If you ever wondered why it is important for girls to take part in ICT, here’s your answer! The argument is simple, it’s not about changing the image of ICT to appeal to girls, it is a must have for girls in order for them to have a say in their self-determination.
This video from UNESCO, “Women, poverty and ICTs: mediating social change”, shows why it is so important that young women and girls be educated and take part in information technology. Far from the geek image of the past, technology is the way to reduce poverty and empower social networks. The women and girls in this video (the video is to the top right of the page), benefit from their participation in ICT courses in New Delhi in a number of different ways including increased self-esteem and an increased level of self-determination. In most of the examples in the video, these women and girls are able to support themselves and their families financially, adding to the economic growth of India. Amongst often horrendous barriers to them participating, these women are working together to support each other to bring about positive change.
Gender and Media
“Women’s ability to take advantage of ICT is dependent on conductive policies, an enabling environment in their countries to extend communications infrastructure to where women live, and increased educational levels.
Information and communication technology (ICT) is transforming the global economy and creating new networks that stretch over continents and cultures.” (UNESCO) see more
Given the recent reported instances of gang rape of a number of women in New Delhi, the imperative for these types of initiatives is growing and there is wide-spread calls globally for a change to a culture that perpetuates such violence against women.
Unfortunately with a rise in self-determination for women, sometimes comes increased violence against them as some men see the traditional male patriarchy and associated structures, threatened.
“Sexual violence against women has long been a characteristic of the subcontinent (both India and Pakistan). Men have traditionally held a dominant position in society. When and where their dominance has been challenged or threatened, they have turned to harming innocent women.
At the same time, the people who are supposed to prevent such incidents from taking place (the police and state agencies) are usually controlled and run by men, creating a closed loop of dominance, violence and subjugation.” (The Big Picture, December 31, 2012)
Reuters reported that;
“New Delhi has the highest number of sex crimes among India’s major cities, with a rape reported on average every 18 hours, according to police figures. Government data show the number of reported rape cases in the country rose by nearly 17 percent between 2007 and 2011. (Reuters 29 December 2012).”
Whether the reports are acted on by police or not, there is an enormous cost to the nation in dealing with rape crime with the cost of hospitalization for victims, any resulting prison for offenders, the cost of policing and the resulting cost of losing lives through death or non productive life as a result.
The Big Picture (31 December 2012) – http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/15387/new-delhi-gang-rape-who-can-change-the-attitude-of-such-men/
Reuters (29 December 2012) – http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/29/us-india-rape-idUSBRE8BR03620121229