2.3.1 Data and record keeping should be gender-disaggregated
Community ICT centers should maintain a high-standard, itemized record of usage of services by type, and by type of user, including age and gender. This data is critical for identifying gaps in usage, for improving service and outreach to unmet constituencies, and to budget forecasts and planning. The UNDP and UNIFEM have produced a useful online guide: A User’s Guide to Measuring Gender-Sensitive Basic Service Delivery, which can be applied to ICT services delivery.
Despite a broad recognition of a gender digital divide, there is still a significant lack of data or gender--disaggregated statistics on ICTs. This makes providing factual evidence difficult. In 2005, the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women recommended compiling gender-disaggregated data on the use of ICTs and women’s participation in policy-making, as well as developing targets, indicators and benchmarks to track real progress in access and benefits.13 Monitoring and evaluation procedures and processes that take gender differentials into account will provide baseline data and comparators on women’s ICT use.
Fact of interest: Gender Evaluation Methodology (GEM) for telecenters
The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) is an international network and non-profit organization that promotes access to the Internet. It has created the Gender Evaluation Methodology (GEM),14 a free online tool designed to assess whether and how ICTs are contributing to gender equality. It is a useful wayto integrate gender analysis into evaluations of initiatives that use ICTs for social change. GEM helps determine whether ICTs are really improving women’s lives and gender relations, while also ensuring that gender concerns are integrated into project planning process. GEM uses gender analysis to promote positive change at the individual, community and institutional level. Gender evaluation for Telecenters reflects the collective lessons of GEM as it was applied to the running of telecenters in Colombia, Mali, Peru, the Philippines and Uganda. The guide looks at what is possible in the face of stretched resources and presents workable solutions for some common telecenter challenges.
As a note of caution however, ICT access statistics on their own are not a true indicator of women’s empowerment. For example, women’s comparatively higher education, small business leadership and access to ICTs in the Philippines and in Thailand do not automatically translate into women’s equal representation in leadership or government positions. Similarly the mere fact that more women might be employed in the manufacturing sector of ICTs does not mean that these women are benefitting from literacy or learning programs or gaining leadership, communication or negotiation skills.
13United Nations. (2005). Women 2000 and beyond: Gender equality and empowerment of women through ICT. (http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/public/w2000-09.05-ict-e.pdf)
14Association for Progressive Communications Women’s Networking Support Programme. Gender Evaluation Methodology. (http://www.apcwomen.org/gemkit/en/understanding_gem/index.htm)