"Information and communication technologies
and their impact on and use as an instrument
for the advancement and empowerment of women"
17 June to 19 July 2002
"ICT as a tool for enhancing women's capabilities"
During the third week of the UN-DAW online conference the discussion focused on ICT as a tool for enhancing women's capabilities. Fifteen responses were generated with almost half originating in Africa and the other half coming from North America, South America, the Middle East and the Caribbean. Multiple subtopics, including health, education and information dissemination, fell under the general theme for the week making it difficult to find simple categories and make general recommendations. However, participants made several common observations:
THE IMPORTANCE OF OLDER ICTS
The older ICTs are the tools on which this summary will focus. Throughout the previous weeks of this online conference we have had little opportunity to look closely at older ICTs. It is clear from this week's discussion that these tools remain highly useful and must get adequate attention.
According to discussants, older ICTs have several advantages over the more recently developed ICTs because they are:
Many projects easily use older ICTs with informal sector women because literacy is not a pre-requisite to participating in much of the older technology. In addition, the information that is transmitted on older ICTs does not require translation into more popular forms in order to be understood. Much of the information transmitted on the newer ICTs is not usable by informal sector women in its raw form. Gia Gaspard Taylor, a participant from Trinidad and Tobago underscores this point when she describes having to "dramatize through storytelling all the contributions."
Older ICTs can also serve an important role, when necessary, as a bridging point of access to the newer ICTs. One contributor describes a Telecenter project in Uganda that successfully developed " initiatives that appeal to the groups of women who had otherwise been intimidated by the thought of visiting the center. By providing content that they were familiar with and interested in, we were able to introduce them to other forms of ICT technologies." (Sandra Aluoch)
the many advantages of using older ICTs let us not be naive that women
have mastered them. Many participants registered that when addressing
the older technology there still needs to be some progress made in:
Discussants described a few specific projects in which ICTs enhanced women's capability. These projects focused on developing capability in different areas.
of decision-making skills:
frequently repeated recommendation during this week's discussion was the
urging by participants for the establishment of centers (generally known
as telecenters) where women can have access to both the newer and the
older technologies. In addition, participants also made multiple subsidiary
Contributions to the discussion on ICT as a tool for enhancing women's capabilities continue to be received. These later contributions could not contribute to this summary but will indeed be used to generate final recommendations. I appreciate any feedback that you would like to offer on the weekly summary for this complex theme. Thank you very much for continuing to use your precious time to think and to participate in this discussion.
Division for the Advancement of Women -- DAW
Department of Economic and Social Affairs