Empowering women in ICT is one of the ways to bring women aboard/ abreast the information age. However the extent of how this is done and success is acheived differes from rural to urban from educated to uneducated. Even though there are many benefits, rightly said, a) Some projects seem to take out the money from the society or family unit she lives. A couple for example have a different klifestyle to single men or single women living separately. This means that their lifestyles are different. |so like most projects focussing on women empowerment, the wome has been taken sinly. if a women has a husband or children, she has to be taklen collectively. Mistakes have been commited by thinking that, a woman can work on her own in this case. No. Where this is the case, instead she should be considered as a family. 2. I have talked of literacy levels, societal roles and sanctions, economic power, education, etc all these play an important role to the successful implementation of ICT4D for women, 3. Compared to men, women have limited resources particularly in rural areas, and their power to control, determine and use resources is also limited. This means that, where for exampla COST SHARING has been insitutted, the woman automatically became left out. SOLUTIONS: ICT4D would be successful by considering the women as part of that society where she is, and this way, working out together best ways. Although not a primary focus, ICT4D projects shoulsd take into consideration awareness creation of the importance of ICTs for development regardless of sex; it must be made clear that the woman can learn and use computers much as the money, etc.
Talking about gender, it is best first to consider the roles and responsibilities of the men and the women. I have talked of cost, availability, user friendliness, time table, space. In rural areas, when we talk of ICT4D, we have also to consider the level of education and therefore, capacity to understand and use it. And most importantly, we have to think of the FORMAT. This would include language. As most people in rural areas are less literate, their capacity to use ICTS hence becomes constrained. Worst affected are women who due to social-economic and cultural reasons, the majority of whom might have missed to get to good education levels. And one of the things that I have been discussing a lot is: the end of result of the ICT4D. Is it for technology sake or and most importantly, for CHANGING PEOPLE’S LIVES– sustainable livelihoods.
It is important to consider gender issues as we talk of ICT4D. There are several reasons: a) Considering the different roles and time schedule, definitely it is important to consider gender. I will use simple examples. take the case where a very good program is telecast or broadcast at that critical time when the MOTHER is busy on the farm or preparing food for her children… the man may benefit because he is resting and watching but the MOTHER is busy in the kitchen. Another example is the use of mobile phones: Imagine you have to use the platform. because of limited economic power, the women may not have the airtime to call back and contribute to a live telephone talk show on radio.. and so have her ideas not voiced. These 2 examples may suffice to illustrate my strong support for the question posed. Then what should be done or put under consideration: a) Cost of the technology b) Time schedule (day-to-day or hour to hour timetable) c) Access and affordability of the technology