It is a hard truth that the majority of the poor are women and they experience vulnerability and powerlessness to a much higher degree than men. Equitable access to ICT technology and the autonomy to receive and produce the information relevant to their concerns and perspectives are therefore critical issues for women. ICT for the vast majority of women in developing countries is not feasible for the foreseeable future. Until they know the importance of ICT and how it can empower them, women will still lag behind.
Take a look at how mobile telephony and the Internet have revolutionized the way we work, learn, interact and relax. Information Technology (IT) and Telecommunications are changing our way of life. ICTs are here to stay because we live in the age where quality access to information and knowledge is a key to survival and performance.
So, how can ICT empower women? How can gender be mainstreamed in ICT policies and strategies? Discussion on group came up with some probable answers and solutions as prior.
Summary on the second debate:
Women Empowerment through ICT: What is the role of ICT in the economic and social development of women? This issue touches all facets of society. Information and communication technologies could give a significant boost to the political and social empowerment of women, and the promotion of gender equality. Women must be active ICT participants – users, professionals, creators, producers, and entrepreneurs. To make a difference, women must engage in productive ICT and ICT-driven activities – usage and production.
Equal representation: Should aim to develop a more equitable representation, not only regarding ratios but also regarding responsibilities and authority. This “produced” participation at a high level of decision-making will ensure that women are no longer subjected to be passive consumers of services offered to them but rather enable women to play a decisive role in deciding the kind of services they want and the buildings and strategies which could best address the needs of women in society and community.
Capitalize and leverage usage of ICT capabilities: Potential of ICT will only be realized if the gender dimensions of the Information Society – regarding users’ needs, conditions of access, policies, applications and regulatory frameworks – are adequately understood and appropriately addressed by all stakeholders.
Easy access and control: Access refers to the ability to make use of the technology as well as the information and knowledge it provides, while control relates to the capacity to decide how ICTs are used and who can have access to them. Practical use refers to the ability of women and girls to use ICTs strategically to advance social development goals. Without real access to technology, there is a limit to how and what women can contribute. Access needs to improve – availability and quality. More women, especially in the rural and informal sector, need to use ICT to get things done in their lives and work. Better access to information and the ability to tap into the benefits of ICT enables women to be more competitive.
Gender defined role: Women must combine simultaneously two jobs – the professional and the domestic. So, it ‘s hard for them to manage time.
Absence from decision-making process: Although the number of women in jobs involving ICT expertise is always rising, the same is not necessarily true of women’s access to decision-making and control of these resources. Women are under-represented in all ICT decision-making structures, including policy and regulatory institutions, ministries responsible for ICT, and boards and senior management of private ICT companies. Decision making in ICTs is treated as a purely technical area (typically for male experts), where civil society viewpoints are given little or no space, rather than as a political domain.