Global Resources

Gender equality in the information society: a review of current literature and recommendations for policy and practice

Author: A. Gurumurthy, N. Chami
Publisher: BRIDGE
Publication Date: Mar 2014
La sociedad de la información no es neutral al género, tiene diferentes implicancias para mujeres y hombres, niñas y niños, y las relaciones entre sí. Por lo tanto, es vital comenzar a reflexionar más críticamente en torno a cómo las TIC están cambiando la naturaleza de las relaciones de género en ámbitos sociales, políticos, económicos y culturales. Hoy día la internet, siendo la espina dorsal de nuestros sistemas globales de información y comunicación, propicia que diferentes herramientas de hardware y software confluyan como una red global masiva. El fenómeno social resultante suele llamarse sociedad de la información o sociedad red. (Gurumurthy y Chami, 2014) Este informe general inspira a la reflexión y a la acción. Incluye un análisis sobre la igualdad de género en la sociedad de la información. Es importante reconocer y aprovechar el potencial de un mayor acceso y conectividad a las TIC para transformar las relaciones de poder entre los géneros y empoderar a las mujeres. Cada vez más, la conectividad marca una diferencia fundamental entre la exclusión y las oportunidades, y la cuestión del acceso a las TIC está volviéndose central para la agenda del desarrollo.

The rapid global spread of information and communication technologies (ICTs), and particularly the proliferation of mobile Internet devices, is redefining not only the realms of information and communication, but the very nature of social structures and institutions. This global ‘information society’ or ‘network society’ is not gender neutral – it has different implications for women and men, girls and boys, and for the relationships between them. It is therefore vital to begin reflecting more critically on how ICTs are changing the nature of gender relations in social, political, economic and cultural landscapes. On one hand is important to recognise and harness the potential of increased ICT access and connectivity for transforming gender power relations and empowering women - especially those who are poor. On the other hand it is essential that we do not put all our faith in ICTs to ‘solve’ the problem of gender inequalities.

This brief, and supporting annotated bibliography, is intended to be a guide for policy and programming, providing a synopsis of the debates and reflections for directions ahead, in a domain that is increasingly relevant for all development areas. The brief seeks to critically assess the most recent research on gender and ICTs, adopting a perspective that draws from the conceptual frameworks of information society, 'network society' and 'knowledge society' studies. Changes brought about by the network society mean it is important to rethink some foundational concepts of gender and social transformation, particularly in relation to questions of identity, community, knowledge, and public and private spheres. New ‘virtual’ spaces and relationships mean these concepts can no longer be understood in terms of fixed, physical places and relationships - rather they need to be seen as flexible, constantly in flux and affected by diverse influences.  The discussion in the brief maps and engages with these more fluid underlying concepts, examining what they mean for gender equality and women’s empowerment.