The role of information communications technologies in supporting rural women’s economic empowerment, voice and status, was the focus of discussions at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) on 8 March, International Women’s Day, reports NaijaAgroNet.
IFAD, together with United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP), will highlight the role that innovations in information and communications technologies (ICTs) can play in expanding rural women’s opportunities in value chains and enterprise development, while increasing their access to education and information.
Many women, particularly young rural women, lack access to productive resources such as land, credit and technology. Women lag behind in terms of their access to ICTs, with only 41 per cent of women in low-and middle income countries owning mobile phones compared to 46 per cent for males. Nearly two-thirds of women living in the South Asia and East Asia and Pacific sub-regions do not own a mobile phone. Rural women regularly lack access to health care, education, decent work and social protection. As a consequence, they are more likely to be poor and they are vulnerable to economic and climatic shocks.
ICTs can go a long way to boosting economic opportunities for rural women. Mobile and smartphones, for example, provide access to real-time information on prices in different markets and allow more informed choices about where and when to buy and sell. Studies indicate that when women earn money, they are more likely than men to spend it on food for their families and the education of their children.
Uj. N. Dominic/ED, OP
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