Are ICTs contributing to women's empowerment in Central and Eastern Europe?
By APC WNSP
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC, 28 April 2004
This was an underlying question addressed in the evaluations of six information and communication (ICT) initiatives from Bulgaria, Croatia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, which participated in the field-testing of the Gender Evaluation Methodology (GEM). GEM is a free online tool to integrate gender analysis into evaluations of projects that use ICTs developed by the APC Women’s Networking Support Programme (APC WNSP). Evaluated initiatives varied from an employment training initiative in Croatia, to a network of women mayors in Romania, to media campaigns around violence against women in Slovakia and Bulgaria.
The gender and ICT issues investigated in the evaluations included the access of the women’s movement to ICT infrastructure and basic ICT skills, the factors that affect women’s use of ICTs, and the impacts of ICTs on the self-confidence and leadership skills of women and men. The evaluation findings illustrate that ICTs can empower women, however women, and particularly those disadvantaged by specific social factors (such as age, ethnicity, location), are still among the groups with the least access to, and limited awareness of the opportunities ICTs can bring.