Empowering Women Through ICTs

Millennium Development Goal 3 is to promote gender equality and empower women. This is very important because 50% of the world is women and they deserve to have the same power and opportunities as the men of the world. Empowering Women through ICT, a paper written by Stockholm University, discusses some ICT projects done in various countries throughout the world with the goal of empowering women. One project that I found particularly interesting was Casa de la Mujer. Casa de la Mujer is a consulting service for battered women in Bolivia. Because many women were too self-conscious to discuss their situations in person, Casa de la Mujer created an online component. This allowed women to anonymously share their stories without having to share them publicly or talk to authorities.

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Casa de la Mujer created 6 telecenters in the Santa Cruz region. 100 women were trained in legal issues related to domestic violence in order to help with the site. This project allowed women to feel secure sharing their experiences. One woman even said “I have more knowledge on how to defend myself and to assert my rights as a person”.

Casa de la Mujer had some positives and negatives. First of all, the Internet can be beneficial and allow women to feel comfortable discussing sensitive topics but it can also lead to cyber bullying and cyber stalking. In addition they realized that people who cannot read and write would have difficulty accessing the information. For this reason, they created audiovisual materials to integrate everyone.

I think this project was well thought out and an amazing idea. It is difficult for women in many countries to feel comfortable discussing sensitive topics, especially when they are worried about being judged or ostracized in their community. In addition, even if women didn’t want to share their personal stories, they would have been able to read what other women were saying and know that they weren’t alone. However, while this project was using the Internet to provide help to a lot of women in an anonymous way, it was not allowing more women to access the Internet. Therefore, many women in Bolivia who may have needed the help the most may not have even seen this site at all. Since the site was such a success and funding was extended in Bolivia, I believe that other countries should start using a similar program to empower women in their communities as well.

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