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Tech, NFTs, & Science: Celebrating International Day of the Girl

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What do you get when you pair the digital generation with International day of the Girl? Girl Power of course!

“Digital generation, our generation”, the messaging behind this year’s International Day of the Girl

October 11 marks the International Day of the Girl (IDG) with digital inclusion and literacy among the themes celebrated in this year’s United Nations (UN) event.

An observance day declared by the United Nations, IDG recognises girl’s rights while empowering young females to pursue in global opportunities.

Each year the honorary day supports a theme – typically an area that girl’s lack access to or a divide is experienced.

This year’s theme is “digital generation, our generation”, where UN Women, agencies and civil society are working to promote equal access to the internet and digital devices for young women.

Independent, non-profit organisation UN Women says digital literacy and inclusion opens up new learning and working opportunities for girls.

COVID-19 has also reinforced the need for skills in technology as more services move to the digital space.

“The pandemic has deepened the gender divide around connectivity and online safety, with girls facing economic and social barriers to internet and device access,” the UN Women organisation said in a blog post.

#DayoftheGirl

Many have taken to social media globally to support the movement advocating for equal access and inclusion to digital technology and innovation.

This includes a number of female-empowerment advocates and People of Colour leaders including US Vice Preside Kamala Harris.

“On this International Day of the Girl, I want to say this to our girls: dream with ambition and know that there are no limits to what you can be.”

Kamala Harris

Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai and Former US First Lady Michelle Obama also took to twitter.

The pair promoted their charities Malala Fund and Girls Opportunity Alliance which both support girl’s and women’s rights.

UN Women are calling all girls and women to join the cause, suggesting a number of international hashtags that social media users can peg on their posts.

This includes #DayoftheGirl and #GenerationEquality in English, #DíaDeLaNiña and #GeneraciónIgualdad in Spanish and #JournéeDeLaFille and #GénérationÉgalité in French.

An NFT in the name of Girls

International Day of the Girl is also a reflection of the efforts and sacrifices many hardworking women are making to help drive change.

Maliha Abidi, a 25-year-old Pakistan-born artist and neuroscience student, is one of these women.

She’s about to launch NFT Women Rise, a collection of 10,000 non-fungible tokens stored on blockchain which represents the work of female activists, artists, coders and scientists.

Yet, while society is progressing and becoming more inclusive of females, there’s still a considerable amount of room for improvement.

No to gender quotas – but yes to women in science

As we celebrate International Day of the Girl, the head of the academy that awards the Nobel Prizes in Science says gender quotas will not be introduced.

“[We want people to win] because they made the most important discovery…not because of gender or ethnicity,” Goran Hansson, head of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, says.

Since the award’s introduction in 1901, only 59 recipients of the Nobel Prize were women.

This year, Maria Ressa was the only woman to receive an award, sharing the Nobel Peace Prize with journalist Dmitry Muratov. for their efforts to “safeguard freedom of expression”.

Mr Hansson says it’s sad that there are so few women Nobel laureates.

“It reflects the unfair conditions in society, particularly in years past, but still existing,” Mr Hansson told the AFP news agency.

“And there’s so much more to do,”

However he argues that implementing gender quotas would not be “in line with the spirit of Alfred Nobel’s last will”.

Only 10 percent of the professors in natural sciences in Western Europe or North America are women, another factors which resonates with the low number of female nominees.

Mr Hansson says he will continue his efforts to invite and include more female scientists in the awards, but calls on society to help encourage more women to pursue a future in science.

“We need different attitudes to women going into sciences… so that they get a chance to make these discoveries that are being awarded.”

Here’s how you can get involved

While there may still be a long way to go in supporting girl’s and their future, UN Women say there’s still a lot society can do to spread the word about gender equality.

“Share stories / blogs / videos of inspiring adolescent girls who are tech trailblazers while collectively amplifying our call to action to expand these pathways for every girl, everywhere,” UN Women says.

They’re calling on everyone to amplify their commitments in overriding the gender divide while helping girls develop their technological skills.

“We must take a strong generational gender lens to the digital divide if we are to achieve meaningful and sustainable change for a digital revolution by, with and for all.”

Written by Rebecca Borg

Business

U.S. stocks plunge – markets have biggest daily drop in 2 years

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U.S. markets have had their biggest daily drop in almost two years, as investors evaluate the impacts of higher prices on earnings and the possibility of monetary policy tightening

The S&P 500 dropped by 4 per cent, while the Nasdaq fell the most amongst other major benchmarks.

Meanwhile, retailer Target down was down more than 20 points in its worst performance since 1987, and Apple and Amazon.com both slid.

The U.S. dollar rose against all Group-of-10 counterparts, except the yen and Swiss franc.

The S&P is slowly emerging from its longest slump since 2011, but rebounds are fragile amid tightening policy, the war in Ukraine and lockdowns in China.

It comes as Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell warns U.S. central bank will raise interest rates until there is “clear and convincing” evidence inflation is in retreat.

Looking to other parts of the world, and Europe saw new-vehicle sales shrink for a 10th month in a row.

Over in the United Kingdom, inflation rose to its highest level since Margaret Thatcher’s reign 40 years ago.

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Ukraine Crisis

NATO ties – Sweden receives full backing from U.S.

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Just days after announcing its intentions to join NATO, Sweden has received full backing from the United States.

U.S. Defence Secretary Llyod Austin welcomed his Swedish counterpart to the Pentagon, in a show of solidarity between the two nations.

Austin says the United States says Sweden’s membership to the alliance will make all member nations safer and more secure.

Both Finland and Sweden formally applied to join the strategic alliance on Wednesday, but still face objections from Turkey.

The whole membership process is expected to take just a few weeks, but ratification by all allied parliaments could take up to a year.

It signifies one of the most significant shake-ups of European security architecture not seen since the Cold War.

The two nations remained neutral throughout this period in history, despite Finland sharing a 1,300 kilometre border with Russia.

Sweden says Russian propaganda can no longer hide the nation’s war crimes… and believes now more than ever, democracies must stand together against Moscow’s increasing aggression.

NATO Secretary-General Jen Stoltenberg says this is an historic moment which must be seized, warmly requesting the requests from both meetings at the alliance headquarters.

Both Sweden and Finland handed over their application letters, each envelope embossed with their national flag.

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Ukraine Crisis

Zelensky extends Ukraine’s martial law by 90 days

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With the war in Ukraine showing little to no signs of slowing down anytime soon, Volodymyr Zelensky has moved to extend his nation’s martial law by 90 days

The required documents have now been sent to the Ukrainian parliament for consideration, requiring approval by at least half of all lawmakers.

The first round of martial law was initiated on February 24, the day Putin declared war over the country.

This marks the beginning of a new stage of the conflict, with Ukraine’s defence minister hoping to arm one million fighters – as the nation prepares for the long haul.

Ukrainian soldiers walk at Kyiv central train station, Ukraine, February 25, 2022. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

So what does a martial law ruling actually mean for Ukrainians?

Well, it gives those in positions of military leadership more power to intervene in the lives of civilians, introducing curfews, conducting searches of private property without notice and even banning travel.

Residents also lose a number of fundamental rights including the right to receive education, the right to work and freedom of movement.

Men aged between 18 and 60 have also been banned from leaving the country.

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