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All about GEM

What is GEM?

GEM is a guide to integrating a gender analysis into evaluations of initiatives that use Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for social change.

GEM provides a means for determining whether ICTs are really improving women's lives and gender relations as well as promoting positive change at the individual, institutional, community and broader social levels.

The guide provides users with an overview of the evaluation process (including links to general evaluation resources) and outlines suggested strategies and methodologies for incorporating a gender analysis throughout the evaluation process. GEM does not contain step-by-step instructions to conducting evaluations.

GEM is not simply an evaluation tool. It can also be used to ensure that a gender concerns are integrated into a project planning process.

Finally, GEM is an evolving guide! In its practical use we encourage critical thoughts and creative adaptations. Throughout this web site you will find forms where you can submit your comments, suggestions, stories, strategies, or resources.

Why was GEM developed?

The Association for Progressive Communications Women's Networking Support Programme (APC WNSP) developed GEM to facilitate the process of learning about using information and communication technologies (ICTs) for gender equality.

ICT use is increasing everywhere. In particular, women are using ICTs to strengthen their organization and movement building at the local, regional and global levels. ICTs, however, can also pose a potential threat to women. ICTs can be used in ways that replicate or perpetuate gender stereotypes and biases, and can have unintended negative impacts.

Gender evaluation methodologies, therefore, can be used to investigate whether ICTs are being used in ways that change gender biases and roles and do not simply reproduce and replicate existing ones. As more and more of today's development work and money is channelled into projects that employ ICTs, their effects on women are of great importance.

For women, the accessibility of ICTs requires adequate equipment, information, financing, organization, training and time.

Who is GEM designed for?

GEM is intended to meet the needs of ICT practitioners seeking appropriate gender analysis tools and frameworks for their information and communication technology (ICT) interventions.

The tool is for APC WNSP members as well as other practitioners who share a common commitment to gender equality and women's empowerment in ICTs, including:

  • ICT initiatives for social change
  • Project managers and project staff using ICT in projects without a specific gender or women's focus
  • Evaluators working in the IT field
  • Donors and development agency staff working in the IT field
  • Gender focal points that support women's and IT issues
  • Policy makers
  • ICT planners
  • Consultants in the area of gender and ICTs

The guide is available on-line in the GEM Tool section.

What  is the Women's Networking Support Programme?

We are an international network of individual women and women's organisations promoting gender equality in the design, implementation, access and use of ICTs (information and communications technology) and in the policy decisions and frameworks that regulate them.

What is the mission of the programme?

We engage in research, training, information, and support activities in the field of ICT policy, skills-sharing in the access and use of ICT, and women's network-building.

What are the goals of the programme?

  • to promote the consideration and incorporation of gender in ICT policy-making bodies and forums
  • to initiate and implement research activities in the field of gender and ICT
  • to advance the body of knowledge, understanding, and skills in the field of gender and ICT by implementing training activities
  • to facilitate access to information resources in the field of gender and ICT

What does the programme do?

Since 1995, the programme has implemented a diverse range of activities designed to respond to our mission and goals. These activities have tended to be 'clustered' around 5 main areas of work:

  • Policy and advocacy
  • Research and evaluation
  • Information facilitation
  • Developing training methodologies and materials
  • Support for emerging national and regional internet based networks

Go to the APC Women's Networking Support Programme site!

Learning for Change

Learning for Change is the overall framework of GEM. Our evaluation model is based on the notion that learning is continually evolving and dynamic.

APC WNSP has worked globally, co-ordinating research and "on-the-ground" activities that have highlighted the need for strengthening consideration of gender concerns in the planning and implementation of ICT initiatives.

In 1999, APC WNSP initiated the 'Lessons Learned' Project to contribute to the development and strengthening of practical, relevant and sustainable women's networking initiatives at global, regional and national levels. Through this project, the APC Women's Programme has undertaken a 2-year research, documentation and training effort to create resources and tools to enable women's organizations as well as ICT project planners to implement successful women's networking initiatives.

Using WNSP's 'evolving approach' in research, we produced two significant resources:

  • Women in Sync: Toolkit for Electronic Networking

    Women in Sync is a collection of stories and experiences of individual women and organizations published in the 3-booklet set. Practical guides, lessons and methodologies for women's networking have been incorporated in each article. The articles also tell the stories of women who persevered in utilizing computer networking that built connections among women across continents for women's empowerment. Ten stories from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean are included in this publication.

  • Guide to Gender and ICT Evaluation Methodology (GEM)
  • In 2003 the APC WNSP celebrated its 10-year anniversary. GEM is a tool to assist us (and others) in reflecting critically on our gender and ICT work.


GO to APC Women's Networking Support Programme Site

How to use the GEM Tool

GEM is available for online exploration or off-line perusal using the downloadable version of the Tool. The site provides samples of indicators and methodologies from a broad variety of initiatives to better inform your own evaluation process. Reading GEM Practitioner reports and GEM Team analysis of evaluations throughout Latin America, Africa and Asia will provide a panorama of gender and ICT in the world as well as the importance and potential impact of evaluation from a gender perspective on organizations' work and strategies. The APC WNSP's conceptual documents will help you gain insight into the critical gender and ICT issues in your area, especially if there is an opportunity to debate the contents with several colleagues or community members. GEM's Practitioners Exchange provides other evaluation resources and presentations to be able to present GEM concepts or begin the evaluation within your community or organization. Whether you evaluate your organization's work or are interested in gender and ICT advocacy, GEM has something to offer.

GEM is an evolving guide. In its practical use we encourage critical thoughts and creative adaptations, and welcome any feedback you would like to share as you explore the Tool. Throughout this web site you will find forms where you can submit your comments, suggestions, stories, strategies, or resources.

We hope that GEM will result in a significant contribution towards sustainability of women's ICT networking initiatives and the strengthening of gender accountability in ICT initiatives and projects, in general.