Education Policy

Use of ICTs in Gender Equalization

Bangladesh Education Article
Bangladesh Education Article
Written by Editor
A. H. M. KAMAL


Abstract: In Bangladesh women are not attaining the position in the job field in an equal number as men. Rather a lack of education is observed in the higher study. So they are not getting scope to compete with male. ICT is a good place to promote our women. People with ICT knowledge can explore the state of the world. So we should make our women ICT expert. In this paper we provide a discussion on various problems on being ICT expert and we come up with some proposals on equaling gender on ICT.

Keywords: Promote, Religion, Barrier, Train, Empowering.

1. Introduction

Gender inequality is a notable problem in all the working fields. ICT is not free from that. This inequality and its ratio vary from working field to field, region to region, society to society, religion to religion and country to country. In the developing countries like Bangladesh it is a remarkable problem. Bangladesh also suffers from such a situation for its religious reason also. In this paper we will provide an explanation of the gender inequality situation in Bangladesh and how we can resolve the problem. In the following paragraphs we explain the state-of-the-art of the problems.

In [1], author suggests on increasing the level of ICT infrastructure to take a footstep in managing gender equality. According to the author’s saying, from her gathered and presented data from World Bank, in all the countries, whether it is developing or developed countries, a gender inequality exists. Improving the ICT educations and generating ICT experts, gender inequality can be recovered to a balance state.

Authors in [3] states that ICT is a tool to contribute to the national progress. However women and girls are not represented in ICT education as men. Moreover men are being over-represented in ICT education field though both genders have the same ability to take part in economical growth of a nation. In fact without involving women in ICT a nation can not achieve the actual success. Being aware on that condition South Korea and China [3, 4] has empowered their women to make them ICT expert to improve their GDP.

The industrial progress is remarkable in fast and developed countries. ICT plays an important rule in operating these industries. Women in parallel with men can find place in these industries to work. However Asian women are not getting the equal scope in those industries as they are relatively less expert in ICT [5] than they are found in Europe, Australia and America. So, more women should come to receive ICT education so that they can compete with men for ICT jobs in the SME.

Gender relationship [6] is the economic, social and power relationships between males and females. Rather than seeing women and men, boys and girls in isolation, gender relations requires us to consider their power, benefits, opportunities, and rights relative to each other. Gender equality [6, 9, 11] means ensuring the equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities of women and men, girls and boys.

Transforming gender relations in the ICT arena is a challenging matter. Government, development agencies, donor, other private sector organizations civil society organization [8] would work and put contribution shaking hand with one another to develop and guide the ICT sector of a nation. In reducing the gender gap [7] in ICT field World Bank is working regularly to promote women in ICT field through the “Gender and ICTs Clinics Training”. In 2005 World Bank launched “Engendering ICT Toolkits”. Besides, World Bank running many projects at different countries to equaling gender in ICT.

Authors in [9, 10] argued that the gender inequality is reduced at present world at a certain level. At higher level such as research and development the women are less likely to be found as men. The author proposed to optimize mobility to maintain an international gender balance in ICT field.

This paper is organized in such a way that in section two we give an idea of the social position of women in villages and towns. In section three, we explain why we should promote our women making them ICT expert and how they will contribute to our national progress. In section four we give some proposal of promoting our females. Lastly in section five we provided a conclusion.

2. Women’s position in ICT Field in Bangladesh

Bangladesh is a developing country. So we have lot of limitations of our properties and resources. However now a days Bangladesh is marching in parallel with the present ICT state of the world. Our programmers are working through out the world. In programming contest in every year in ACM our students are showing their ability with brilliant performance. In online programming contest in ACM site, lot of Bangladeshi participants has printed their name and the flag of Bangladesh attaining good rank. Our people are working in many of the largest telecom companies like Ericson, Motorola, Nokia, etc, and in telecom provider like Grameen Phone, Base, Vodaphone, etc in a large scale in major fields. However our girls and women are still few in numbers in such fields. Social and religion are two factors of pushing back our women. Till time in the villages the society is not so aware of the necessity of making our girls educated. It is a social barrier. The electronic and print media can not reach to them regularly for the weakness of communication or the unwillingness of the villagers to receive such message. Another great problem is the religion factor. A great number of people belong to Muslim community. They are not habituated in coming out of home and in receiving higher education.

2.1 Women with ICTs in Villages: Major portions of the people of Bangladesh live in the villages. They have lot of limitations. ICT section in the villages is very much poor. The advances that they reach in last halves of decade are that now most of villagers have a mobile phone. They are still far from the use of satellite TV and radio, computer and internet. The girls of those villages do not dream to have a higher education in ICT.

2.2 Women with ICTs in Cities: Bangladesh has 6 divisions and 64 districts. The district towns are still in backward from the sense of using ICT tools and education. Most of the district towns do not have fiber optical connections. Now mobile phone companies are filling that gap providing GPRS connection. But in the divisional cities we have sufficient scope of working with ICT tools. There we can find internet facilities easily. We can get satellite connection with our TVs and radios. Many of the renowned universities are also situated in those cities and generating ICT expert. A good number of electronics, software and telecom companies are residing there. So people have a good scope to find a job there. However many of the surveys conclude with the remark that women are much less in quantity than men. They are not coming to that filed as much as we need and expect.

3. The benefits of involving women with ICT

In Bangladesh, women in a large scale work at home. They are responsible for managing the home and children. They have religion barrier as well to work at out side. So they can not contribute properly to our GDP (Gross Domestic Product) at the level as they could. So to make the economy strong we need to promote our girls and women. ICT is a notable area to help our women. In the following way they can help our nation to be developed.

a)    Performing Data Entry: This area is an attractive one in earning money. Men and women can work at office or at home to do so. They can earn extra money. Women can work residing at home if going out is a barrier for them. They can collect data entry order from the net and doing so they can earn lot of money, especially foreign exchange. So it is a good choice to earn money.

b)    Involving themselves with Business: Now a day, all the businesses require the use of ICT. They need wireless radio, telephone and/or internet to contact with officials, other party and customers. So if women come in business having the education of ICT, they will do better. Besides many of the business can be run staying at home and using only internet. Few women are showing their performance on such issues. These ways they are directly contributing to our GDP. But we expect that in a large volume.

c)    Consultancy: Earning money providing consultancy is a sound way of helping himself and the nation. It can be made staying at home. Women are much cool than men in proving consultancy. So they can get a great success on such a job. All the companies require ICT consultation to manage their computers and networks. So, that filed can be a good choice to women.

d)    Being Programmer: A lot of foreign currency can be earned by collecting software order from foreign countries. Our girls and women are now putting their attention to such a filed. This is big field of earning money.

However we need to train our people so that they do those successfully. We should keep in mind that 50% of the people of our nation are female. So pushing them to our kitchen to remain there permanently we never can manage a place to fight economically with fast world because half of the people are not contributing to our GDP. Rather if we allow our females to move and work in parallel with our males, we can promote our financial position. So gender inequality in ICT should be removed.

4 The way of promoting female

Leaving 50% of the people inactive, a nation can not reach to its financial goal. So we need to overcome all social and religion barrier. So we should make our female educated and train them as well.

4.1 Social empowerment through ICT: Our females feel shy in expressing themselves. Their opinions are not considered strongly. They do not find valuable place in family and society. So we should make them empowered so that their saying bears a value in society. They do not earn and they do not have money in their hand. This is the main phenomena for which they can not recover their exact fame inside into the family and society. So our women can manage a job to overcome that situation. Doing jobs they can march with male in the society. So we can empower our women by making them educated and managing a source to earn. The earning source can be a job or a business. Another fundamental problem of empowering to our women is the lack of awareness. Many female in the villages do not know their rights. They are habituated with the sufferings. They are not aware of their needs and rights. So they should be counseled on it.

4.2 Access to Technology: Usually ICT educated people are familiar with ICT tools. But in the villages women are unfamiliar with technologies. They do not know how to access the technology like internet, computer and telecom equipments. So to train them is essential. Workshop on various technologies is necessary. Then they can find scope with their own try. They can explore the world.

4.3 Computer, Radio and TV to train them: As the women in the villages in Bangladesh spend most of the time at home we can train them using satellite. We can arrange program like workshop, discussion on TV or radios to train them. Computer training institute/centre should be established in the villages to offer the training to their hand.

4.4 Proving Financial Help and Scholarship to Women: To train or make educated our women financial help is necessary. Then poor but eager and meritorious student can find scope to make them highly educated. In receiving scholarship or any other fund women should be given more priority. If we set our eyes to our high school education, we will reveal that our girls are doing well. The dropped out of girls is reduced to a satisfactory level. As they are given scholarship, guardians are showing their encouragement to send their girls to school. So increasing the scholarship and external fund for women in higher education we can reach to our destination.

4.5 Managing Quota for women in higher education: In many jobs our women are encouraged to apply and sometimes they are given priority in offering jobs. This a good symptom of equaling gender in Bangladesh. But till time we are watching that we have a big hole of expert women in offering high ranked jobs as they are few in numbers. So to generate expert ICT women we should offer quota for women in the admission to the universities in Bangladesh. Then after a certain time we can hope that we will find lot of women to compete with male in getting jobs.

5. Conclusion

As our women are still facing religious and social obstacle in participating in ICT world, we should make policy for them so that they can find position in such filed. In our next contribution on such area we have the intension to come up with more suggestions and solutions to equalize gender participation in all working fields. As ICT people can explore the world from their own wish and try, we should provide more emphasis on making our women ICT expert.

Reference
1.    Nasrin Ghobadi (MA);  “ICT Effects on Gender Inequality”; “Journal of New Econony and Commerce”; Volume 1, Number 2, Fall 2005
2.    Nancy J. Hafkin, Helen Hambly Odame; Gender, ICTs and Agriculture; A Situation Analysis for the 5th Consultative Expert Meeting of CTA’s ICT Observatory meeting on Gender and Agriculture in the Information Society; August 2002
3.    Anna Hidalgo and Angela M. Khuga Thas; “Gender and ICT Policy Advocacy: implications for the women’s movement”; APC Women’s Network Support Programme (APC WNSP) 2007
4.    Chat Garcia Ramilo and Pi Villanueva; “Are ICT Policies Addressing Gender Equality?”; Research paper for the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific; December 2001;
5.    Chat Garcia Ramilo; “Gender Issues and Tools for SME and ICT”; “Workshop by science council of Asia”; May29, 2008; Shangri-la hotel, Qingdao, China
6.     Nga Hoe Tuputupu-mai-tawhiti ; “Achieving Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment”; “Nzaid – New  Zealand’s International Aid and Development Agencies”; May 2007
7.    “ICT and Gender Equality” ; “The World Bank, Gender and Development Group”; October 2006
8.    Gillian M.Marcelle; “Transforming ICTs for Gender Equality”; African Information Society Gender Working Group (AISGWG); April 2000
9.    P.Pichappan ; “Towards Optimising Mobility in ICT Sector to Create International Paradox and Gender Balance”; This presentation is the talk given by the President, DIRF at the Global Knowledge Forum; Kuala Lumpur on 21st August 2003.
10.    Gillian M. Marcelle; “Transforming Information & Communications Technologies for Gender Equality”; Gender in Development Monograph Series #9; May 2000
11.    Josephine Helen Ann Dumas; A Thesis in Mass Communications; ICT AND GENDER EQUITY POLICY: LESSONS OF THE MALI TELECENTRES; The Pennsylvania State University,The Graduate School, College of Communications; 2002


Author: Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University, Trishal, Mymensingh, Bangladesh. Email: [email protected]

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