BTOB: ICTs and Gender Working Group, Broadband Commission


The first face to face meeting of the BBComm WG on Gender and ICTs (WGGICT) which is chaired by Helen Clark took place last Saturday in Mexico City. The objective of the meeting was to build on the first virtual call that took place in end January (minutes of that meeting are here: BBComm-WGGICT-2013-final) and agreed on concrete steps for the actual work of WGGICT.

The Administrator chaired the first part of the event which focused on vision and overall strategic framework for the WG. DGG’s Practice Director chaired the second session which concentrated on practical issues and next steps.

The WG meeting was attended by over 70 people including several BBComm Commissioners and invited international experts. UNDP secured the presence of three ICT and gender experts who provided important inputs and helped shape up the upcoming agenda and roadmap for the WG.

Outcomes of the meeting

By the end of the 4 hour session, the WG agreed to the following:

1. Creation of a dashboard to capture all related initiatives. We made the case that this reality is more a community of practice exercise where practitioners, experts, and clients can work together to promote the issue, share knowledge, promote innovation in the area and focus on scaling up efforts and replicate them on other countries and regions with adequate localization.

2. Production of a report oriented towards policy makers and development experts who are still struggling in integrating ICTs into development portfolios in general and gender equality issues in particular. The report will provide policy tools for policy makers (such as gender analysis), provide concrete examples of large scale initiatives that have been successful (evidence) and suggest benchmark and indicators to be able to measure progress. The report will also use innovative tools for dissemination such as infographics, multi-media channels and social networks among others. At the meeting, UNDP agreed to take the lead on this particular outcome (working closely with UNWOMEN among others). The final report will be submitted to BBComm in September this year when it holds its annual meeting in New York.

3. Setting up a tangible target on gender and ICTs. After several discussion with relevant partners and parties, we agreed on Sunday morning to have this target: Gender equality in access to broadband by 2020. Such target will require reliable baselines which in turn demand that additional data be compiled and adequate indicators be created.

4. Involving successful women ICT entrepreneurs and innovators. There are now quite a few successful women ICT entrepreneurs in the developing world with relevant knowledge and expertise that can provide key contributions to various outcomes of the WG. In this light, they should be invited to be part of the WG.

Needless to say, the three outcomes are related as for example the community of practice can also be a powerful global network to promote the issue and entice policy makers and gender practitioners to embrace ICTs in effective fashion. The target will provide a measurable end point which in turn might entice policy makers to support ICTs in gender and other development policies and programming.

Endorsement by BBComm

At the plenary session of the BBComm on Sunday. UNDP presented the suggested outcomes of the WG meeting which were unanimously endorsed by the Commissioners. In addition, BBComm also agreed to add the gender target developed by the WG to the currentset of targets the commission established at its inception (see

Follow-up actions

1. Community of Practice/dashboard

  • WICTAD (State Department, Intel and UNWomen) has agreed in principle to lead this process.
  • The technology platfo rm is actually the easy part as several options are available. One of the vice-chairs of WGGICT has also offered to provide a platform for free. Issues of hosting and technical management need to be sorted out.
  • A concept note needs to be developed and shared with key players and partners. A PR and communications campaign should also be part of this effort, especially if one of the objectives is to also include policy makers and practitioners who do not think ICTs are relevant for their work.
  • UNDP can provide overall coordination, as well as expertise on ICTs and on building communities of practice.

2. Elaboration of WGGICT Report

  • Content. The report will have three broad chapters: 1. Policy and policy tools; 2. Key examples that provide concrete evidence on the potential of ICTs to foster gender equality; and 3. Targets and indicators to provide baselines and allow policy makers and practitioners to measure progress. A detailed table of contents for the report should be agreed early on.
  • Management. A steering group (SG) comprised of the Chair and the the two vice-chairs of WGGICT, and commissioners providing support to the initiative will be created and facilitated by UNDP. To handle substantive matters adequately, an Experts Group (ExG) comprised of 5 or so persons will also be created. The work of the ExG will be shared with the SG on continuous fashion. UNDP will also manage this group.
  • Staffing. An international consultant with proven track record on ICTs and gender will be recruited to undertake research and write the report which will be vetted by both the SG and ExG. The consultant will liaise with the ExG on a continuous basis.
  • Dissemination. The report will be disseminated using infographics, multi-media and videos, and social media and others innovative tools and channels. Dynamic content will be tailored for specific audiences, loations or stakeholders, etc. A social media campaign and communications strategy are also envisaged. The SG is expected to contribute here with in-kind resources
  • Financing. One of the vice-chairs has agreed in principle to finance the report. However, details are still to emerge. The report can easily cost 50k. UNDP will prepare a proposal to be submitted to potential contributors who also include Intel, Microsoft, Erikson, Huawei among others (all Commission members).

3. Work on data and indicators

  • The approval of the gender related target by BBComm puts pressure on quickly coming up reliable data on broadband and developing indicators for the target. ITU can probably work on the former and thus UNDP needs to follow-up on this.
  • The work on indicators needs to be related to ongoing work on gender indicators being undertaken by the the UN Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development ( Pyramid Research is also doing work along these lines
  • The work on indicators will thus feed into the report of WGGICT and indeed be one of its key contributions

The original version of this BTOB is here:

Raúl Zambrano
Senior Policy Advisor

13 March 2013

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