This blog post will be written sort of in reverse, because instead of addressing what I *have* found in articles, I will be lamenting that which I have not been able to find: the sexual empowerment of women. ICT4D has been widely used to promote sexual health. For example, there have been initiatives to use social media, communication technologies such as cell phones and pagers, and increased internet access to raise awareness for women’s health issues and send out reminders for appointments, check ups or new health discoveries. While connecting women more directly to healthcare services is a great step forward for development, the reality is that ” the potential that ICT has for reaching the female population is still under recognized” (Gurumurthy 2004).
One of the ways I feel that the potential for ICT and female empowerment has not been realized is in the area of sexual empowerment. Women in many developing countries are still seen as sexual objects- insentient beings purely there to be used for the pleasure of the man and discarded once he has gotten his satisfaction. Even in developed countries, many women are not taught to value their own sexuality or prioritize their own sexual satisfaction in their relations. Honestly, women are not only not taught to prioritize their own sexual fulfillment, but aren’t even taught to rank their own sexual satisfaction at the same importance of that of their partner. In Western countries, particularly those where censorship is more lax, women can through social media, texting, blogs etc. learn how their bodies work sexually and generally have a starting point for how to derive true pleasure from sex. Giving a woman control over her sexuality, not making her a sexual plaything for her partner for him to please her when he feels like it, or truly, if he even can, but always get what he wants.
According to multiple sources, orgasms have far reaching health benefits including relieving stress, pain, and releasing oxytocin. Oxytocin is related to increased feelings of confidence, increased intuition, social skills and success (floliving.com). Giving women the ability to take charge of and take pride in their own sexuality has untold benefits not only for each individual, but for the developing world.
We can’t truly have equality in the streets if we don’t have equality in the sheets.