What are the dangers of creating a digital divide, a disparity between those who make use of ICTs efficiently and effectively, and those who do not? Do women in Africa have the capacity and skills to make effective use of ICTs? The ICT revolution has only really impacted the major cities so far - how can we deploy a sustainable ICT infrastructure that empowers marginalised people living in rural areas, particularly women?
Contributions need to be written in English language and in a style accessible to a wide audience. Please submit abstracts to editor@agenda. org.za
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Specify the specific key area you would like to write on
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Deadline: Please submit no later than January 28th, 2007.
ICTs are key tools to transform the way women live, and the way development takes place. The use of ICTs enables more information to be found, retrieved and disseminated faster than ever before – it means we are moving to an information- and knowledge-based society. ICTs have many potential benefits for women, for example an increased ability to work from home, improved employment opportunities in the fast-growing IT sector, improved global market access through e-commerce and improved access of women, especially rural women, to distance learning and distance work programme.
Yet, ICT use remains difficult, if not impossible, for the majority of women worldwide. Women often find themselves at a disadvantage, whether through a perception that technology is a male domain or due to lack of skills, education, opportunity or access to finance. There is also a lack of gendered access to ICTs and ICT training - especially for rural women; a lack of awareness of women to the benefits of ICTs and language barriers to the use of ICTs for non-native speakers of English.
There are multiple challenges to ICTs becoming a positive force for women's economic empowerment, including the large percentage of women in developing countries who work in the informal sector; the lack of support for women working in the formal sector and the lack of infrastructure in developing countries for conducting e-commerce. Engendering ICTs is not merely about greater use of ICTs by women. It is about transforming the ICT systems using a rights-based approach.
Empowering Women for Gender Equity
20 Diakonia Avenue
Tel +27 31 304 7001
Fax +27 31 304 7018editor@agenda. org.za www.agenda.org. za