ICTs for Women’s Empowerment

Notes from the World Bank workshop “ICTs for Women’s Empowerment” in Washington.

Detailed CVs of the speakers

Samia Melhem, Senior Operations Officer

ICTs are a great equalizer, they allow people to reach places and profit from services they would have never profited without them

Promoting women employment is also an economic factor – doing things differently – e.g. women project leaders, women teachers, …

also in IT policy making – diversity and variety makes decision more successful

they have also different information needs than men – but more men are producing (internet) content

Nilufar Ahmad, Senior Gender Specialist

why is gender important in the infrastructure sector?

  • Sri Lanka – cybercafes have turned into “young men’s” club, where women don’t go to
  • they don’t feel comfortable
  • solution: cybercafe in a temple, women could use it
  • would not be possible in Pakistan of Afghanistan

in infrastructure projects such effects should be kept in mind

women and men don’t have the same power, they don’t have the same needs

Claudia Morrell, CEO, Multinational Development of Women in Technology

strong focus on access when discussing gender inequalities

for women there are barriers in access – you have to ask what the barriers are to address them

literacy is important – do you speak the language the content is in? is there localized content?

women know what content might be interesting for women

women know what design is fitting for women

another key point: access to leadership, women are often excluded from careers

NGO capacity – who drives big, important issues forward in the developing world, where the civil society is not as strong as in the Western World?

Nistha Sinha, Economist, PRMGE

Gender is an important topic

solid evidence base is vital for policy recommendations

it’s important to know your data source and what it tells you

Q & A

how do you think should international organizations address ICT and gender problems connected to people being victims of the international crisis – shouldn’t be saving them from dying be a bigger issue?

  • of course surviving is more important, but ICT literacy can also be a big benefit in such a situation; any infrastructure can help save the population – streets, watter supply, as well as ICT – providing possibility to get a job

there is not enough data right now about indicators concerning gender – or does the panel know about a indicator framework? or is anybody working on that?

  • there is no universal framework the World Bank has adopted
  • figuring out the indicators is important and is still lacking
  • it’s also vital to know what to do with the indicators – how to use them

why is there not enough support on security in the context of projects? is there a thought ensuring security so that the work becomes sustainable?

  • of course security is a substantial issue and needs to be looked after; generally projects in the development context need to shift their focus towards sustainability which also involves security

recommendation: number one issue for global corporation currently is (out)sourcing and finding the perfect workforce for their needs, so inject the private sector business with your views that women in ICTs have large potentials; what is the communication with the private sector to assist and collaborate on the topic?

  • demand for it is increasing – also in developing countries, see example of India
  • the comment is valuable and maybe it is possible to create a set of advice what to put in the report to address these topics

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ICTs for Women’s Empowerment
was published on 16.06.2009 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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