2.4.1 Gender-sensitive governance structures

The entire governance structure of community centers should reflect gender-sensitivity – including in the composition of their boards of directors and the selection of senior executives and project managers. Job descriptions or terms of reference need to specify the importance of understanding and articulating development issues and ICT impacts from a gender perspective. Gender advisors to both board and staff should become part of general governance policy. While ownership and governance structures of community ICT centers may be diverse and wide-ranging (from micro-enterprise, to community-based, not-for profit to government run) certain core principles apply to all ownership models. These include:

  • The Board of Directors or Advisory Committee should agree on a quota of women members. By setting an example at this level of management, other gender balances might extend to the technical team, the trainers and female attendance generally. 
  • ”Community ownership” of the center should include representatives of women’s interests. The decision-making structures of these centers need to ensure that women stakeholders are involved right from the initial conceptualization and design, all the way through planning and implementation processes. This will involve establishing a consultation process that engages all community stakeholders on a regular basis. Women’s inputs and perspectives can help in deciding questions about location, safety issues, opening hours, content, programs and services. See Maarifa Centers Content Example in Section 4.1.
  • Develop criteria for awarding licenses that meet gender specifics. This could include awarding licenses to those businesses that meet certain conditions; for example, the number of women technicians on staff, disaggregated data collection and record keeping, and the number of women in management positions.