International Women's Month - March 2017: We ask, "What Must Change?" for more gender equality online

This International Women's Month, we reflect on what presently shapes women's participation in the online arena. We go on to ask "What must change?", for a more inclusive online community.


  1. Despite the promise of inclusion offered by ICT, women, mostly from developing countries, remain on the lower rungs of internet access and use. We chatted about access and use of the internet by women with our guests @amwa_ug, @wougnet, @ConnectVoicesUG and @AskYourGovUg and were joined by others who shared their thoughts and insights. Here are some highlights from the chat which was held on 8 March at 14h00 15h00 (GMT +3)
  2. Women who have access to the internet and various #ICT4D tools are able to contribute to the online information society. Various description of this experience were shared including "liberating" and "powerful".
  3. However, many women's rights are violated online, in addition to the transfer of offline violence into the online arena. This is affecting access to the internet by women and indeed the use of the internet by those who have access to it.
  4. The internet and technology has shaped the nature of engagement between people, between organisations and communities, and indeed between government and citizens. For women with access to the internet, the efficient use of time and opportunities for engagement were pointed out as key benefits of being online.
  5. The intersection of new and traditional media forms has allowed for information to be shared among wider audiences. However, the scale of information content generation still sees women as consumers of content as existing socio-economic and information access gaps offline are mirrored online.
  6. The ability to access information both directly and indirectly is fundamental to addressing the gender divide. Platforms to inform citizen decision making and information requests like have been developed to exploit the intersection of traditional and new media forms in addition physical engagements like community meetings.