ENDA, Dakar, July 25, 2005: In preparation of the African Woman Day, 2005, the Gender and ICT Network (a joint initiative ENDA-ART-OSIRIS) publicly launched the book "Fracture numerique de genre en Afrique francophone: une inquietante realité" ("Gender digital divide in Francophone Africa: a harsh reality".
This book is published by ENDA (Environment and Development in the Third World) and represents two years of research undertaken in six countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Mali, Mauritania and Senegal.
Report-back workshops were held in the six countries included in the research during the week preceding the African Woman Day:
Tuesday, 26th of July in Cameroon;
Wednesday, 27th of July in Mali;
Thursday, 28th - in Benin, Mauritania and Senegal;
Saturday, 30th - in Burkina Faso.
The research results show that women have overall one third chances less than men to benefit from the information society in francophone Africa. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are seen as a way to alleviate poverty. With this research the publishers emphasize the need for decision-makers to engage policies that insure a fair and inclusive information society, in term of gender issues.
The report looks in particular at three information and communication technologies that are considered as strategically important to promote gender equality: the computer, the Internet and cell phones. The gender digital divide is particularly apparent in the areas of control, contents and capacities rather than regarding access. Only young people that have attended school until secondary level have escaped gender disparities, but women in the African information society are likely to occupy a secondary role as consumers and helping hands.
The Gender and ICT Network is a joint initiative built by Environment and Development in the Third World (ENDA), the Observatoire des Systemes d’Information, Reseaux et Inforoutes du Senegal (OSIRIS) and the Senegalese Telecommunication Regulation Agency. Its members are individuals and organizations active to promote gender justice in the national, African and global information society, in partnership with public, private, national
and global cooperation in development actors.