FAO, Gender and ICTs

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Nov 5, 2013 (3 years and 7 months ago)

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Clare O' Farrell and Sophie Treinen, FAO


COAIM Side Even
t on Gender and Agricultural Information Management


24 September 2002

1

FAO, Gender and ICTs


The information and communication technology revolution has greatly increased the possibilities
for disseminating and sharing knowledge. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the
United Nations has the mandate to "collect, an
alyze, interpret and disseminate information relating
to nutrition, food and agriculture, as well as fisheries and forestry”. Knowledge and information are
essential for achieving global food security, which is a major goal for FAO.

In its Gender and Deve
lopment Plan of Action, FAO has recognised that g
lobalization and new
information technologies are transforming the way that production is organized and information
shared around the world. These changes could accelerate progress toward gender equality but

unless policymakers, practitioners and communities themselves give attention to gender when
considering the opportunities and risks, and unless women have a voice in how these new
technologies are developed and deployed, these new technologies could very
well exacerbate
existing inequalities.


ICTs are no longer considered a luxury but an essential instrument for achieving sustainable
development. The digital divide becomes all the more alarming in the context of rural communities
who face further margina
lization and widening information gaps than those closer to urban centres.
The challenges faced in rural areas include access to infrastructure, training and relevant content
in local languages as well as ensuring that the needs of rural communities are r
eflected in national
ICT policy.


Rural women and girls usually have less access than men to information and to new technologies.
Without equal access to information, they are at a disadvantage in making informed choices about
what to produce and when to s
ell their products. Lack of information also limits their influence in
their communities and their ability to participate in decision
-
making. On the other hand, if women
gain access to information technologies, they will benefit from increased educational
opportunities
and channels for better networking.


Expected outcome:
Member states to integrate gender
-
sensitive approaches to ICTs and
information policies in general.

Goal of side event:

To share SDWW / SDRE collaborative work in Gender and ICTs and to a
dvise
Member States about the importance of gender sensitivity (the contribution men and women
make, and could make) in the planning and implementation of ICT policy and projects.

Agenda:

PowerPoint Presentation (30 mins) and discussion (30 mins).


ftp://ftp.fao.org/unfao/bodies/coaim/coaim
-
2/AC506e.doc



Clare O' Farrell and Sophie Treinen, FAO


COAIM Side Even
t on Gender and Agricultural Information Management


24 September 2002

2

Introduction


FAO has been developing a strategic approach to improving the efficacy of information and
communication technologies an
d addressing the digital divide in support of enhanced food security
and agricultural development. Furthermore, the Organization in partnership with the international
development community intends to take a unique approach focusing on the challenges relate
d to
the rural part of the digital divide, which as yet has not been addressed in a cohesive way.


M
illions of the world’s poorest women and men still do not have access to appropriate information
and knowledge for their livelihoods.
There is growing conse
nsus that knowledge and information
are essential for rural development and food security, which is a major goal for FAO.


In a world with 1.2 billion people living on less than $1 a day, and 2.8 billion on less than $2, it is an
uphill struggle to increa
se the livelihood and food security of the majority of the world’s population.


Definition of gender and ICTs


Gender

The term
gender

refers to the social roles and relations between women and men. This includes
the different responsibilities of women an
d men in a given culture or location. Unlike the sex of
men or women, which is biologically determined, the gender roles of women and men are socially
constructed and such roles can change over time and vary according to geographic location and
social con
text.


ICTs


ICTs are considered as electronic and digital technologies for the storing, processing, transferring
of information and communication. They are enabling technologies that allow quicker more efficient
exchange / processing of information


Digi
tal Divide

The opportunities offered by new information and communication technologies have yet to reach to
great majority of potential users in the world. We are witnessing an increased disparity between
users who have the means to access information and
those who do not. The major barrier to this is
political will. Following that, the constraints are mostly educational, technological and financial in
nature. In a world of more than six billion men and women, literacy rates are low in developing
countries
.


Barely 2% are linked to the Internet and most people on the planet have never made a telephone
call. In the US, Internet access costs a user only 1% of average monthly income, whereas in
Uganda it costs more than a month's average (per capita) income.
Similar gaps persist between
men and women, especially in developing countries. In China and South Africa, for example,
women users comprise only 7 percent and 17 percent of users respectively.

These statistics
underline the fact that there is no sole digi
tal divide but lots of overlapping ones: between old and
young, men and women, rich and poor, urban and rural and, above all, between developed and
developing nations.


Clare O' Farrell and Sophie Treinen, FAO


COAIM Side Even
t on Gender and Agricultural Information Management


24 September 2002

3


Rural Divide

The information and communication technology revolution has greatly incre
ased the possibilities
for disseminating and sharing knowledge and yet, disadvantaged segments of society are excluded
from information and communication flows, raising the question of how best to exploit the
technological developments in a way that preven
ts them from increasing inequalities (FAO,
Strategy for Action). Rural people face constraints in accessing appropriate and timely
information,
1
, outside of urban areas access to technologies but equally to services and up to date
information hampers econo
mic development. ICTs can support bottom up articulation of
development needs and perceptions and facilitate linking global and local knowledge.


Gender Divide

Many development efforts have failed women in the past because they do not take into account the

role that women farmers play in agriculture and food security.


Furthermore, the exchange, mobilisation and outreach capacities offered by information
technologies are of little benefit to women, particularly in developing countries. The many reasons
for
this include lack of training in the use of these technologies, a low percentage of women
working in the media, the lack of infrastructure and limited financial resources, as well as high
illiteracy rates among rural women.


Globalization and new informati
on technologies are transforming the way that production is
organized and information shared around the world. These changes could accelerate progress
toward gender equality. But unless researchers and policymakers and communities themselves
give attention

to gender when considering the opportunities and risks, and unless women have a
voice in how these new technologies are developed and deployed, the new technologies could
very well exacerbate existing inequalities.


1.

How the UN recognise the importance of
gender and ICTs in poverty

reduction

1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights

http://www.unhchr.ch/udhr/lang/eng.htm


The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaimed by the UN General Assembly D
ecember
10, 1947, says in part:


Article 19.

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes
freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and
ideas through any media and regardl
ess of frontiers.




1

what FAO termed the
first

mile of connectivity

as seen from the rural communities perspective. The
First

Mile of
Connectivity (FAO 1998) (
http://www.fao.org/sd/cddirect/cdre0025.h
tm
)



Clare O' Farrell and Sophie Treinen, FAO


COAIM Side Even
t on Gender and Agricultural Information Management


24 September 2002

4

1993 Vienna Declaration

http://www.unhchr.ch/huridocda/huridoca.nsf/(Symbol)/A.CONF.157.23.En?OpenDocument

http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu5/wchr.htm


The Vienna Declaration from the World Conference on Human Rights in 1993 was notable for
specifying that women's rights are human rights.

1975
-

2000 World Conferences on Women

http://www.un.org/Conferences/Women/

http://www.un.org/womenwatch/confer/index.html


In order to address the gender digital gap, the 1995 World Conference
on Women (Beijing)
delineated a strategy to promote greater access to communication by women internationally.
Equally, the Beijing+5 Conference (2000, New York) called upon development cooperation to
strengthen the capacity of women to use new technologies

for advancing their position and for
achieving gender equality and thus sustainable development.

1996


2002 World Food Summits

www.fao.org/wfs/index_en.htm

www.fao.org/DOCREP/MEETING/005/Y7106E/Y7106E09.htm#TopOfPage


The World Food Summit Plan of Action emphasizes that women and men should be equal partners
in all technical activities undertaken by FAO to make a hunger
-
fre
e millennium a reality.


Paragraph 16. Objective 1.3:


To ensure gender equality and empowerment of women.

To this end, governments will:

a)

Support and implement commitments made at the Fourth World Conference on Women,
Beijing 1995, that a gender perspecti
ve is mainstreamed in all policies;

b)

Promote women's full and equal participation in the economy, and for this purpose introduce
and enforce gender
-
sensitive legislation providing women with secure and equal access to and
control over productive resources
including credit, land and water;

c)

Ensure that institutions provide equal access for women;

d)

Provide equal gender opportunities for education and training in food production, processing
and marketing;

e)

Tailor extension and technical services to women produ
cers and increase the number of
women advisors and agents;

f)

Improve the collection, dissemination and use of gender
-
disaggregated data in agriculture,
fisheries, forestry and rural development;

g)

Focus research efforts on the division of labour and on incom
e access and control within the
household;

h)

Gather information on women's traditional knowledge and skills in agriculture, fisheries,
forestry and natural resources management.


The World Food Summit
five years later


Clare O' Farrell and Sophie Treinen, FAO


COAIM Side Even
t on Gender and Agricultural Information Management


24 September 2002

5

reaffirms the objectives of the Summi
t in 1996.


13. We reaffirm the need to assure gender equality and to support empowerment of women. We
recognize and value the continuing and vital role of women in agriculture, nutrition and food
security and the need to integrate a gender perspective in
all aspects of food security; and we
recognize the need to adopt measures to ensure that the work of rural women is recognized and
valued in order to enhance their economic security, and their access to and control over resources
and credit schemes, servic
es and benefits.

2000 Millennium Development Goals

www.un.org/millenniumgoals/



Heads of State and/or Government of the Member States of the United Nations gathered at the
Headquarters of the United Nations
in New York to participate in the Millennium Summit from 6 to 8
September 2000. The Summit was a historic opportunity to agree on a process for fundamental
review of the role of, and challenges facing the United Nations in the new century. In the
millenniu
m goals they set themselves the bold task of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger,
promoting gender equality and empowering women, and to provide access to all to the benefits of
new technologies, especially information and communication technologies.


2
001
-

2002 UN ICTs Task Force

www.unicttf.org/news/assembly.asp


The United Nations ICT Task Force, an initiative conceived in the ECOSOC and endorsed by the
Millennium Summit,
has the mandate
to prov
ide overall leadership to the United Nations role in
helping to formulate strategies for the development of ICTs. This includes forging strategic
partnerships between the United Nations system, between national governments, bilateral and
multilateral agenc
ies, the private sector and other relevant stakeholders in rising to the challenge of
this initiative.


Six thematic working groups will concentrate efforts on
;

1)
policy and governance,

2) national and regional e
-
strategies,

3) human resource developme
nt and capacity
-
building,

4) resource mobilization,

5) low
-
cost connectivity and,

6) access and business enterprise and entrepreneurship.


General Assembly Meeting on Information and Communication Technologies for Development, 17
-
18 June, New York


Ext
ract of the summary made by President of General Assembly at Concluding Plenary Meeting.
The following statement was delivered on behalf of General Assembly President Han Seung
-
soo,
(Republic of Korea) by Assembly Vice
-
President Fawzi bin Abdul Majeed Shob
okshi:



Clare O' Farrell and Sophie Treinen, FAO


COAIM Side Even
t on Gender and Agricultural Information Management


24 September 2002

6

"The ICT revolution is opening new opportunities for economic growth and social development. A
wide consensus has emerged on the potential of ICT to promote sustainable growth; to combat
poverty eradication; to strengthen democratic governance; to

contribute to the empowerment of
women in reducing gender inequalities; to promote the active participation of disabled and elderly
persons in socio
-
economic development; to bridge the distance between rural and urban
populations; and to significantly str
engthen the global fight against diseases such as HIV/AIDS and
malaria. In short, ICT is a strategic instrument for achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
However, ICT for development is still under
-
used in many parts of the world. The digital divid
e
threatens to further marginalize the economies and peoples of many developing countries as well
as countries with economies in transition. The challenge of transforming this digital divide into
digital opportunities requires international commitment and

cooperation."


2002
-
2003 World Summits on Information Society

www.itu.int/wsis/

www.itu.int/ITU
-
D/gender/


The World Summit on Information Society will take place in D
ecember 2003 in Geneva and then in
2005 in Tunisia. The objective of the summit
is to develop a clear statement of political will and a
concrete plan of action for achieving the goals of the Information Society, "The issue is not just to
find a way to prov
ide more computers or more telephones, but to extend access to information, to
focus on how ICTs can be used to achieve broader social and economic goals, such as the
eradication of poverty." (Mr Yoshi Utsumi DG of ITU PrepCom 5th July 2001)


In preparing
the World Summit on Information Society, the International Telecommunication Union
has set up a task force on Gender and ICTs, whose members are representative of various UN
agencies, including FAO, using ICTs in their work and paying particular attention
to gender issues
in the use of these technologies.


2.

How FAO fights hunger and poverty with ICTs

2.1. A framework


Information and communication technologies (ICT) offer remarkable opportunities for the cost
-
effective production and dissemination of informa
tion products tailored to the specific needs of local
and global audiences. FAO is well placed to fully capitalize on developments in the ICT sector. The
Organization will continue to make available modern tools and systems to enable the production of
info
rmation products using a variety of media, such as: radio, video, CD
-
ROMs, as well as
traditional print materials. Full integration of production and dissemination through the use of
Internet will occur and more emphasis will be placed on ensuring that the
se web
-
based processes
and tools meet industry standards
2
.
FAO intends to contribute to the ITU publication on initiatives
on gender and ICTs "Aspects of the information society from a gender perspective".





2

Ensuring cost
-
effective and high
-
quality information products, FAO Medium Term Plan


Clare O' Farrell and Sophie Treinen, FAO


COAIM Side Even
t on Gender and Agricultural Information Management


24 September 2002

7

In order to respond to all these needs, a strateg
y for action entitled "Gender and Food Security
-

The Role of Information" designed at the High Level Consultation on Rural Women and Information
(Rome October 1999) have been incorporated in the FAO Gender Plan of Action 2002
-
2007.
The
Strategy stresses t
he need to have comparative information on women and men, and statistics
disaggregated by sex, that clarify gender
-
specific needs, constraints and interests, as well as the
importance of all stakeholders' participation in planning and implementing agricult
ural policies and
programmes. It also stresses the important role of the media in bridging the rural
-
urban divide, and
in communicating a more accurate picture of the contributions of both rural women and men to
agriculture and the rural economy, and the i
mportance of providing access to information and
communication technology (ICT) for both rural women and men.


FAO has analysed the relationships between sustainable development, food security, gender
equality and information and identified some of the fac
tors that contribute to increased poverty and
exclusion as limited access for subsistence farmers, particularly women, to all resources; scarce
attention paid to the different roles and responsibilities of men and women when formulating
agricultural and ru
ral development plans and policies; inadequate gender
-
specific data and
information; exclusion from information flows, communication processes and decision
-
making
(FAO, Strategy for Action).
To this end, FAO has been working to harness the benefits that ne
w
information and communication technologies can play in supporting

women’s information and
knowledge networks.


2.2. Guiding principles and examples of implementation


A. Recognition that training and appropriate content are as important as the technolog
y.


FAO is well placed as an information resources especially through its World Agriculture Information
Centre (WAICENT) which hosts valuable content on research, policy, new technology across the
broad spectrum of agriculture, forestry, fishery food secur
ity, rural development, etc.


The following broad domains of intervention in the area of the rural digital divide are envisaged:




mobilization of information content in digital form;



capacity
-
building, institutional development and human resources develop
ment; with particular
attention of gender and;



improving the effectiveness of FAO’s own operational work in the areas of information and
communication.


Example : Distance learning on gender concepts in Latin America REDCAPA


In relation to the use of ICT

for training purposes, the Gender and Population Division conducted
the first distance
-
learning programme on socio
-
economic and gender analysis in rural
development, through Internet in co
-
ordination with
the REDCAPA
-

Red de Instituciones de
Capacitación

Agrícola
-

in Latin America and the Caribbean. The experience took place during
March
-

July 2001, with the participation of 75 professionals from governmental institutions, NGOs
and academia from 12 countries in the Region.


Clare O' Farrell and Sophie Treinen, FAO


COAIM Side Even
t on Gender and Agricultural Information Management


24 September 2002

8


B. Convergence of new and ol
d technologies


Rural Radio and other media

FAO has been an active partner of local, rural and/or community radio networks spanning 30
years. For the 2 billion men and women living in rural areas of developing countries, radio is still
the most popular, th
e most economic and the most accessible means of communication. Most
people are aware of the success that has been achieved by rural radio in Africa communicating on
vital subjects such as; agriculture and public health; educating people about new practice
s;
allowing the actors in rural development to express themselves in local languages; building social
consciousness and mobilizing and accelerating change.


FAO activities include:



Organizing a workshop on Farm Radio broadcasting with specific emphasis o
n the role of farm
radio broadcasting and its convergence with new information and communication technologies.



Helping to close the digital divide in rural areas by connecting community radio stations to the
Internet and is training broadcasters to collect

and adapt information for improved agriculture
and food security.



The production of technical fact sheets on food security issues; agro metrology, post harvest
operations, early warning systems, forestry and food security and nutrition to be used by rura
l
radio broadcasters in order to produce audio scripts and radio programmes.


C. Networking


We are required to create and strengthen collaborative networks that enable information to flow to
and from rural men and women and to facilitate dialogue between
communities, governments and
development organisations


Example: DIMITRA

www.fao.org/dimitra


The Dimitra project, a communication and information project aimed at increasing the visibility of
the contribution of

rural women to development. An online database of organisations, projects and
publications related to rural women is available on the website (
www.fao.org/sd/dimitra
) as well as
the newsletters published on har
d copy and sent to almost 4000 contacts in the world. The project
uses ICTs to prepare conferences with e
-
forum on themes to be debated, a survey on rural women
and ICTs in preparation of the World Summit on Information Society. Rural radio is seen as
anot
her communication tool to be used with Internet to make sure that rural beneficiaries can
access the information.


D. Strengthening Rural Livelihoods


To help the rural poor to strengthen diversify and sustain their livelihoods and increase their
incomes t
o improve food security.


Example: LINKS


Clare O' Farrell and Sophie Treinen, FAO


COAIM Side Even
t on Gender and Agricultural Information Management


24 September 2002

9

www.fao.org/sd/LINKS/


The Links project on gender, biodiversity and local knowledge uses ICTs to communicate among
the various members based in several African countries.
E
-
mail, website, an electronic mailing list,
multimedia presentations (video, flash presentation, radio transmissions, PowerPoint, etc.) support
the project electronically and poster, leaflet, meetings, gatherings are the other means of
communicating.


The

LinKS project (Gender, Biodiversity and Local Knowledge Systems to Strengthen Agriculture
and Rural Development is based in Tanzania, Mozambique and Swaziland (activities in Zimbabwe
had to be suspended due to the political situation in the country until
further notice). The project
works to improve rural people’s food security and promote the sustainable management of agro
-
biodiversity by strengthening the capacity of institutions to use participatory approaches that
recognize men and women farmer’s knowl
edge in their programmes and policies. To achieve this
goal, the project initiated and/or supported partner organizations’ activities in three major areas: (1)
capacity building, (2) research and documentation, (3) communication and policy debate. One of
t
he immediate objectives of the project is: Increase the visibility of men and women’s knowledge
about the use and management of agro
-
biodiversity among key development workers and decision
makers by supporting documentation of good practices, research and
communication".


Combining the theoretical and advocacy role that FAO plays with practical field based projects
places us in a unique position as knowledge broker between different stakeholders on either side
of the digital divide.


2.3. FAO 's role in kno
wledge sharing and advocacy


A. Documentation : Publications




The Internet and Rural and Agricultural Development: An integrated Approach (FAO
1997)

www.fao.org/docrep/W6840E/W6840E00.htm




Knowl
edge and Food Security in Africa: from traditional media to the Internet (FAO
1998).

www.fao.org/sd/CDdirect/CDan0017.htm




The
First

Mile of Connectivity (FAO 1999)

FAO were the first to highlight

the rural digital
-
divide and other normative work such as
studies undertaken to assess

www.fao.org/sd/cddirect/cdre0031.htm




Voices for Change: Rural Women and Communication (FAO 1999)
www.fao.org/docrep/X2550E/X2550E00.htm




Gender and Food security, Strategy for Action
-

The Role of Information (FAO 1999)

www.fao.org/docrep/x47
45e/x4745e00.htm




Clare O' Farrell and Sophie Treinen, FAO


COAIM Side Even
t on Gender and Agricultural Information Management


24 September 2002

10



The role of information and communication technologies in rural development and food
security (FAO 2000)

www.fao.org/sd/cddirect/cdre0055.htm




Discovering the Magic Box: Local A
ppropriation of Information and communication
Technologies (ICTs) (FAO 2001)

www.fao.org/sd/2001/kn0602a_en.htm



B. Methodologies and Field Studies




Participatory Rural Communication Appraisal (P
RCA)

www.fao.org/sd/CDdirect/CDan0015.htm




Agriculture Information and Knowledge Systems (AKIS)

www.fao.org/sd/exdirect/exre0027.htm

Whose

knowledge and information needs are considered with extension services

How communication methodologies have to be adjusted to take into account of different
gender needs and preferences.




Participatory communication to assess the role of women in natural
resource
management


www.fao.org/sd/SPdirect/CDan0009.htm

(Spanish only)




Developing Agricultural Technologies with Women in Jamaica (using participatory video)


www.fao.org/sd/CDdirect/CDan0020.htm




Socio
-
economic and gender analysis (SEAGA)

www.fao.org/sd/seaga


C. Workshop Consultations
--

Advocacy role




1999:
High
-
Level Consultation on Rura
l Women and Information

www.fao.org/Gender/highlcon/default.htm




2000 : Role of ICTs in Agriculture and Food Security

www.fao.org/sd/cdd
irect/cdre0055.htm




2000: Electronic forum on "The appropriation of traditional and new media for development
-

whose reality counts?"

www.fao.org/sd/CDdirect/CDre0056.htm




2000: The FAO regional
office in Bangkok organised and expert consultation on distance
learning resources for rural women and formulated a regional strategy on rural women and
distance learning.








2001: Connecting Rural Radio to the Internet

www.fao.org/sd/2001/kn1006_en.htm



Clare O' Farrell and Sophie Treinen, FAO


COAIM Side Even
t on Gender and Agricultural Information Management


24 September 2002

11



2001: International Workshop on Farm Radio Broadcasting
1
, entitled "
Information and
Communication Technologies Servicing Rural Radio: New Contents, New Partnerships
"
with

specific emphasis on the role of farm radio broadcasting and its convergence with new
information and communication technologies

www.fao.org/sd/2001/radio/index_en.htm




2002: Asian Regional Cons
ultation on "Rural Women in Knowledge Society". Jointly
organized by FAO regional office for Asia and the Pacific and ICRISAT


www.icrisat.org/workshop/fao_workshopNote.htm



This consu
ltation is designed to address two of the most critical components of the digital
divide, namely the rural and the women, and to explore with partners, processes, designs
and models that can have a positive bearing on these issues. The consultation will br
ing
together key actors in some of the ICT for Development projects in Asia, eminent
academics analysing impact of ICTs among rural communities, partners from the corporate
sector in ICTs and agri
-
business sectors, experts in open/distance learning, and CG
IAR
experts based in Asia in training and information sciences and impact evaluation,
innovators of applying ICTS for rural development, and the regional and global
representatives from the FAO.




2002: The Second Consultation on Agricultural Information M
anagement will be held in
Rome, Italy on
23
-
25 September.


www.fao.org/coaim/coaim2002_en.htm


The meeting is taking place in an international policy context in which multilateral initiatives
and ag
reements on information and communication technologies complement FAO efforts
to address Member Countries needs and strategies on agricultural information
management and as a means to promote food security and sustainable development. The
main goal of the
meeting will be to review ways and mechanisms to improve the capacities
of decision
-
makers, professionals and the public at large in FAO Member Countries to
access and use agricultural information.


Several side events will be organised during this Consult
ation. This one focuses more
specifically on
Gender and Information. At this occasion, t
he final recommendations of Know
How Conference are presented.



3. Kampala Declaration and FAO


Participants to the conference came up with the Kampala Know How Declar
ation, which centred
around four themes.


1
. Making information at the village level available at the national, regional and
international policy levels and vice versa,



the following recommendations were made:

-

include a gender perspective in governmen
t policies that affect women's access to ICTs,

-

make information for rural women accessible by translating them into local languages,


Clare O' Farrell and Sophie Treinen, FAO


COAIM Side Even
t on Gender and Agricultural Information Management


24 September 2002

12

-

encourage online conference for rural and low
-
income women,

-

develop a plan of action to encourage governments and
funding organisations to sponsor ICT
projects for poverty eradication.


Workshop participants also suggested that the United Nations appoint a special rapporteur who
will monitor implementation of UN policy on media. They also said that efforts must be ma
de to
resist restrictive laws, commercialisation of information, and privatisation that affect media
content.


2.

"Engendering women' information through the use of (mainstream) media".


The participants urged women's information and communication organis
ations to integrate a
gender perspective into mainstream media and use mainstream media as a potent tool for social
change. It was also suggested that they provide gender and feminist training and networking
support for media practitioners. On the other ha
nd, the media should develop and adopt a gender
policy.


3. "Women's information and ICT: Policies and innovations".


Participants recommended that baseline studies be conducted to establish level
accomplishments and obstacles, and to better prepare for th
e WSIS in 2003 as well as
strengthen women's impact on the world
-
wide information revolution.

Other suggestions were to:


-

recommend the WSIS Gender Caucus and other similar efforts to develop policy and
perspectives on gender issues and see to it that ge
nder and the human right to
communication are at the centre of all WSIS planning and preparation;

-

encourage business management workshops for information and communication
organisations;

-

conduct case studies and testimonies on regional, ethnic, and lingui
stic diversity in every
world region; and

-

encourage efforts to develop government legislation on gender and ICTs such as those
underway in South Africa.


4. "How ICT affects the lives of women in general"


This brought forth many recommendations. Participa
nts said there must be access to means of
communication in conflict and post conflict situations, especially early warning systems, so that
women in conflict zones and women living in areas needing urgent humanitarian assistance will
be able to reach out a
nd acquire the support needed quickly. They also stressed the need to
encourage the development of a model African Union policy on gender and telecommunications
and to stir public discussion and debate on all issues of gender and ICT policies.

Participants

also vowed to initiate and strengthen efforts to bridge the gap between rural and
urban areas, provide open source technology for women and designed by women for use by
women's information documentation centres and NGO's worldwide and to conduct needs
-
bas
ed
training in ICTs for women, online tutorials on web technology, and training on hardware and
software of web technology.


The declaration also underscored the need to tap resources to increase rural women's access to
information and to support existing
surveys and studies on the information needs of rural women
and to recommend new researches. Participants also agreed to encourage and support rural
multi
-
purpose community telecentres, especially ICT develop programmes that are appropriate,
relevant and a
vailable in local languages for women farmers and people with little education.



Clare O' Farrell and Sophie Treinen, FAO


COAIM Side Even
t on Gender and Agricultural Information Management


24 September 2002

13

4. Recommendations


In its Gender and Development Plan of Action, FAO has recognised that globalisation and new
information technologies are transforming the way that product
ion is organised and information
shared around the world. These changes could accelerate progress toward gender equality but
unless policy makers, practitioners and communities themselves give attention to gender when
considering the opportunities and risk
s, and unless women have a voice in how these new
technologies are developed and deployed, these new technologies could very well exacerbate
existing inequalities. This concern was also echoed in the Declaration adopted at the 2002 Know
How Conference in
Kampala, Uganda.


Therefore it is recommended that


1.

The following key points of the Kampala Declaration be endorsed:



An enabling environment for gender
-
sensitive information policy is created through
sensitization of policy
-
makers and legislators;



Concret
e measures are undertaken to set up appropriate infrastructure and applications
and capacity building for sustainable models for producing, accessing, and sharing
information appropriate and relevant to rural communities;



Gender is clearly integrated in a
ll themes to be addressed at the World Summit on
Information Society

2003 & 2005.


2.

Funding for cross cutting issues like
gender, information and communication
as well as

ICTs

be mobilized (specifically for policy formulation; research, case studies, publi
cations,
training manuals & guidelines, workshops and networking; support of offline communities with
rural radio, listening groups and traditional media).


3.

Gender, information and communication

as well as
ICTs,
be integrated across all policies.







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