectivity to WARIF. Incident-reporting lag time has dropped from weeks to minutes, and medical and social services teams can reach victims far faster than ever before. Used SAP mobile services WARIF’s system enables traditional birth attendants to communicate directly and reliably with WARIF as soon as they become aware of an incident in the community.

Q6- How can Allies support the Cause? /What is your Call to Action for the Everyone or relevant stakeholders?

A-Allies critical to support the cause.

My CTA is to join Women in Big Data to be part of a community that is founded to Inspire, connect, grow, and champion the success of women through training and networking in data careers that span both technical and business domains.

Once again congratulations to Dr. Rose-Margaret Ekeng, Itunu Olufemi, and Debbie Braide, Nigerian Chapter Co-Lead for the Nigerian WiBD Chapter kickoff.

Photo from: S. Africa WiBD blog

Video link to go here if we get it.

Women in Big Data Resources curated list link here.

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