The aim of the gender equality and ICT checklist is to ensure that both men and women have equal chances to use and benefit from ICTs and to participate in the knowledge economy. The checklist is a way for project planners to consider opportunities that may have been overlooked.
Balance between general principles of gender analysis and ICT-specific issues
This checklist is based on both general principles of gender analysis that are common to all project design, implementation, and ICT-specific issues. Although gender analysis has become an accepted part of most development interventions, it is still a rarity in ICT for development projects. Therefore, gender analysis of ICT projects involves the application of general principles of gender analysis as well as gender considerations specific to ICTs.
The first part of this checklist contains questions related to the inclusion of gender issues in the project cycle of ICT projects or projects with significant ICT components. The second part outlines indicative gender issues found in ICT projects and components and includes: national strategies for information infrastructure, strengthening of regulatory structures, and ICTs in education and training.
I. Gender issues in the ICT project development cycle
Project identification and design
- What are the special needs of men and women for ICTs related to the project?
- Have both men's and women's needs been considered in defining project objectives?
- Have both men and women participated in setting these objectives?
- What is the gendered division of labor in the target population of the project?
- Are there ways in which the ICTs employed in the project would increase men's and women's productivity?
- Do men and women have equal access and control of resources?
- Do men and women have equal access and control of project benefits?
- Without any proactive intervention, is it likely that the target population of the project would be gender imbalanced?
- What are the constraints that might prevent men or women from equitable participation in the project?
- Are there barriers and constraints that might affect men's or women's access to opportunities, resources, and decision making?
- Has the impact of the project on gender divisions in the target population been considered?
- Are there any ways in which it might adversely affect the situation of women?
- If any negative impacts are foreseen, can the project be adjusted to overcome them?
- Have women and gender-aware organizations been consulted in the project planning process?
- Is the project design team and implementation staff, especially those concerned with ICT delivery, gender aware? If not, might they benefit from gender-awareness training?
- Have efforts been made to recruit gender-balanced staff and consultants?
- Is there a gender expert on the project team?
- Does the project include measures to equalize opportunities and access for both men and women?
- If it is likely that women would be underrepresented in project activities, are there specific actions that target women?
- Are the institutions that will deliver services under the project gender-aware?
- Do men and women have equitable access to project ICT resources, including credit, training, and facilities?
- Are there partnerships that could be built that would enhance outreach and improve access to ensure gender equality?
- Are regular consultations held with all key stakeholders?
- Will project monitoring data be disaggregated by sex?
- Have indicators been identified that can be measured with sex-disaggregated data?
Are any gender-positive outcomes anticipated? The possible gender-positive outcomes that might result from ICT projects are:
- Development of ICT policy that recognizes and redresses gender inequalitites;
- Improved opportunities for men and women to access, use and benefit from ICTs;
- Shared control over decision-making and resources related to ICTs;
- Improvements in women's income from the use of ICTs in the project;
- More women entering the ICT technical workforce;
- More women using ICTs as a result of the project;
- Increased access to relevant information for women as well as
- Is gender analysis included in the terms of reference of the evaluation team?
- Is the evaluation team gender-balanced?
- Will sex disaggregated data, including sex-disaggregated indicators, be collected and analyzed?
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This checklist of gender issues in ICT projects and components is only indicative of the many varieties of ICT for development projects and the gender issues they include. It is meant to stimulate further examination of these issues and to illustrate that there are clear gender issues in seemingly technical and gender-neutral areas.
II. Checklist of gender issues in ICT projects and components
1. National strategies for information infrastructure (e-strategies)
- Is the infrastructure to be deployed throughout the country in the areas where women are in the majority?
- Does the proposed modernization provide infrastructure that is affordable to most women?
- Do service providers and ICT equipment offer cost-effective and appropriate solutions for the majority of women?
- Does planned network infrastructure cater for the majority, with concern for universal access to ICTs?
- Does network infrastructure include forward-looking technology such as wireless alternatives that ensure low-cost and affordable access?
- When new technologies are introduced, are women included in training for their use?
- Are technology choices being made that are affordable to low-income groups that are likely to include more women than men?
- Are low-cost technologies such as Wi-Fi, Internet, and VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) telephony legal and available?
- Is there a choice of mobile standards that might provide cheap and effective service for underserved areas?
- Have assessments on technology choices been done to determine who will use the technology and for what purpose?
- Has consideration been given to user-friendly technology, appropriate to those with low literacy levels?
2. Strengthening of regulatory structures
- Is sector liberalization promoted, with the view of bringing in investment and bringing down end-user prices to make telecommunications and ICTs more accessible to men and women?
- Is consideration given to the reduction of high customs duties on mobile telephones and computer equipment that serve as deterrents to women users who are likely to have less disposable income than men?
- Will rebalancing of international and domestic tariffs eliminate existing subsidies on local service? (This may mean higher rates for local calls, which hit the poor, the majority of whom are women, the hardest. Among the ways to compensate for rebalancing costs are tariffs based on forward-looking costs and regional ([rural vs. urban] tariffs.)
- Is the national regulator directing private sector players to deliver on such social and gender policy objectives as universal access?
- In return for granting licenses, is the regulator compelling service providers to provide service to underserved areas where women predominate?
- Is the regulator providing funds for research, development, and testing of technology that will serve women?
- Are gender equality concerns part of the community-service obligations performed by cellular phone operators?
- Do regulators permit the resale of mobile phone services, which may be profitable businesses for women to establish?
- Has the regulatory framework considered reducing licensing fees, spectrum prices, and interconnection charges that might make ICTs more accessible to women?
- Has consideration been given to reducing fees for telecommunications, ISP, and mobile service licenses that are passed on to users, limiting affordability by women and the poor?
- Has consideration been given to allocating a certain number of telecommunications licenses to women-owned businesses or businesses with women in management positions?
- Is there a gender-equality licensing policy that waives license fees for communications businesses run by women entrepreneurs or those that provide services to underserved areas, particularly where women are concentrated?
- Are licensing procedures transparent so that women applicants can have ready access to the information?
- Do license awards contain conditions that promote gender analysis and mainstreaming in that particular company?
- Do universal access policies stress public access points as an alternative to more capital-intensive choices (one line per home) and ensure that locations of public access points are gender-sensitive (for example, not in bars or auto shops)?
- Whenever access to ICT is considered, do women have access? If not, what actions can be taken so that they will have access?
Universal service obligations
- If regulators call for establishment of telecentres in underserved areas as part of license-holder universal service obligations, have the different needs of men and women in the concerned communities been considered?
- Does proposed service delivery to underserved areas reflect the geographic gender distribution in the population?
- Is any priority for service, subsidies, or special pricing given to disadvantaged or rural women such as single mothers, widows, or handicapped women?
Radio frequency spectrum
- Is it possible or legal for women to obtain licenses to operate community radio stations?
Research, development, and innovation
- Are there incentives that encourage women to engage in ICT research and innovation?
- Are tools and software being developed using local languages? Is there research and development on technologies for the illiterate and neo-literate?
- Are there subsidies for research efforts that promote women innovators in ICTs?
- Are there scholarships and grant programs to encourage women to enter science and technology?
- Are there means to ensure that ICT research and development programs promote and accept women's participation?
3. ICTs in education and training
Projects involving training in ICT skills
- Are there women facilitators and trainers?
- Are training materials accessible to illiterate populations and non-English speakers?
- Are child-care facilities necessary?
- Are training activities and access times/locations compatible with women's daily schedules and possible travel limitations?
ICTs and education projects
- Have efforts been made to ensure equitable access to ICTs for women and girls in schools and other education activities?
- Are girls' and women's responsibilities for domestic chores taken into account in scheduling access and training?
- Are there cultural or social issues that call for single-sex instruction in ICTs?
Systems for learning and training
- Do women have equal access to technical training?
- Have efforts been made to ensure that women are among those trained when introducing computer hardware and information systems?
- Are necessary adjustments made to facilitate women and girl's participation in view of multiple roles and cultural constraints?
- Are there mechanisms for women to enter these fields and training programs?
- To develop role models for young girls?
- To stem the brain drain?
- Are training opportunities available not only for technology professionals, but for nonprofessionals to use ICTs?
ICT professional training and workshops
- Have attempts been made to find and select women participants?
Distance learning projects
- Are data on students and users disaggregated by sex (to show possible gender differences in users)?
- Are the information needs of both men and women considered in designing programs?
- Is the content of programs relevant to both men and women?
- Are there constraints to women participating in the courses (for example, are courses for civil servants delivered at times that are convenient to women workers?).
- Does the distance learning incorporate flexibility in scheduling and location to accommodate both men and women?
- Are there any social or cultural problems with mixed-sex instruction?
- Are there differences between men and women in subject and technical skill levels that require remediation or accommodation?
- Are there differences in foreign language abilities by sex among the targeted recipients? For example, if courses are in English, are women less likely to have a mastery of English?
- Does the course content recognize gender issues in the substantive material for the course (for example, in public administration)?
ICT content development projects
- Is the information and content distributed in ways that make it easily accessible to women and men at varying levels of literacy, education and economic status?
- Is information made readily available to all users, regardless of class, race, or gender?
- Are opportunities provided for women to discuss the information they receive and are ways available to deal with socioeconomic barriers?
ICT industry development and labor policies
- Are girls and women given encouragement and incentives to enter all segments of the ICT labor force?
ICT business development and e-commerce
- Does enabling legislation for e-commerce consider and encourage women entrepreneurs? Are there possibilities for women or women's groups to run and own small and medium ICT-enabled communications businesses, including telecenters?
- Are any telecommunications licenses allocated to women-owned businesses?
- Do projects providing ICT services to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) recognize the high proportion of women-owned and run enterprises?
- Is there gender sensitivity in designing services to ensure access to ICT-based business development, particularly for micro-businesses?
- Are training programs to establish ICT-related business opportunities (for example, e-commerce, telecenters, and wireless company ownership) open equally to men and women?
- Are designers of e-government projects aware of women's need for remote access to e-government services, such as land and voter registration and license applications?
ICT policy development
- Have women been included as stakeholders in the policy-development process?
- Are there programs to inform women of the gender implications of policy alternatives?
Intellectual property rights
- Have efforts been made to protect women's traditional knowledge, particularly about crops and plants, so that it can be preserved, used without exploitation, and patented?
Information systems development (including health, legal, financial, and geographic information systems)
- Do women have equitable access to the information in the system?
- Is the information relevant to their information needs in the area of the system?
- Is there equitable access for men and women to the training needed to use the system?
- Have attempts been made, where relevant, to incorporate women's indigenous knowledge?
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