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ICTs and Women’s Empowerment: Findings from South Asia

This paper begins with a discussion of the three policy approaches that can be adopted to harness information and communication technologies (ICTs) in developing countries, and the implications of each vis-à-vis development and gender issues. Presenting the specific social and development contexts in the South Asian countries, the paper highlights the current state of ICTs in these countries as well as national efforts to promote ICT through policy directives. These are then examined in light of the three ICT approaches to understand their potential towards achieving gender equality and social development. Case studies from the region are used to analyse the four pillars of the general framework – women’s identity, control over technology, collective action and institutional change – and to develop recommendations for ICT policies in South Asia such that they hold positive and transformative potential for women.