Bridging the Gender Digital Divide: A Report on Gender and ICT

What are the opportunities and challenges faced by women in relation to Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in the Central Eastern Europe (CEE)/Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region? National Action Plans for Information Policies, which guide national ICT development, are being developed by many countries, but a gender perspective is largely absent from these plans. At the same time, women's organisations in the region have generally focused on issues such as domestic violence, trafficking, gender equality legislation and reproductive health and have not really engaged with ICT issues. There has therefore been little pressure on policy makers to take gender into account in the ICT arena. Yet, women in this region share many of the challenges experienced by women elsewhere. These include unequal access to advanced ICT training and exclusion from developing online content that responds to their needs and priorities. The report recommends measures by the UN, governments and donors to strengthen integration of gender in ICTs in the CEE/CIS region, including: support for the involvement of women and women's organisations in the region in the WSIS process; further research on the status of women in the ICT sector and the gender impact of ICT policies; strengthening gender within ICT projects; and capacity building for ICT project personnel on gender.
Commissioned by UNDP, this report represents a joint effort of UNDP and UNIFEM to deepen knowledge about gender dimensions within ICT for Development (ICTD) and to strengthen integration of gender within the work of UNDP and others working to promote ICTD in the region. The report highlights the need for increased action to address imbalances between women’s and men’s access to and participation in ICTs in the CEE/CIS region. It also emphasizes the powerful potential of ICTs as a vehicle for advancing gender equality.
The report target regional and national ICT policymakers, ICT and development specialists, as well as gender equality experts and advocates.
Publication date: 
Thursday, January 13, 2005

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