Friday, March 8, 2024

Empowering women through information: a call to action on International Women's Day 2024

by Pauline Namulomba Nchemba

Pauline Namulomba Nchemba
On this International Women's Day 2024, our global community comes together to reflect upon the theme designated by the United Nations: 'Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress,' in tandem with the campaign theme, 'Inspire Inclusion.' These themes serve as poignant reminders of the urgent need to address economic disempowerment among women and to promote diversity and empowerment across all sectors of society.

International Women's Day holds profound significance as it shines a spotlight on critical issues such as gender equality, reproductive rights, and the pervasive violence and abuse endured by women worldwide. It serves as a rallying cry for collective action and collaboration in advocating for women's rights and empowerment. However, it also serves as a stark reminder that gender parity remains an elusive goal, with estimates suggesting it may take over a century to achieve full equality.

As librarians and information professionals, we recognize the pivotal role that information management plays in empowering women and fostering inclusivity in our society. Libraries stand as vital hubs of information, knowledge, and learning, offering individuals, regardless of gender, access to a wealth of resources and opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Yet, we acknowledge that access to information is not evenly distributed, and women, particularly those from marginalized communities, often face formidable barriers in accessing and utilizing information effectively. Thus, on this Women's Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to breaking down these barriers and empowering women with the tools they need to thrive.

A myriad of initiatives can be undertaken in line with the theme "Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress" and "Inspire Inclusion" for International Women's Day. These include organizing digital literacy workshops, establishing women entrepreneurship programs, developing inclusive library programming, creating scholarship programs for women, conducting gender sensitization workshops, establishing resource centers for women, fostering collaborative partnerships, and launching advocacy campaigns.

Open science emerges as a pivotal solution in providing and accessing these services and initiatives. With open science, we can democratize access to information, facilitate collaboration and knowledge sharing, and empower women to fully participate in the digital age.

Librarians play a crucial role in championing these endeavors by curating diverse collections, providing digital literacy training, and advocating for equal access to information for all. By embracing inclusivity in our libraries and information centers, we can create welcoming spaces where women feel valued, respected, and empowered to pursue their goals and aspirations.

Let us harness the power of information to inspire inclusion, advance gender equality, and accelerate progress for women across our nation and beyond. Together, let us continue to champion the cause of women's empowerment and work tirelessly to build a more just, equitable, and inclusive society for all.

Happy International Women's Day!


The author, Pauline Namulomba Nchemba, is Librarian and E-Learning Coordinator at the Levy Mwanawasa Medical University (LMMU) in Lusaka, Zambia. She is also the Vice President of the Library and Information Association of Zambia (LIAZ).

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