Gender digital equality in ICT interventions in health: Evidence from IDRC supported projects in developing countries

Kathleen Flynn-Dapaah, Ahmed Tareq Rashid


New information and communication technologies (ICTs) such as mobile phones and the Internet are considered important instruments for advancing social and economic development throughout the world. The benefits of ICTs, however, have not been evenly distributed among individuals with different socioeconomic status. For example, few studies consider how ICTs affect men and women differently. The dearth of studies that integrate gender analysis is particularly true in the case of ICT interventions in the health sector, broadly known as e-Health. e-Health refers to the use of  ICTs in different aspects of healthcare including healthcare delivery, administration, education and communication. While there is a growing focus on the potential impact of e-Health application and practices in the developing countries, little attention is given to how the technologies can address women’s health concerns or how particular interventions affect men and women differently. The objective of this paper is to explore the gender dimensions of e-Health interventions in developing countries.  A select number of projects funded by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) are systematically analyzed to draw out good practices in integrating gender analysis in e-Health research projects.  We conclude by summarizing the good practices and applying them to analyze new projects to ensure gender is integrated adequately.  The paper underscores that e-Health interventions in developing countries need to better articulate the social processes of inequality that affect access and use by men and women.

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The Journal of Community Informatics. ISSN: 1712-4441