Statement from IOM Iraq Chief of Mission on International Women's Day 2023
International Women's Day is a time to celebrate the achievements of women and to highlight the challenges they face in achieving equality. This year's IOM theme, Road to Equality: Bridging the Digital Gender Divide in Migration, is particularly relevant for Iraq, where women's access to technology remains limited. Migrant women and women who have been displaced by conflict or climate change face even greater challenges in accessing technology and the opportunities it affords – these challenges can be counted among the many others they face, such as discrimination, exploitation and gender-based violence.
In recent years, technology has emerged as a game-changer in the migration landscape in Iraq. With the rise of digital platforms and tools, people on the move can now access information and services more easily than ever before, and governments are better equipped to facilitate safe, dignified and regular migration and movement. For women in particular, technology has the potential to offer greater access to education, employment and financial services, and ultimately greater agency and self-determination over their lives and circumstances. However, for now we must recognize that the digital divide remains a significant barrier for many women, particularly those in rural or remote areas.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Global Compact for Migration both recognize the importance of gender equality in achieving their objectives. At IOM Iraq, we are committed to supporting gender mainstreaming and promoting women's empowerment in our programming, including through our Enterprise Development Fund programme, which offers training and financial support to women entrepreneurs and those working in innovative fields like tech to start or grow their businesses.
As we work towards achieving these goals, it is essential that we focus on the needs and priorities of women, including by promoting equal opportunities to access and benefit from technology. We must ensure that women are included in decision-making processes and have access to the resources they need to thrive. Let us use International Women's Day as an opportunity to renew our commitment to gender equality in Iraq and around the world. We call on all stakeholders to join us in this important endeavor. Together, we can create a more just and equal world for all.