Gender and Media

Training workshop for young film makers, Beirut, Lebanon - © UNESCO/George Awad

Women's ability to take advantage of ICT is dependent on conductive policies, an enabling environment in their countries to extend communications infrastructure to where women live, and increased educational levels.

Information and communication technology (ICT) is transforming the global economy and creating new networks that stretch over continents and cultures.

However, there remain noticeable disparities as to the extend in which access and skills are available. The benefits of knowledge and technology are not available to the large majority of the world’s population. Developing countries, in failing to respond to the transformation that the development of ICT has produced, will be severely burdened when they participate in the global economy.

Not only do these differences affect developing nations and disadvantaged communities, but within societies there are also significant disparities. Women find themselves in most cases, not only excluded from equal social and economic opportunities in general, but also in terms of the benefits offered by ICTs.

There are unequal power relations in our societies that contribute to differential access, participation and treatment for men and women vis-à-vis access to, and control of ICTs. Without women’s participation in decision-making in all spheres of life and at all levels of society, poverty will not be eradicated, nor will fully democratic societies be created. Limited access to ICT for women also has the effect of reducing countries’ competitiveness in the global market. 

Strenuous efforts will be needed to capitalize on the opportunities offered by the World Summit on Information Societies (WSIS) to bridge the gender divide which is already apparent within the emerging information society. To help achieve this, UNESCO wishes to foster the broadest possible participation of decision-makers, professional communities, and representatives of civil society, bilateral and multilateral partners, and the private sector. Together all will set out to:

  • Discuss ongoing initiatives on gender and ICT; 
  • Raise awareness on gender-related barriers to ICT access; 
  • Include women as leaders and decision-makers; 
  • Facilitate better understanding of the needs and directions within the framework of gender and ICT; 
  • Render assistance; 
  • Support local solutions and content; and lastly also 
  • Take forward the commitments that were made at previous UN Conferences and summits, in particular the World Conferences on Women in Nairobi and Beijing and the Kuala Lumpur Seminar.
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