Attacking the Gender Digital Divide in Brazil

After leaving class on Wednesday, I began to research how the digital divide in gender has been tackled. Specifically, I found a report that was published in 2005 by the UN titled, “Gender equality and empowerment of women through ICT.” The link is here.

After reading through the beginning pages, an example of a project in Brazil was highlighted. CEMINA, which stands for Communication, Education, and Information on Gender (once translated to English), aims to improve education on gender equality, health and environment issues and strengthens poor women’s rights and citizenship through the use of radio. The organization was created in the 1980’s and in 1988 a radio channel called “Women Speak Up” was up and running. This channel provides women with information on how to access technology and a higher education, as well as, comments on women issues. By 1995, CEMINA’s Women’s Radio Network included 400 women’s radio programs distributed across Brazil reaching thousands of listeners located in the poorest communities. Since the 1980’s, CEMINA has grown tremendously. The channel is now streamed online, the organization provides women across Brazil access to the Internet to help promote digital inclusion, and they are using their model to start radio programs in other countries. They state, “It is our commitment to ensure that women will not, once again, be left behind and lack access and opportunities to this important tool for social development”(CEMINA, 2012). If this type of organization was promoted in other countries culturally applicable, it may be easier for poorer communities of women to get information, and therefore close the ICT gap categorized by gender.

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2 responses to “Attacking the Gender Digital Divide in Brazil

  • margaretvariano

    I really like this article you found. Personally, I know much less about gender digital divide than the other instances of the divide, because it is less commonly spoken about in many of the development classes I have taken so far. It is interesting to see an example of a gender divide program and how successful it has been able to be. It is cool how they are using a form of technology that is more common and widespread to promote a technology that is up and coming to that demographic.

  • AmeliaConrad

    This is a great article and a really interesting program model. It seems to combine both an approach to conquering the gendered digital divide and the ICT4D 2.0 model we talked about in class and from the Heek’s reading that focuses on making technology-in-use work for development. As Margaret mentioned above, issues of gender are sometimes forgotten when not dealing directly with education, women’s empowerment, etc. and it is important to remember and specifically address these issues. Without programs like CEMINA that focus on targeting women, women in developing countries, especially the poor, uneducated, and indigenous, often get left out of development dialogue and programs tend to address the needs of the dominant, usually male, groups. It would be interesting to explore how ICT4D programs address the intersection of multiple factors/digital divides such as poor, rural, and/or indigenous women.

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