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Round Table Discussion: Roles of Gender & ICT in Achieving the Millennium Development Goals

Knowledge Fair, 2003,
MC Atrium, World Bank

Audience participation in the discussion included people from Bank regions (ECA and South Asia), WBI, Country Gateway, Technology Empowerment Center, Federal Government, Academy for Educational Development, Winrock International, and theJapan Bank for International Cooperation.

All the participants were convinced that ICTs are powerful tools for empowering poor women and men as well as overcoming gender inequality. Each participantshared his/her case studies and concerns regarding gender and thedigital divide. Many stressed that we should not just talk about the need ofwomen's access and use of ICTs, but also should look at more contents development and contents delivery relevant to local women and girls indeveloping countries.

We discussed that there are only one or two countries that incorporated gender into their national ICT polices, so gender equality at the decision making level of the ICT sector is still at unacceptable levels. The recent review of World Bank ICT Sectoral Projects (out of 176 active Bank projects) has also revealed that Gender analysis is rarely carried over into the ICT component and only 10 % of all projects considered gender issues in ICT.

Nagy Hanna, Senior Advisor, e-Development (ISGIA), closed the discussion saying that we often talk about the disadvantages side of technologies, but we should talk more about future opportunities. The participants all agreed that this topic needs further discussion. Because of the importance of the topic, participants continued the discussion beyond the scheduled finishing time.


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