Women's Rights Online Translating Access into Empowerment

The newly adopted UN Sustainable Development Goals include an important pledge to harness information and communications technologies (ICTs) to advance women’s empowerment, as well as a commitment to connect everyone in Least Developed Countries to the Internet by 2020. However, until now, estimates of the “digital divide” between women and men in use of the Internet and other ICTs have been sketchy

This report explores the real extent of that divide in nine cities across nine developing countries, in order to gain a better understanding of the empowering potential of ICTs as a weapon against poverty and gender inequality, and the barriers that must be overcome to unlock it. Research was designed and carried out in close collaboration with leading national civil society organisations in the countries we studied. The stereotype of poor people in the developing world uniformly “left behind” in the darkness of a life without Internet connectivity is as misleading as its opposite: the cliche in which almost everyone in Nairobi or Jakarta now wields a mobile phone that gushes forth market price data, health information and opportunities for civic engagement. Instead, our research reveals a picture of extreme inequalities in digital empowerment − which seem to parallel wider societal disparities in information-seeking, voice and civic engagement. For example, Internet use among young, well-educated men and students in poor communities of the developing world rivals that of Americans, while Internet use among older, uneducated women is practically non-existent

Source: Webfoundation

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This article is culled from daily press coverage from around the world. It is posted on the Urban Gateway by way of keeping all users informed about matters of interest. The opinion expressed in this article is that of the author and in no way reflects the opinion of UN-Habitat

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