Can ICT empower women?

Can ICT empower women?

Information and communications technologies (ICTs) have changed the world by enabling global connections, providing information at your fingertips, and becoming the way to conduct business. ICTs have also become a subject of discussion on how they influence social and economic development.

Some researchers underline technological progress (apart from disciplined labor and capital investment) to be the key driver of economic growth. In the literature, there is also an approach that negates ICT’s effects on national competitiveness emphasizing “the paradox productivity” which says that despite a rise in ICT capacity investment, productivity does not increase proportionally. More researchers confirmed the positive relationships between ICT and national development or economic growth. Several researchers have identified ICTs as one of the most important tools to support the success of businesses. It is contended that ICTs enable businesses to save money, compare prices, respond to customers at a faster rate, cut travel time and cost, and find and acquire new customers.

IT development is highlighted as a core element of major technological advances in all countries moving toward an era of knowledge. ICTs are for everyone and women need to be equal beneficiaries to the advantages offered by these technologies. ICTs can empower women. Why is empowerment for women important? Women worldwide face gender equity challenges. The annual pay for women globally only now equals the amount men were earning 10 years ago.

Each year, the Global Gender Gap Report scores and ranks countries based on gender equality according to a survey. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2015, the worldwide gap has narrowed considerably in education and health and survival, but the gaps in both politics and economic participation and opportunity remain wide. In 2015, Italy ranked 109th out of 145 countries with a score of 0.56 in the sub-category of wage equality for similar work. Although women in all countries suffer from inequity, this data indicates that 108 countries have less of a gender gap than Italy and that Italian women are paid only 56% of what Italian men are paid for the same or similar job.

Our study, part of an ongoing global study, investigated the use of social technologies including the purposes used and benefits realized in Italy as a means of empowerment for women. The aim of this study is to answer the following research question: “Could empowerment through social technologies drive social and economic development and significantly reduce or eliminate the gender gap?”

Women throughout the world are faced with technological and economic challenges. Italian women are no exception. Women in the workplace were surveyed to determine how technologies are used for business purposes. Through awareness, education, and the use of social technologies, gender income equality may be achieved as a result of social and economic development. These results are applicable to entrepreneurs and others in developed and developing countries. 

Author: LUM University