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Gender Mainstreaming Activities  

Our working definition of gender mainstreaming

Gender mainstreaming, in the contexts of information and telecommunication technologies (ICTs) and development planning, is the process of both assessing the effects and implications of ICT projects and policies on women and men, as well as formulating and implementing strategies that are spatially and temporally specific. Such strategies aim to facilitate access to, and use of, ICTs in order to promote development and reduce poverty. Like ICT’s, the process of gender mainstreaming is a tool and not an end in itself.

Women, Men, Gender

The categories of "women", "men" and "gender" are all necessary for gender mainstreaming and development planning. In certain sectors projects targeted solely to women or men continue to play an important role in improving well being and facilitating development. Thus, gender mainstreaming activities do not preclude targeted initiatives focused on either women or men.

However, we are careful to not conflate the categories "women" and "gender". In development planning, a focus on “women” as a category enables the formulation and deployment of programmes and projects that are specifically targeted to them, e.g., providing training to women.

Gender sensitive development strategies targeted either to women or men, or to both women and men, are informed by the material realities of the group in question. In the context of ICTs, gender sensitive programming aims to bridge the gendered digital divide by situating women and men’s lack of access to, and use of, ICTs within their everyday lived realities. Such strategies go beyond questions of male prejudice and preconceptions to the development of projects that identify and address the concrete barriers that women and men face. Further, gender sensitive development strategies acknowledge that the gender digital divide partially reflects and can intensify gendered inequalities within households, communities, labour markets and the larger economy.

Capacity Building for e-Business: APEC Women’s e-Biz Training, 16-21 July 2007, Seoul, Korea

The WeBiz Training co-organized by ITU, the Women's e-Biz Training, the Asia Pacific Women's Information Network Center (APWINC) and UN APCICT was held from 16 to 21 July 2007 in Seoul Korea. ITU also organized breakout sessions on Empowering Home workers through ICTs, which produced, among others, country reports and recommendations. Approximately 40 delegates (women entrepreneurs, policy makers and regulators) from Asia Pacific countries participated in this training whose objective was to support the build up of a women e-Business network among women entrepreneurs and government policy makers. More information on this can be found at

Capacity Building for e-Business: APEC Women’s e-Biz Training, 3-8 July 2006, Seoul, Korea

The APEC Women’s e-Biz Training 2006 was successfully held on 3-8 July 2006 in Seoul, Republic of Korea with more than 60 delegates (entrepreneurs, ICT service providers, academe, and policy makers) from 20 countries participating. ITU provided full fellowships to Bangladesh, Bhutan, Indonesia, Mongolia, Samoa and Vietnam.

This workshop is a joint collaboration among ITU, UNESCAP, ADBI and APWINC. The design of the workshop is a result of consultations among these four co-organizers, facilitated by APWINC. As such, the training workshop considered the entrepreneurial, gender, socio-economic and ICT (access, security, e-applications, etc) aspects of e-Business.

The workshop produced a set of recommendations described in the attached document.

Capacity Building for e-Business: APEC Women’s e-Biz Training, 24-30 July 2005, Seoul, Korea

BDT’s Asia Pacific Regional Office and the Special Initiative on Gender Issues collaborated to support the APEC Women's e-Biz Training which was held on 24-30 July 2005 in Seoul, Korea. ITU supported the participation of representatives from the Department of Information & Media, Ministry of Information & Communications in Bhutan, the Directorate General of Posts and Telecommunications, Department of Communication and Information, Directorate of Bilateral Affairs, Directorate of International Affairs in Indonesia, the Ministry of Communications, Transport Posts and Construction, Department of Posts and Telecommunications in Laos, the Information and Communications Technology Authority in Mongolia, and the Ministry of Information and Communication in Nepal. In addition, the Senior Gender Adviser presented a paper on “ICTs, Entrepreneurship and Women’s Well-being”.

The training, which was attended by 40 women from APEC member countries, was hosted by the Ministry of Commerce, Energy and Industry, APEC and organized by the Asian Pacific Women’s Information Network Center. The goal of the Initiative APEC Women’s Participation in the Digital Economy, of which this training is an element, is to promote Internet-based commercial opportunities for women entrepreneurs in APEC region.

Emergency Telecommunications: Engendering Prevention and Response

It is often the case that in disaster reduction activities women are marginalised, despite the reality that in most communities they perform the roles of key communicators and care givers. Noting that reducing disaster risk involves effective preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery and is partly dependent on access to, and appropriate use of, emergency telecommunications by vulnerable local communities as well as effective coordination at the national and international levels, this article argues that a gender sensitive approach to effective and coherent disaster reduction accepts that those community members who are key communicators and care gives during normal weather conditions and peace time are also key actors before, during and after disasters.

Emergency Telecommunications: Engendering Prevention and Response is available in the 'Handbook on Emergency Telecommunications' which is available for purchase, click here.

Towards gender-sensitive policy making

  • Guidelines

  • Sex-disaggregated data and gender-sensitive indicators: documenting access to and use of ICTs

Development and economic policy planning are more effective if they are informed by reliable and timely data. The ITU aims to increase available information on ICTs through the collection and analysis of sex-disaggregated data and the development of gender sensitive indicators. We recently embarked on a project, in partnership with Orbicom, that aims compile and analyse quantitative and qualitative information from national and international sources. The results will be used to construct a comprehensive database on a country-by-country and time-series basis. Relevant information from both developed and developing countries will be included, thus enabling cross-country comparisons. This sex-disaggregated statistics and gender-sensitive indicators project will be the foundation for a definitive database of sex disaggregated statistics internationally, the results of which will be made available at the World Summit on the Information Society, Tunis.

The Gender Equality in the Telecommunication Sector questionnaire has been developed to enable the systematic documentation of institutional successes, needs and challenges to the achievement of gender equality in the telecom sector.

We will analyse the answers with the objectives of:

  • Establishing a database of sex disaggregated statistics on employment in the telecom sector; increasing awareness of the importance of gender equality in and to the telecom sector;

  • Providing up-to-date information on the positions of women and men within organizations involved in ICTs;

  • Developing guidelines and polices to address stated challenges;

  • Creating training programmes as necessary and appropriate.

Capacity building for Gender Equality

  • Capacity Building for Gender Mainstreaming

  • Czech Republic supports training to bridge the gendered digital divide --  The Czech Republic collaborated with the ITU’s Special Initiative on Gender Issues and the Centre for Excellence for English-speaking Africa, and the Advanced Level Telecommunications Training Institute, Kenya to support the training of 28 students and 12 teachers from the Uthiru Girls High School in Nairobi during August. Students received hands-on training in the use of basic computer applications and the Internet.
    At the end of the first phase of the Czech-ITU collaboration in January, the School purchased 20 second-hand computers, converted one of its classrooms into a Computer Laboratory, hired a full time Computer Teacher, paid for by the parents without Government support, as is the case with other teachers, and adjusted its timetable to ensure that each of the 500 students has a double computer lesson of 90 minutes per week.
    Phases I and II of this bridging the gendered digital divide project trained 70 girls and 30 teachers, donated 3 computers and an LCD Projector, and networked the computer lab which enables the school to have internet access.

A Focus on Women and Girls: The Netherlands signs MoU with ITU

The Directorate General of Telecommunications and Posts of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the International Telecommunications Union have signed a memorandum of agreement to further shared objectives of bridging the digital divide in an effective, equitable and beneficial way for developing countries. In particular, concrete projects will be developed by the Special Initiative on Gender Issues to improve computer literacy of young women with the goal of increasing their employability. Trainings are scheduled to begin in October 2005 in East Africa.


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Updated : 2008-01-21