ADDIS ABABA — Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat on Wednesday called for increased women and girls’ participation in the technology space.

Faki made the remarks on the occasion of this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) celebrations.

The AU commemorates the day under the theme “DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality – 20 Years of Maputo Protocol.”

He said the theme is aligned with several AU priorities to maximize electronic and information technology dividends for women as a means to contribute to women’s sustainable development, through increased women and girls’ equal and effective participation in the technology space.

“Women, especially young women, should be at the core of this digital transformation,” Faki said.He underscored that “unless we zoom in on the contributions of women in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM), in a world where innovation is currency, our development agenda will be compromised.”

He said this year’s edition of the IWD came as the African continent marks the 20th anniversary of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, popularly known as the Maputo Protocol.

“But the road remains long and much remains to be done,” Faki said.

He said the phenomenon made it clear that innovation and technology are key accelerators for development on the African continent, and more particularly through the pioneering contributions past and present, made by women in this field.

“It is therefore my wish that we look at critical ways to bridge the gender digital divide and make women, particularly young women and girls, as a priority constituency in this developmental sector of the future to achieve gender equality in Africa and beyond,” Faki said. – Xinhua