March 2006

ICT Policy in Albania

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The Albanian experience can inform other countries' attempts to incorporate a gender perspective in ICT policy processes.

Albania's national ICT strategy is one of its kind in Central and Eastern Europe, with a marked effort to include women's needs and views. Gender incorporation in ICTs was part of Albania's attempt to address growing disparities in income, gender and geographical location. What can we learn from their experience for future gender-sensitive ICT policy framing?

'ICTs have enormous potential to benefit girls and women in terms of enhanced income-generation opportunities, employ-ment, and improved quality of life, but because technologies are not gender neutral, it is important to advocate for ICT strategies to reduce and manage the potential for ICTs to create economic and social exclusion and reinforce existing social disparities', says gender and ICT activist, Gillian Marcelle. Marcelle's advice needs to be heard in Central and Eastern Europe, where the gender dimension is a missing element in most national ICT policies. Unfortunately, as Marcelle points out, this doesn't mean that such policies are gender neutral.

Albania among the leaders
'Information and communication technologies were seen as powerful tools that can assist to bridge these disparities and support the socio-economic development of Albania'

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