Dominican Republic guarantees women's equality in technology initiatives and policies across the country

Publisher: El Nuevo Diario     Santo Domingo, 17 December 2009

Dafne Plou Photo: APCDafne Plou Photo: APCThe Dominican Republic is the first Latin American country to act on their commitments to involve women in the information society nationwide. This Caribbean island nation of ten million has promised to include a “gender perspective” in every information and communications technology initiative and policy developed by the government from now on. The tool the Dominicans have chosen to design and evaluate all the public policies is the APC gender evaluation methodology (GEM). Training was carried out onsite by APC’s Dafne Plou (pictured here). Following is a translation of a news article which appeared in a national newspaper.


Indotel guarantees gender equality in technology projects across the country
Support for GEM Methodology in the evaluation of public policies

SANTO DOMINGO, November 16 2009 – The Dominican Republic Communications Regulation Authority (Indotel) guaranteed “the inclusion of a gender perspective” in all projects and initiatives relating to information and communication technologies (ICTs) carried out in the country, as part of the E-Dominican, the National Strategy for the Information Society. The Secretary of State and chair of Indotel and the National Commission for the Society of Information and Knowledge (CNSIC in Spanish), Doctor José Rafael Vargas, said that these bodies highly value “the use of the Gender Evaluation Methodology (GEM) and its application in the design and evaluation of public policies, programmes and projects relating to ICTs.”

He indicated his appreciation for this methodology not only as Indotel and the CNSIC but also as a country responsible for coordinating the Group on Gender and ICTs within eLAC2010, the Latin America and the Caribbean regional information society plan.

Vargas made his remarks in the opening speech at a GEM workshop held in the capital under the auspices of the CNSIC, Indotel, the State Ministry for Women’s Affairs, the Regional Office for Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNESCO) in Havana, Cuba and the Research Centre for Women’s Action (CIPAF).

(GEM is a tool used to integrate gender analysis into the evaluation of initiatives that use ICTs for social change. It provides criteria to determine when ICTs are truly improving women’s lives and gender relations as well as promoting positive change at an individual and community level and of society in general.)

Participating in the regional event were: Alejandrina Germán of the State Ministry for Women’s Affairs; Isabel Viera, the Communication and Information Programme officer of the Regional Office for Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNESCO) in Havana; Magaly Pineda, the executive director for CIPAF; and Dafne Sabanes Plou, the Association for Progressive Communications Women’s Networking Support Programme (APC WNSP) Latin American network coordinator and gender and ICT specialist.

The three-day GEM workshop was facilitated by Sabanes Plou.

The event was attended by representatives of government organisms for
women’s advancement from member countries of the Council of Ministers for Women’s Affairs of Central America (Consejo de Ministras de la Mujer de Centroamérica—COMMCA): Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico and El Salvador. Also in attendance were representatives from the Secretary of
State for Women, the gender liaison officers of the various Secretaries of State and those in charge of women’s affairs in provincial offices throughout the country.

Vargas declared that one of this working group’s objectives is “to encourage the full participation of women in all areas relating to ICT development and ensure their active involvement in developing ICT policies.”

In this regard, Vargas said that the workshop directly contributed to achieving this important objective in the Central American and Caribbean region and that his office has worked for several months in close coordination with the Secretary of State for Women and the Executive Secretary of the COMMCA to ensure it was a success.

“I recognise there is much work to do to ensure equal opportunities for men and women within the framework of the CNSIC. I also acknowledge that the challenges are great,” said the CNSIC president.

He added that despite these challenges, tools such as those presented by Sabanes Plou during the workshop, gave him the assurance that they would facilitate the process of gender integration in ICT use and advance greater social and gender equity.

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Translation into English: Association for Progressive Communications (APC)