18 August 2009

Mobile phones alone can’t empower rural women in Pakistan

An article in The News reports that the "availability of network coverage and mobile phones alone cannot ensure that the potential of ICTs would reach female users in rural areas and contribute to their empowerment."

These findings are part of a study on ‘The Gender Digital Divide in Rural Pakistan’ by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI).

The presentation by Karin Astrid Siegmann concludes:
  • Revised IT Policy/interventions for women’s empowerment to stress role of ‘old’ ICTs such as radio, TV for development & women’s empowerment in particular: accessible & potentially empowering
  • Implies (public) investment in related infrastructure & (localised) contents
  • Social norms crucial factors determining women & girls’ access to & use of ICTs, to be addressed if universal access to ICTs is policy objective
  • ICTs not silver bullet for development: Basic development issues, e.g. livelihood insecurity, physical infrastructure, to be addressed first.

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