The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has commended this year’s International Women’s Day theme for recognising the role of innovation in advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

The world today marked the International Women’s Day under the theme: ‘Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change.’

In a statement, SADC Executive Secretary, Dr Stergomerna Lawrence Tax said the theme calls for everyone to do things differently to achieve transformative and better development out-comes for the society.

“It is a call for everyone to do things differently if we are to achieve transformative and better development outcomes for women, girls, men and boys in our society,” she said.

Dr Lawrence Tax however bemoaned the low levels of women participation in technology, innovation and science globally.

“Women and girls globally, including in our region, continue to be less engaged and under-represented in technology and innovation, and this creates a missed opportunity in terms of their influence and ideas in transforming our society,” she said.

Dr Lawrence Tax also said through a number of instruments, SADC recognises gender equality and development as an essential part of regional integration.

She called on SADC member states to intensify efforts towards advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.