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Engendering ICT Toolkit: Challenges and Opportunities for Gender-Equitable Development

Ladies on Computer Although they share the same geographic boundaries and social structures, men and women live in separate realities. Compared with men, women often enjoy fewer rights and resources. Gender-based inequalities limit how women can benefit from the opportunities offered by Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and how they can influence the developing global knowledge economy. ICTs have tremendous potential for promoting and achieving sustainable development that is also gender-equal. This potential is yet to be realized. The purpose of this toolkit is to identify opportunities, highlight innovative projects and activities, and suggest how the World Bank and other agencies can help realize the potential for gender equality.

These agencies can also assist developing countries to improve the efficiency and equity of their ICT policies and programs by ensuring that they respond to the needs of both men and women. This toolkit should also interest development practitioners and researchers interested in gender-equitable development within their respective fields.

The toolkit is divided into 10 sections and it contains checklists, evaluation tools, examples of good practices, and resources that can be used to incorporate gender into ICT projects and project components. The toolkit has been designed for general distribution to researchers, educators, and development practitioners.

Why a concern for gender equality in ICT projects?

girlpcGlobally, ICTs transform the way production is organized and information is shared. ICTs offer flexibility of time and space, a way out of isolation, and access to knowledge and productive resources. They are enabling tools for economic development and social change. These attributes make ICTs a valuable resource for women in developing countries who often suffer from limited availability of time, social isolation, and lack of access to knowledge and productive resources.
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What is Gender?

woman logoGender is used in this toolkit to refer to the socially constructed relations between women and men in a particular society. These relations and the roles that women and men assume are culturally and institutionally embedded. Whereas biological sex is not easily altered, gender as a social identity changes over time (historically) and space (geographically). man logo

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What are ICTs?

radioInformation and communication technologies (ICTs) are the hardware, software, networks, and media used to collect, store, process, and transmit information in the form of voice, data, text, and images. They range from telephone, radio, and television to the Internet. Given the focus on using ICTs to reach women and men equally in developing countries, particularly those in peri-urban sat and rural areas, this toolkit looks at the full range of ICTs and not only at the more advanced technologies.

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