Fifth Annual ICT4D Postgraduate Symposium (II). Gender

Notes from the Fifth IPID ICT4D Postgraduate Symposium 2010, held at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain, on September 9-10th, 2010. More notes on this event: ipid2010.

ICT Policy Analysis in Muslim Countries – Women’s perspective
Salma Abbasi

Categories of barriers and challenges that came up when analyzing the impact of ICTs in people’s lives: Culture and society, language relevancy, gender bias in the industry, ICT policy, technology and technophobia.

The influence of ICT Policies has been stated to have a deep influence in the adoption of ICT by women. Notwithstanding, the gender issue, or the differences between men’s and women’s differentiated positions are usually not considered in policy, included especial issues related to women (e.g. motherhood) and, by extension, to many other collectives.

These barriers affect the phases of design, formulation process and monitoring and data. And, so, they do have consequences as exclusion from the information society, isolation, further marginalization, etc.

Main barriers identified: economic aspects, knowledge capability, cultural and social aspects, implementation and monitoring.

If women differentiation has an impact, do policies include this issue?

Policy analyses and direct interviews show that, in general, there are very few mentions to women in ICT policies, and much less references to girls, gender, inclusion, marginalized or men.

Where have been women been referenced in ICT policies and plans?

Ghana, Uganda, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Lebanon, KSA or Afphanistan are the leading countries in considering women in their ICT plans, though in different issues. Similar results we get when we look at the barriers and how they are addressed in the policy texts, though only 13 out of 51 key barriers were mentioned.

When it comes to women being involved in the policy formulation process, results show that this kind of participation is rare, being led in the good side by Saudi Arabia.


Ismael Peña-López: Does gender in ICT Policies correlate with the situation of women in a country? A: Not at all: it’s all about the context. There are some countries (e.g. Afghanistan) were paper does not match reality, while in others (e.g. Saudi Arabia) nominally women have fewer rights but policies are very active even if not formally pro-women.

Chris Foster: why muslim countries? Are policy recommendations possible? A: There is few literature in (a) policies (b) muslim countries (c) muslim countries and women and ICT policies. And a second part of the research is about implementation and monitoring.


Fifth Annual ICT4D Postgraduate Symposium (2010)

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2010) “Fifth Annual ICT4D Postgraduate Symposium (II). Gender” In ICTlogy, #84, September 2010. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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