Beyond Access: Empowering women and girls through ICT at libraries
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Within the digital divide of access to information and communication technologies (ICT) in developing countries exists another gap: between boys and girls, men and women. Particularly in developing countries and rural areas, girls and women are often restricted to traditional roles, and do not have equal access to technologies and technology training. Despite the rapid proliferation of access to information and communication technologies (ICT) in developing and transitioning countries, one distinct gap remains: Women and girls are often restricted to traditional roles and do not have equal access to technology nor the capacity to build social capital through the use of ICT.Many international organizations have established initiatives intended to help girls and women access technology and technology training. While many of these programs are critical pieces of the campaign to foster girls’ ICT skills, they often overlook and underuse a potentially valuable resource that could help scale and institutionalize women’s and girls’ access: Public libraries. In this brief, Beyond Access examines the role-potential and real-that libraries play in promoting gender equity, with specific regard for access to ICT. Examples from Uganda, Honduras, Ukraine, and many more show that libraries are a safe, stable space for women and girls to work, learn, and socialize through technology.
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