One of the Millennium Development Goals, “Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women“ by 2015, with levels of education and health, has during the past decade improved with the combined efforts of the United Nations and the World Bank. According to the World Banks’s page focused on gender inequality, “two- thirds of all countries have now reached gender parity in primary education, while in over one- third, girls significantly outnumber boys in secondary education” (World Bank). One severe difference that the World Bank works to diminish and promote equality is for the issue regarding ICTs. The World Bank created an ICT Toolkit in which the World Bank in collaboration with other non-governmental organizations such as the OECD, gathered resources and “briefly answered some of the broad questions about the relationships among gender equality, ICTs, and development” (World Bank). By the past discussions debated in class and the past readings we have spoken about it is well known that ICTs are reshaping the nature of life and are changing the way we approach sustainable development.
With human rights being one of the main concerns of the United Nations and in order to empower women, it is important that men and women have the same access to the use of ICTs as well as the same opportunities to master them. In October of 2006, The World Bank’s Gender and Development Group released a report with the briefing notes from the conference focusing on ICTs and Gender. In this report “ICT and Gender Inequality”, the World Bank claims “equitable access to information and communication technologies can be an importing tool for empowering women”. However they discuss that women’s participation in the fields of science and technology is usually opposed. Because of these cultural attitudes in which women are “often financially dependent on men or do not have control over economic resources, and when the allocation of resources for education and training often favors boys and men” makes all accessibility to ICTs and jobs using technology particularly limited.
In hopes of reducing this digital divide amongst men and women, the World Bank has created several ICT projects throughout the world. By teaching women the proper education to utilize technologies and giving them the right opportunities, according to the World Bank, countries can further expand their economic development. The World Bank lends nearly 1 billion dollars a year to a variety of e- governments and hopes to improve the access for women and shrink the gender inequality within the next decade. In their report they provided the general public with specific “gender- responsive intervention examples”. One example is located in rural villages in Uganda, where “women use cell phones to operate business that provide communication services to their communities”. The World Bank collaborated with The Grameen Foundation along with MTN Uganda by not only providing women with jobs as phone operators but also providing access to these technologies.
The World Banks toolkit comes with a layout plan on how to start your own project and how to monitor the gender gap. With this toolkit the World Banks hopes to diminish this gender inequality in ICTs throughout the world as well as improve education with the use of Information Communication Technologies.