Gender Equality & ICT Policy

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Gender Equality & ICT Policy. Presentation by Gillian M Marcelle World Bank Digital Divide Seminar Series Washington DC October 8 th 2002. Economics of the ICT Sector. Globalised production, and consumption organised through large private sector owned firms - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • Gender Equality & ICT PolicyPresentation by Gillian M MarcelleWorld Bank Digital Divide Seminar SeriesWashington DCOctober 8th 2002

  • Economics of the ICT SectorGlobalised production, and consumption organised through large private sector owned firmsConcentrated R&D, with innovation activities increasingly in private firmsMost segments in industry operate on voluntary codes and self regulationUntil the bubble burst massive shareholder wealth accretion in the TMT sector through stock market value appreciationValuations based on perception of new economyTelecoms sector (capital intensive); computer hardware and software sectors (vulnerable to fluctuations in customer demand); media (cyclical); Internet value-added services (still a novelty)

  • Politics of the ICT SectorConcerns about de-industrialisation and recognition that OECD countries could benefit from ICT enabled growth led to support for ICT companies. These trends were at their height in the 1990s when many developed countries prepared high profile ICT policies and programmes Large transnational corporations most influential actor in these programmes and policies with governments playing a facilitating role

    High profile ICT programmes went hand in hand with the myth of the New Economy and the created perception that new rules applied In good times, ICT companies were considered to be Standard bearers of change (organisational culture, remuneration packages, age profile of workers and managers etc.)ICT companies and owners expressed interest in social responsibility profiles

    ICT sector is still considered to be strategic by governments, but changing political and economic circumstances may lead to less hands-off approach. There is also evidence that the international community wishes to influence how the ICT sector evolves.

  • ICT & Development Policy AdviceINVESTMENT FLOWSSECTORREFORMBenefits for whom?

  • Global ICT Issues

  • Gender Equality & ICT PolicyIn very few countries, ICT policy takes up gender equality goals in response to equity argumentsWhen efficiency arguments are made, these are questioned on grounds of lack of evidenceInstead pilot projects and other market development activity are encouraged. These are usually small scale and often unsustainable. In the past decade, many training programmes to introduce basic ICT literacy have been establishedGender equality at the decision-making level of the ICT sector still at unacceptable levelsIn civil society movements in the ICT sector, gender is often advanced as a a subset of disability and other marginalised groups rather than a legitimate cross cutting principle, among the gender & ICT groups, there is no consensus as to what are priority areas for action in the ICT sector despite many years of research and advocacy on these issues, as a result efforts are fragmented

  • A Pro-Active Role for the World Bank?Gender equality is mainstreamed in other sectors, why should ICT be any different?Are ICT loans and investment subject to gender audits?Does WB ICT policy advice include gender mainstreaming assistance?National governments often lack expertise to implement gender equality programmes in the ICT sector, can the WB play a role in capacity building?Private sector action has been limited and inconsistent, can the WB make gender equality programmes a condition for future lending?

  • A Pro-Active Role for the World Bank?Can the WB be more actively involved in supporting policy research to promote understanding about the gender digital divide, and to support policy advocacy and lobbying efforts?In developed countries, womens employment conditions in ICT companies are often inequitable in terms of recruitment, retention, mentoring etc. Can WB together with ILO and other catalyse improvements?In developing countries, national policy makers adhere to the conventional wisdom on what makes an ICT sector grow. Can the WB play a role in changing the understanding of the positive benefits of gender equality in the ICT sector?

  • ConclusionThe global ICT sector has not led on gender equality issues -- WB can act as a catalyst for improvementWB can partner with UNIFEM, ITU, governments and civil society organisations to integrate gender equality objectives in ICT policy and programmesThe digital divide and the gender digital divide will not be narrowed without recognition that markets in the New Economy" are characterised by market failureInternational community will be setting out broad vision of the World Information Society and articulating a programme of action; this Summit (WSIS) should be an important site of engagement for gender equality activists including the World Bank

  • Background Material

  • WSIS-Gender Caucus: BackgroundAdvocates of gender equality in the ICT sector are concerned that gender perspectives should be a core principle of the WSIS and its outcomes

    Formation group supported by UNIFEM met at Bamako 2002, African regional preparatory meeting for WSIS May 25-30 May in Mali

    22 organisations (govts, private sector, NGOs and UN system) constituted the formation group :ABANTU for Development, ACWICT, African Connection Programme, AIS-GWG, AMARC-WIN, AMARC Africa, APC Africa Womens Programme, AQ Solutions Association of YAM-Bukri ENDA, GEEP, FEMNET, MISA, NDIMA, Network of African Women Economists, UNDP/SURF West Africa, UNIFEM, Unite dappui au programme de la cooperation Canada-Malienne, WomensNet (SA), WOUGNET, ZWRCN, Zimbabwe Ministry of Transport and Communications

  • WSIS-Gender Caucus: Background (2)WSIS-GC mandate: to integrate gender perspectives in the WSIS working strategically in partnership with existing initiatives and organisations with similar objectives The WSISGC recognises that there are no official mechanisms for gender to be included in the programme and action-plan of the summit, and that the absence of co-ordination among efforts to mainstream gender limits impact and effectiveness

  • WSIS-GC Work ProgrammeCo-ordinated intervention to mainstream gender equality in planning of WSIS and its programme of action Policy advocacy and lobbying to all stakeholders including national governments, subregional organisations, WSIS secretariat, UNESCO, ITU etcPolicy research to support womens right to equitable participation in digital opportunities and to promote understanding of the benefits of a World Information Society with gender equality

  • WSIS-GC 18 Month Action PlanExpand membership through partnerships beginning with invitation to members of ITU Working Group on Gender WGGIInvite partnership with World Bank, UNITAR, and INSTRAW on research to support gender justice advocacy in ICT sectorContinue work through on-line discussion lists and meetings including at events organised by partners Elaboration and finalisation of work-programme

  • Key Recommendations to WSIS SecretariatInvite representatives of the WSIS Gender Caucus to participate in the official programme of the Prep Coms and the Summit Include Gender and ICT policy training in any of the capacity development programmes that are planned for WSIS, including WSIS-TRAIN Encourage member states to involve National Machineries dealing with women's and gender issues in national preparations and to include representatives in delegations for the PrepCom and the Summits

  • Key Recommendations ContdThe WSIS Gender Caucus believes that there should be representation of at least 30% women on delegations, as well as individuals and groups with technical expertise in gender and women's rights UNIFEM and other advocates for gender within the UN system need to be strongly represented on the HLSOC