Posted 19 March 2008

GenderIT team in partnership with the Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID) are surfacing the links between ICT policy and financing for women’s empowerment and gender equality.

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*GENDER CENTRED: A thematic bulletin*

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*Financing for Gender & ICT*

I. SMALL THOUGHTS AROUND…Financing for Gender & ICT






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I. SMALL THOUGHTS AROUND…Financing for Gender & ICT

by Katerina Fialova

The 52nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) kicked off with a long line of women queuing for their official registration in front of the UN headquarters in New York. Over 5000 individuals took part in the CSW this year between 25 February and 7 March. This is one of the largest participation in the history of CSW, and illustrates importance of this year theme to women’s movements everywhere: “Financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women”.

As a contribution to this debate, GenderIT team in partnership with AWID are surfacing the links between ICT policy and financing for women’s empowerment and gender equality in this edition of the Gender Centred Bulletin.

Some of the questions we ask in this edition are: What are the implications of government budget allocations for ICT in women's lives? To what extent are national ICT policies' commitments to gender equality translated to actual budgets? Who are the main donors for the work on gender and ICT, and what activities are/are not being supported? What are the current financing trends and challenges in the ICT for development sector? What are effective financing mechanisms to progress gender equality policies in the information society? How could gender and ICT advocates strategically position themselves to mobilise for more resources for gender equality and women's rights in this area?

We hope that you will find this edition of interesting, as writers examine existing challenges and experiences in the area of ICT policy and financing for gender equality and the empowerment.

Read the full version of this editorial in the Feminist Talk section:

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Where is the Money for Women's Rights Work on ICT? A brief look at the funding landscape for women’s organisations working on information and communication technologies

In collaboration with the Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID), Lucía Carrasco, Fernanda Hopenhaym and Cindy Clark focuses the findings from "Where is the money for women's right? Strategic Initiative" onto the field of information and communication technologies (ICT) and gender. In addition, it includes some highlights from an interview conficted with Ms. Sonia Jorge, a specialist in Communications Policy and Regulation working on Gender and Development. This article presents a good overview on the financing and budgetary landscape of women's rights organisations working in ICT, and provides valuable recommendations on how to re-think the relationship between money and movements.

Money for tech? Tech and money? Facilitating women’s engagement in the financing discourse through the use of ICT

Ireen Dubel, the manager of the gender, women and development programme of Hivos is an active participant in discussions on financing for women and development work. Hivos, Ireen’s organisation, is one of the few donor agencies that have consistently supported ICT for development projects. In this interview conducted by writer, Mavic Cabrera-Balleza, Ireen shares her thoughts on the links between ICT and financing for women’s empowerment and gender equality.

We are in the process of constructing a new political field, and this is just the beginning”

Magaly Pazello is a Brazilian researcher and consultant in gender and information and communication technologies (ICT) and a member of the g2g group. She was the only woman from Brazil to participate in the entire World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) process. In an exclusive interview with, Magaly highlights the debates about the reduction in international funding for Latin America, and observes that the search for new partnerships and creation of innovative projects are fundamental steps for moving forwards in constructing this new political field. But also, that “this is just the beginning” of the process.

Financing for ICT for Development in India

Information and communication technologies (ICT) is increasingly recognised by governments, the private sector and civil society alike in its potential to address existing obstacles to social and economic development of disadvantaged groups, as well as to transform the very systems that create inequalities in the first place. To this end, the work of ICT for Development (ICTD) is critical. GenderIT writer, Xu Weiting examines the role of the State and the private sector in creating enabling environments for the sustainability and success of ICTD initiatives, as well as the importance of women's inclusion and participation to ensure that they meet their broad development objectives of social, economic and political empowerment.

Of empty purses and tattered pockets: Stitching funding back into gender and ICT

The panel on women's communication rights "Why the purse feels empty: Financing for women's equitable access to information and communication technologies" brought together donor, development and civil society perspectives on the issue. Erika Smith presents an overview of the discussion around the challenges, importance and opportunities of financing ICT for women's communication rights in this article.

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PAPER: What are the current financing trends and challenges in the ICTD sector?

Willie Currie outlines the current financing trends and challenges in the ICTD sector at the panel “Communication Rights for Women - Why the Purse feels empty? Financing for women's equitable access to Information and Communication Technologies”, organised by APC WNSP, UN DAW and IWTC during the 52nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women in New York in February 2008.

LISTEN: Financing Trends and Challenges in the ICT for Development [part 1]

Willie Currie, APC Communications and Information Policy Programme Manager, speaks about current financing trends and challenges in the ICT for development (ICTD) sector.

LISTEN: Effective Financing Mechanisms to Progress Gender Equality [part 2]

Radhika Lal, a policy advisor on ICT for poverty reduction and the Millenium Development Goals (MDG) in the UNDP, presents her views on effective financing mechanisms to progress gender equality in the information society.

LISTEN: Donor's perspective on financing gender and ICT initiatives [part 3]

Ireen Dubel, a programme manager for Gender, Women & Development in HIVOS, share HIVOS' perspective on the importance of financing ICT in the context of women's rights.

LISTEN: Role of ICTs in securing funds for women's groups [part 4]

Mavic Cabrera-Balleza, a senior program associate in the International Women's Tribune Centre, looks at the role of ICTs in supporting women's groups’ efforts to secure funding.

Financing ICTD: A review of trends and an analysis of gaps and promising practices

In 2004, the Task Force on Financial Mechanisms, convened by the UNDP in response to a World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) mandate, conducted extensive consultations, research, and reviews of information surrounding the role and effectiveness of financial mechanisms to support ICT for development. According to this report, it represents the Task Force’s best understanding of the broad and constantly changing scope of the ICT sector and the use of ICT in the developing world from a financing and development perspective.

Assessment of the Rural Communications Development Fund from a Gender Perspective

In 2006, the Uganda Women Caucus on ICTs (UWCI) together with WOUGNET as its secretariat conducted an assessment of the Rural Communications Development Fund (RCDF) from a gender perspective. The RCDF is Uganda’s approach to implementing a Universal Access Fund (UAF). In Uganda, the RCDF is a means of intervention to ensure that basic communications services of acceptable quality are accessible at affordable prices and at reasonable distances to all people.

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Universal Access Fund (UAF)

Universal access funds (UAF) were established in Latin America and the Caribbean more than 10 years ago and were cast as the most promising mechanism for broadening access to information and communication technologies, particularly in rural areas.

Although UAF operate within different parameters in each country, their aim generally consists of financing projects for telecommunications infrastructure expansion. Therefore, the strategies of national funds largely depend on the structure of the telecommunications market that exists in each case. Incentives to private investment for provision and extension of this infrastructure play a major role in how UAF function.

Financial resources for UAF come from various sources. In some countries, the funds are created with public resources. In others, users must contribute a percentage of their invoices for the use of telecommunications services.

Nevertheless, in most countries the financing model consists of the payment of a percentage of the telecommunications operators’ income or a percentage of the taxes that they must pay to the government for concessions.

The general pattern is - even in the private financing model - for governments to provide subsidies in order to stimulate installation of infrastructure in areas not considered attractive by the telecommunications market.

In their first phase of creation and development, UAF were designed to provide and extend fixed telephony service. In the next generation, the provision of mobile cellular telephony and connectivity were included; in other words, voice and data services.

There are those who are advocating for the role of UAF not to be limited solely to interests of technical expansion of infrastructure, but that they include development objectives, such as the ability to use technology and the development of applications and services in accord with local specificities.

To understand unfamiliar ICT or gender terms visit the Jargon section:

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Global Alliance for ICT & Development

The Global Alliance for ICT & Developement (GAID) is a 2006, United Nations Secretary General approved initiative. The creation of GAID resulted from consensus reached during previous summits about the importance of information and communication technologies (ICT) in achieving the Millenium Development Goals.

The need for a globally inclusive forum to facilitate a cross-cutting approach to the global ICT agenda during UN policy discussions led to the creation of a network-like multisectoral platform. The Global Alliance functions as a partnership and network supported by the United Nations, under the authority of the Secretary-General and the auspices of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

Geographically, GAID's work structure is based on regional networks: a Regional Global Alliance for ICT and Development Network for Latin America and the Caribbean was launched in February 2008, adding to the regional networks that already exist in Africa and Europe.

GAID's communities of expertise (CoE), which have a thematic focus, address priority areas, including education, entrepreneurship, governance and health. Communities of expertise are results-driven networks called for by GAID that bring together strategic actors in field of information and communciation technologies for development (ICT4D) to tackle specific issues and identify best practices.

Among the CoE, GAID has a Gender, Development and Information Society Policies (GDISP) which examines “the complex relationship between gender, development and information society policies and channel the emerging understanding into policy processes at local, national and global levels”, as the official website states.

The CoE-GDISP is organised as a loose network. It brings together two separate constituencies: organisations already engaged in gender and ICT advocacy and organisations with a history of global engagement in gender, development and rights. This includes existing global, regional and national networks, universities and NGOs, local groups, and donor and multilateral agencies and gender activists.

One of the CoE-GDISP objectives is to provide a platform for a sustained dialogue among this community of organisations on IS issues, in order to develop new concepts and analytical frameworks, and to articulate policy recommendations with respect to gender and development before national and global organisations, such as the United Nations.

More information can be found at:

To find out more about key stakeholders in the field of ICTs, visit the Who's Who in Policy section:

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CopyLeft. 2008 APC Women's Networking Support Programme (APC WNSP)

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