Reflecting on gender through the 'information society' prism


The emergent information or network society context  offers a range of opportunities for women and girls to enhance their participation across economic, socio-cultural and public-political realms of life, as well as the scope for enhancing their individual freedoms. The Post-2015 Agenda therefore, both in terms of goals and related targets and indicators, has to promote and measure women's participation in the information society and their access to and effective use of the Internet and ICTs. This paper recommends that the question of gender and ICTs must be addressed in the post-2015 global development agenda, in the following manner: 

  1. There should be a specific goal related to the meaningful and effective use of ICTs and the Internet, that is measured through gender sensitive targets and indicators. This should take into account the quality of access, and not just availability. 
  2. There should be a specific goal related to gender equality and women's and girls' empowerment that takes into account access to and effective use of ICTs and the Internet as a target (with appropriate indicators) within the goal. The larger goal of women's empowerment in the contemporary information society cannot be disembedded from the context that ICTs are creating.
  3. In order to assess gender equality in the information society context, it is important to  evolve  gender-disaggregated indicators under the above-mentioned  goals, which can capture the individual-household, public-institutional and community-social aspects of access to ICTs, in a nuanced manner. 

The paper highlights the areas that global and national policy and programmatic frameworks need to address, in order to promote the  gender equality agenda in the information society context: (a) Promotion of access and effective use of the Internet and ICTs (b) Creation of opportunity structures for women  and (c) Building equitable techno-architectures.

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