Commission on Status of Women, 47th Session
5 March, 2003
At the outset, on behalf of the delegation of Lithuania, I would like to extend our warmest thanks to you Mr. Chairman and other members of the bureau as well as to the Secretariat for the preparatory work of the 47th session of the Commission on the Status of Women. Lithuanian delegation is willing to co-operate fully and is ready to make its every endeavour towards the success of this session.
While aligning fully with the statement of the Presidency of the European Union, I take this opportunity to elaborate on some particular issue: impact of information and communication technologies on advancement and empowerment of women.
Achievements in the rapidly developing information technologies promote communications network worldwide and have a significant impact to the state policies, attitudes and views and behavior of the members of our societies, especially of young people and children, so creating an opportunity for advancement of women and improvement of women’s status as well.
Today we often discuss the importance of the development of information society and knowledge economy, as well as the society’s opportunities for applying modern technologies. The Government of the Republic of Lithuania gives its priority to the knowledge society and development of newest informational technologies, especially last years. The development of information society is a global process which does not exclude Lithuania. For several years already, we are developing and opening new opportunities to base our work on information, competence and capability to use information technologies in various fields, namely business, public administration, education, employment, culture and etc. With this regard I would like to mention some latest projects. For example in 2002, Development Agency for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises has initiated the Project of E-business Promotion among the Representatives of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, and has appropriated the necessary funding for the implementation of the project. In the same year Information Society Development Committee (ISDC) which is the agency of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania has developed computer literacy qualification requirements for public servants and a relevant training programme.
Nevertheless we must recognize that up to now women less as men use newest information technologies and networks, therefore it is much more difficult for them to reach necessary sources of information, as well as take use of other opportunities which are accessible through modern information technologies.
Although access to IT is expanding fast in many countries including Lithuania, thus we are not so enthusiastic with current figures. According to the Lithuanian Department of Statistics, approximately only 3% of households posses personal computers in rural areas. According to the recently conducted survey carried out by the research company “Baltic Surveys”, 83% of Lithuanian population have never used the Internet and only 3% of Lithuanian population between the ages 15-74, use it daily. The Lithuanian Telecom data shows that 80% of Internet users are located in 6 major cities and the larger portion of them are men.
Women see the necessity for change and have requested support to strengthen their organizational skills as well as increase their access to information through the use of IT tools in order to boost their own professional and other activities.
Thus, the profound future implications of ICTs for men and women in employment, education, training, and other areas of life mean that women need support to take part in the information revolution.
Taking into consideration existing problems, coming National Action Plan on Equal Opportunities for women and men include separate part on women and information society, which foresees activities among others to encourage women’s access and participation in the development of information society. One of the important projects on the issue to be mentioned here is that recently Ministry of Social Security and Labour and UNDP office in Lithuania signed the project ”Capacity Building of Lithuanian Women Through ICT & Networking”. The project will support women, who actively participate in NGOs and work mainly in rural areas. The project will provide for practical training and access to ICT tools to women’s organisations, which shall then strengthen the ability and motivation of women to identify and become aware of information and communication issues.
Women’s activists and NGO staff, as well as communities that they support will be better informed about the type of information available on Internet and relevant for advancement of women, technology requirements to effectively use the available information, and skills necessary to effectively use the ICT.
The main objective of this project is to improve the sustainable human development, paying the particular attention for women in rural and less dynamic areas of Lithuania. This will be accomplished through empowering women’s NGO and self-help organizations with the use of information and communication technologies. ICTs will improve information flows and at the same time increase knowledge to support women’s understanding of, and involvement in social, political and economic activities, both at the local and regional levels.
Expected outcomes shall be a “net employment creation” through the empowering of women, women’s NGO and self-help organizations thanks to the use of ICT as a learning and developing tool and the establishment of a continued network between the civil society (NGOs), state institutions and private companies (mainly small and medium sized enterprises).
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, let me express the opinion that ongoing efforts to create knowledge society and knowledge economy will contribute to sustainable human development and women shall take part in this process as actors with full rights and equal opportunities.
Thank you Mr. Chairman