International Women’s Day: Reflecting on peace, sustainability, and gender equality

In today’s world, humanitarian crises are erupting all around, with wars; climate change and its impacts; discrimination against women and others; and the pandemic. In the face of these escalating global struggles, we stand at a crossroads: do we want to allow technology to widen existing disparities and further concentrate power in the hands of few affluent men and nations? Or do we want to become more inclusive and put it to work to build a safer, more sustainable, and more equitable future for all? The choices we make today will profoundly impact our path forward, as equality and justice continue to elude half the world's population.

Everywhere crises continue to exact their highest toll on women and girls. In fact, 2023 looks set to be one of the most challenging, with the long-term impacts of COVID and a food and energy crisis fuelled by the war in Ukraine threatening global security and sustainable development. Climate change and climate-driven disasters still demand a gendered lens in adapting and mitigating impacts. At a time when the voices of women and girls are increasingly being silenced, we need to continue raising them in every platform we can. The need of the hour now is to engage, persuade and pursue progress, however gradual and slow, because there is no alternative.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, with the UN theme for 2023 - DigitAll: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality, let us explore the cry of humanity for lasting peace. Women and peace seem to share an inseparable bond, perhaps because women are more adaptable, emotionally intelligent, and resilient, weaving harmony among differences and resolving conflicts without violence. As bearers and sustainers of life, women are able to see the sacred in the ordinary, reconstruct communities, and become peacemakers. Respect for others, equality, mutuality, interdependence and nurturing are basic components of a woman’s worldview, leading to a participatory style of governance, solidarity and networking. Peace processes to which women actively and substantially contribute, whether as mediators, activists or peace makers, are more sustainable and more effective.

This International Women’s Day, let us promote a culture of life and rid ourselves of hatred, anger and revenge. Let us embrace equity and work tirelessly for inclusive, transformative technology and digital education, to empower women and girls and to address development and humanitarian challenges, thus achieving the 2030 Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goals. Happy Women’s Day!

Sr Mudita Menona Sodder RSCJ
Sophia College Campus, Mumbai
March 1, 2023

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