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Understanding the gender gap in the Global South

By Alison Gillwald for the World Economic Forum

Despite there being no accurate data available at the global level to support claims currently being made in various gender and information and communication technology (ICT) indices, it is important to recognise the relevance of equality in access and use of the internet to social and economic inclusion in the contemporary world.

Central to the call for digital equality are claims that the internet has the potential to accelerate progress in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. SDG 5B specifically identifies the enhanced “use of enabling technology, in particular ICTs, to promote the empowerment of women”, SDG 9C is concerned with promoting universal ICT access and SDG 17.6 with promoting global collaboration on and access to science, technology and innovation.

As explained in an earlier blog highlighting the findings of the AfterAccess 2017 survey, without undertaking the national representative surveys it is impossible in the predominantly pre-paid mobile environments that characterize developing countries to get sex disaggregated (or any other disaggregated – rural/urban, income) data from the supply-side data provided. Although data analytics from social networking platforms such as Facebook or search engines such as Google can quite accurately predict the sex of a user, such analytics are unable to establish the reasons for the large numbers of people not online in developing countries, or their gender, location, education or income levels. Acknowledging the challenges with the supply-side data used for ICT statistics within the UN system, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) responsible for ICT statistical standards provides training and supports the undertaking of national ICT access and use surveys.

With ICT targets underpinning several of the SDGs, it is important to understand whether these benefits are evenly distributed between men and women. Ending discrimination against women and girls is therefore not only a human rights issue, but is also central to harnessing all available human resources for sustainable economic growth and development. It is essential to understand the drivers of digital inequality, and which women and men experience it, as neither are homogenous groups.

Likewise, it is equally important to understand the less positive implications of ICTs for women – for instance, the impact of surveillance or online abuse on women’s rights. Those women who are located at the intersection of other factors of exclusion, such as class, race and in particular marginalized locations, whether rural areas or city slums, experience even greater digital inequality than aggregates of women whether at the global, national or local level.

Read the full blog h

Despite there being no accurate data available at the global level to support claims currently being made in various gender and information and communication technology (ICT) indices, it is important to recognise the relevance of equality in access and use of the internet to social and economic inclusion in the contemporary world.

Central to the call for digital equality are claims that the internet has the potential to accelerate progress in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. SDG 5B specifically identifies the enhanced “use of enabling technology, in particular ICTs, to promote the empowerment of women”, SDG 9C is concerned with promoting universal ICT access and SDG 17.6 with promoting global collaboration on and access to science, technology and innovation.

As explained in an earlier blog highlighting the findings of the AfterAccess 2017 survey, without undertaking the national representative surveys it is impossible in the predominantly pre-paid mobile environments that characterize developing countries to get sex disaggregated (or any other disaggregated – rural/urban, income) data from the supply-side data provided. Although data analytics from social networking platforms such as Facebook or search engines such as Google can quite accurately predict the sex of a user, such analytics are unable to establish the reasons for the large numbers of people not online in developing countries, or their gender, location, education or income levels. Acknowledging the challenges with the supply-side data used for ICT statistics within the UN system, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) responsible for ICT statistical standards provides training and supports the undertaking of national ICT access and use surveys.

With ICT targets underpinning several of the SDGs, it is important to understand whether these benefits are evenly distributed between men and women. Ending discrimination against women and girls is therefore not only a human rights issue, but is also central to harnessing all available human resources for sustainable economic growth and development. It is essential to understand the drivers of digital inequality, and which women and men experience it, as neither are homogenous groups.

Likewise, it is equally important to understand the less positive implications of ICTs for women – for instance, the impact of surveillance or online abuse on women’s rights. Those women who are located at the intersection of other factors of exclusion, such as class, race and in particular marginalized locations, whether rural areas or city slums, experience even greater digital inequality than aggregates of women whether at the global, national or local level.

Read the full blog here

By | 2018-11-09T09:57:12+00:00 November 9th, 2018|Categories: ICT Access and Use Surveys|0 Comments