Regional Report: GEM testing in Central East Europe

[Report prepared by Katerina Fialova and Lenka Simerska, GEM Regional Coordinators for CEE]

Significant Gender and ICT Issues

Only one from the six GEM testing organization in Central east Europe was "non-women" initiative, three of them are women's networks (2 regional, 1 national), and the majority of the evaluated projects target women as main beneficiaries. Even there were variety in gender and ICT issues addressed in the CEE tester's evaluations, the most emerging one, that rise naturally from the context of the evaluated initiatives, was, how ICT's support and affect the work of women's organizations and networks.

Putting ICTs to strategic use of women means to bring more attention to issues of concern to women, reinforce advocacy and information campaigns, enhance traditional women's networking activities, defend the rights of women to participate equally in civil and public life, and tackle marginalisation and exclusion. The CEE testers looked on the following aspects of strategic use of ICTs:

  • Do ICTs reinforce the information sharing and networking among women's NGO and activists?
  • Are ICTs contributing to raise awareness about women's issues and gender discriminations?
  • Are ICTs effective tools in campaigns combating violence against women?

Without the skills, the computers, the software and internet connection, the women's networking and information sharing could be hardly developed. Women access to information and internet was the other gender and ICT issues investigated in the evaluations. Access is defined as the opportunity to make use of ICTs resources (technology, knowledge, information). To address this issue, the factors as affordability, awareness, freedom of speech, level of education, geographic location, and gender roles must be assessed. In most CEE countries the telecommunication infrastructure is well-developed, but the liberalization of the telecommunication markets, which can decrease the costs and make ICTs more affordable for citizens, especially low-income groups, among which women belong, is passing slowly.

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