From promoting gender equality to empowering women

From promoting gender equality to empowering women

Role of e-government in Asia and the Pacific You do not have access to this content

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Author(s):
UN
22 Aug 2014
Pages:
175
ISBN:
9789210565523 (PDF)
http://dx.doi.org/10.18356/86d525db-en

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The UNPOG research analyzed the degree to which the e-government development in Asia and the Pacific contribute to promote gender equality, provide a toolkit to assess national e-Government readiness for gender equality and women’s empowerment, and generate an e-government readiness index for gender equality which provides a foundation for further data collection and research to include more gender-sensitive approach in e-Government development and assessment. Its significance lies in being one of the first comparative, analytical attempts to discuss the gender equality and women’s empowerment in relation to current e-Government development. This Report is targeted for decision makers, government officials, representatives from the civil society and the private sector, as well as academia and international organizations around the world who are interested in gender equality and women’s empowerment in relation to current e-Government development. It also serves as a tool to assess and guide policies and strategies, suggesting steps to formulate a national action plan to carry out e-Government initiatives for greater gender inclusion.
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  • Preface
    With the ICT infrastructure gaining significant development in the past decade, the growing sophistication of e-Government in developing countries has effectively contributed to the eparticipation of women and the achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals. Gender mainstreaming in ICT policies, particularly through e-government initiatives, has been placed at the top of development agenda in recent years, and the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the Millennium Development Goals have both encouraged governments to adopt a genderperspective and to enhance women’s rights in public policies.
  • Foreword
    The adoption of ICT in the public sector has increasingly contributed to the inclusion of vulnerable groups including women in addressing development challenges, and a good number of governments in developing countries have fully endorsed e-Government initiatives to bridge the digital divide and promote gender equality and empower women.
  • Acknowledgements
    This publication is the result of the contributions and efforts of United Nations Project Office on Governance (UNPOG) in cooperation with experts from institutions dealing with gender and egovernment issues.
  • Abbreviations and acronyms
  • Executive summary
    The adoption of ICT in the public sector, particularly through e-government initiatives, has become a policy priority for many developing country governments. Notably in tune with the Millennium Development Goal 3, e-Government represents a significant opportunity to create a mechanism of greater gender equality in basic service delivery, in priority areas such as education, health and social protection. Further, it broadens the range of service providers from central, local governments to private sectors and women NGOs, thereby allowing the services to be more women-driven and women-focused. Ultimately, under a positive cycle of strengthened gender equality in basic service delivery and empowerment of women as users of these services, the true potential of e-Government lies in changing the paradigm of participation and representation of women in society. In this sense, mainstreaming gender equality in e-Government proposes an entry point of discussion as to how to include the empowerment of women in the post-2015 development agenda.
  • Introduction
    The adoption of ICT in the public sector, particularly through e-Government initiatives, has become a policy priority for many developing country governments. The increased level of international attention on e-Government promotion combined with national efforts to streamline its public service led to a dramatic expansion of e-Government provision worldwide in recent years. According to the UN e-Government Development Index 2010, 98% of governments have online presence either by having a national portal or ministry websites (UN DESA, 2010). The overall quality of e-Government service has also changed significantly across the globe, driven by the advancement of more inclusive technologies such as Web 2.0, as it moves away from a oneway information provision to a more interactive and participatory forum.
  • Measuring readiness
    With the specter of the growing digital exclusion, the political, economic, social and cultural aspects related to women’s ICT access and capacity assumes a paramount position in the roadmap towards e-Government. The uptake and adoption of e-Government initiatives can be assured with a multi-faceted assessment; on one hand, the provision of e-Government infrastructure and services from the government from the supply side, as well as sufficient capacity of women from the demand side, on the other. Hence, before a country embarks on a journey towards an application of e-Government for greater gender equality, it will be useful to assess the state of readiness in a number of different aspects, notably, the levels of ICT development, women’s capacity development, and e-Government development.
  • Country profiles
    This section presents the profiles of 11 selected countries including Bangladesh, People’s Republic of China, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, the Philippines, Timor-Leste, and Viet Nam, regarding their degree of readiness of e-Government for gender equality. Each country profile is structured into four parts: 1) a brief description of the country’s national gender machinery, 2) e-Government Readiness for Gender Equality Index values, 3) web measurement analysis of the national gender machinery website, and 4) the result of the expert survey on e-Government and gender policy.
  • Toolkit: e-government for gender equality action plan
    The Readiness Framework assessment highlights the strengths and weaknesses of a country on different aspects of e-Government for gender equality, in terms of its infrastructure, gender development and e-Government technical sophistication. It helps the government identify which sectors are more prepared to embrace gender equality initiatives in the e-Governance, and which community or stakeholders are more prepared to contribute to and benefit from the e-Government initiatives. This in turn sheds light on identifying the priority areas of e-Government and critical areas for further investment in improving gender impact in the public administration as a whole.
  • Conclusion
    In the knowledge society, e-Government presents an opportunity to improve public service delivery as well as to broaden the range of opportunities for citizens to participate in the public decision-making process. However, this opportunity also presents the challenge of inclusiveness that is already prevalent in ICT access and use. The lack of representation from marginalized groups, particularly women who still suffer from gendered aspects of the digital divide in many countries, can further marginalize these groups from government service provision and participation. It is crucial to develop e-Government strategies targeted specifically towards empowerment of women if the digital divide is to be closed.
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