Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

I'm interested in access to the internet for everyone - or at least those who could benefit. The digital divide still exist on many levels; urban-rural, developed/ing countries, women-men, plus things like skills and literacy.


The digital divide is shrinking

In 2009, an estimated 26 per cent of the world’s population (or 1.7 billion people) were using the Internet. In developed countries the percentage remains much higher than in the developing world where four out of five people are still excluded from the benefits of being online. China alone accounted for one-third of Internet users in the developing world. One important challenge in bringing more people online is the limited availability of fixed broadband access, which is primarily confined to Internet users in developed countries and some developing countries.

What's being done:

Putting ICTs in the Hands of Women

Reflecting on the Kanpur-Lucknow initiative, organisers stress that women's strategic interests in content creation should be the guiding principle. They elaborate: "On the technology side, an important direction for the future towards women's economic empowerment is the creation of content and applications that will serve women's interests....The two-fold agenda of advancing women's rights - comprising a basket of social, political and economic rights - and addressing women's economic interests and livelihood concerns is at the core of mobilizing ICTs for women's empowerment....It is important to construct the two as equally critical and explore ways to bundle one with the other. Building online spaces for women to utilize the power of the Internet to enable community building, sharing development experiences, advancing the rights agenda and advocating against exploitation and oppression is a priority."

Enhancing Access to Modern Technology

Technology could revolutionize the education, health care, and economic opportunities available to the world's poor. Distance learning, remote medical treatment, mobile technology, e-commerce, and innovations in energy production and storage can positively affect lives — despite the lack of infrastructure found throughout the developing world. Thus, they can be rapidly implemented and they can quickly deliver benefits to the poor. At the 2010 Annual Meeting, CGI members will discuss how to identify the best technologies and deploy them on a large scale, so they can reach the people who need them most.

Subtopics may include Disseminating Medical Technology to the Developing World, Utilizing Technology to Reduce Carbon Emissions, Using Distance Learning and Electronic Curricula to Equip Disadvantaged Students, E-Commerce Solutions to Poverty, Getting Internet to Remote Areas, and Mobile Technology for the Base of the Pyramid.

Women's Access to Public Internet Centers in Transitional and Devel...

Many women and girls can't or may not access public Internet points. Home and family obligations, lack of transportation, low-literacy and perceived lack of value of technology keep many women and girls from accessing public Internet access points.

There's also another factor that is rarely talked about that keeps women and girls away from public Internet access points: in developing countries in particular, many of these public access points can be male-dominated, with mostly male users and few -- or no -- female users, and for many women, particularly women in developing countries, this makes the public access point off-limits to them.


I'd like to think that we'll continue to see more women producing content online in developed countries, and we'll see more women in developing countries able to access the internet. For these cultures, I think we're going to skip over the cable issues or phone lines, and it'll be wireless mobile web - even in it's simpler forms of smart phones or the one laptop initiative. We'll see women in places like Africa able to sustain their families by selling items they've made - baskets, linens, blankets, jewelery and more.

Outside of gender differences, I think we'll see a governing body for the internet, one that includes representatives from countries worldwide. We'll see censorship issues lifted in countries like China.

Views: 15

Comment by Nathaniel Fruchter on April 20, 2010 at 5:00am
As the digital divide shrinks, so does our world. Great post.


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