Page 5 of 13Evaluating Gender in ICTD
Gender constitutes an increasingly important dimension of evaluation in ICTD projects. Rural economic development relies on women, who make up two-thirds of the economic activity in agricultural areas. For this reason, an understanding of gender issues is essential for effective implementation of ICTD projects. The gap between the leadership role of women in rural areas and the gender gap in ICT leadership where women lag behind creates negative impacts within the communities that ICTD seeks to assist. The bias of ICTD toward technological, global discourse means that issues relating to families and their holistic development are sidelined, even though ICTs are often central to family life and readily used by women. This is an important opportunity for the ICTD community to address.
Initiatives such as the Association for Progressive Communication's Gender Evaluation Methodology (GEM) highlight the importance of women's experience as an analytic tool. They also identify strategies for intervention at the policy and project evaluation level. There are three questions the tool asks as a starting point for analyzing gender components (Ramilo and Cinco 2005, p. 82):
These questions help clarify that gender cannot be an add-on for ICTD or relevant only to projects for women, but are central to achieving meaningful development outcomes. Indeed, it is sometimes in projects that say the least about women in particular where the questions can be most useful.