08/11/2002
Press Release
WOM/1368



UNITED NATIONS EXPERT GROUP MEETING TO EXAMINE IMPACT OF INFORMATION


AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES ON WOMEN


The United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women, in cooperation with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the United Nations Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Task Force Secretariat, will convene an expert group meeting on “Information and communication technologies and their impact on and use as an instrument for the advancement and empowerment of women”.  The meeting will take place in the Republic of Korea from 11 to

14 November.


The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, adopted by the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995, drew attention to the emerging global communications network and its impact on public policies, and private attitudes and behaviour.  It called for the empowerment of women through enhancing their skills, knowledge, access to and use of information technologies.  The Beijing+5 special session of the General Assembly, held in June 2000 to review progress made in implementation of the Platform for Action, recognized the increased opportunities created by information and communication technologies for women to contribute to knowledge sharing, networking and electronic commerce activities.  It also noted that poverty, lack of access and opportunities, illiteracy, including computer illiteracy, and language barriers prevented some women from using ICT, including the Internet.  Steps were proposed to ensure that women benefited fully from ICT, including equal access to ICT-related education, training and entrepreneurship opportunities, and equal access as producers and consumers of ICT through public and private partnerships.


As the title of the meeting suggests, the expert group meeting will address the challenges and benefits women encounter with regard to ICT and explore ways to close the gender-based digital divide.  It will develop policy recommendations and concrete actions to be taken at national, regional and international levels, and by a variety of actors, that aim at securing the full benefit of ICT in pursuit of gender equality and the advancement and empowerment of women.  In particular, the expert group meeting will address the following areas:  national ICT policies and gender equality; ICT as an instrument for participation; ICT as an instrument for enhancing women’s capabilities; and ICT as an instrument for women’s economic empowerment.


The outcome of the expert group meeting will be a report containing a summary of the discussion and recommendations addressed to different actors at different levels on ICT as a tool for the empowerment of women and the promotion of gender equality.  The findings and conclusions of the expert group meeting will also provide the basis for a report of the Secretary-General on this theme to the


forty-seventh session of the Commission on the Status of Women (4 to 15 March 2003).  The outcome of the Commission’s consideration of this theme will be a contribution to the World Summit on the Information Society (Geneva, 2003 and Tunis, 2005).


Experts at the meeting will include Gloria Bonder (Argentina); Nancy Hafkin (United States); Shafika Isaaks (South Africa); Sonia Nunes Jorge (Portugal); Gillian Kirkup (United Kingdom); Rita Mijumbi (Uganda); Young-Joo Paik (Republic of Korea); Chat Ramilo (Philippines); Fatimata Seye Sylla (Senegal); and Malgorzata Tarasiewicz (Poland).  Gillian Marcelle (Trinidad and Tobago), who has prepared a background paper for the meeting as a consultant to the Division for the Advancement of Women, will also participate.  In addition, observers from United Nations entities, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, academia and interested governments will attend.


For further information on this meeting, please visit: http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/egm/ict2002/index.html.


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