Gender Digital Divide and National ICT Policies in Africa

Gender Digital Divide and National ICT Policies in Africa

Violet E. Ikolo (Delta State University, Nigeria)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-847-0.ch014
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The chapter provides an examination of the concept of the digital divide in Africa and its effect on the women in Africa, how ICTs can be used as tools for gender equality and empowerment and the barriers women face in regards to access to ICT infrastructure. These barriers includes: lack of access to physical infrastructure, illiteracy, social and cultural limitations, lack of finance, decision making ability, segregation in employment issues, etc. Also examined is the historical development of ICT policies in Africa, alongside a gender analysis of African ICT policies and policy oriented strategies for making ICT beneficial to women in Africa.
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Information and communication technologies consist of technologies and tools that people use to share, distribute, gather information and communicate with one another using computers and interconnected computer networks (Wood, 2005). The term ICTs also refers to technological innovations and convergence in information and communication, which has turned our world into information and knowledge societies (Wikipedia, 2006).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Gender Discrimination: Is the attitude that causes a gender gap.

Gender: Is a socio-economic variable for analysing roles responsibilities, opportunities and needs of men and women in a given context.

Policy: Is a programme of actions adopted by a person, group, or government or a set of principles; it may be written o unwritten.

ICT Policy Issues: Are the elements which make up the policy.

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs): They consist of technologies and tools that people use to share, distribute and gather information and to communicate with one another.

Gender Issues: A gender issue arises when people recognises that a particular instance of inequality is wrong.

Gender Advocacy: Women’s organizations formed for the promotion of gender issues.

Gender Gap: Is an observable gap between men and women.

Gender Digital Divide: Is an observable and often measurable gap between women and men regarding their access to and use of ICTs.

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