INTERNET EXPANDING THE OPPORTUNITIES OF WOMEN
The Forum of Women Parliamentarians took place in Saint Petersburg in terms of the 137th IPU Assembly. A working party led by Lilia Gumerova, first deputy chairperson of the Federation Council Committee on Science, Education and Culture, had a discussion on IT development and managing risks. Representatives of parliaments of 17 countries joined this meeting.
The parliamentarians shared their ideas on how modern technologies can serve democracy and women empowerment. They discussed problems to be solved in this field.
The representative of the Iranian Parliament agrees that modern technologies play a major role in improving the lives of women. She said that her country adopted a number of laws related to overcoming technological inequality. Countries of Latin America also recognize the need for access to the Internet. The representative of the Parliament of Chile said that her country clearly established the required number of computers in public schools. In Thailand, the so-called Strategy 4.0 is being implemented to introduce telecommunication technologies in all spheres of life. Thanks to it, women there will have access to education and the opportunity to work in the IT sector.
During the meeting, many participants noted the importance of expansion of access to information technologies and modern gadgets in all regions. For example, India now implements digital programs and distributes work on the Internet in agricultural industries, including remote provinces. By the way, many phones and other gadgets are imported from Hong Kong and China. At the same time, India also develops its own digital technologies. The rural population of China has full access to the Internet. Chinese Internet trade is developing swiftly. Its volume has already exceeded 3 trillion dollars and is constantly growing. The representative from Tunisia said that there was a plan to provide women with the opportunity to work and receive education remotely through the Internet. In Tunisia, it is especially important for residents of regions remote from the center.
One of the main problems in many states is the lack of women specialists in IT. For example, in Argentina, 85% of workers in this sector are men. Today, the authorities of the country try to attract young people and women to the IT field through promoting educational programs. In Latvia, only 24% of IT professionals are women. Women in this country are almost not involved in creating content for the Internet and its various programs. As a result, they remain consumers, not creators. This makes it impossible for future generations to have women leaders as role models in this field.
The participants of the meeting noted that IT bring not only benefits but also harm. A representative of the South African Parliament outlined the need to take care of the health of active Internet users, as children and pregnant women could suffer from computer emissions. In the list of its pressing issues, Turkey has technological dependence as a problem necessary to solve.
Parliamentarians of many countries spoke about legislative practices aimed at eradicating crime and aggression on the Internet. Thus, the representative of the Arab Parliament noted the necessity to develop and apply sanctions to those users who commit certain negative actions on the Web and eliminate all cases of discrimination on the Internet. The Kingdom of Bahrain has web sites allowing every woman victim of violence to report such a crime. In Pakistan, children's access to certain sites is controlled. In 2016, it also passed a law banning cybercrime and interference in lives of people through cyberattacks. In addition, now Pakistan improves the system of electronic filing of complaints through the Senate website.
At the end of the meeting, Lilia Gumerova stressed that the participants were almost unanimous that the Internet and modern technologies expanded the capabilities of women. However, they noted important negative points, identified the threats of the Internet. According to the senator, these problems can be solved by exchanging legislative practices between countries. She is sure that Russia can share a lot of experience in this field.
Viktoria Yezhova, news agency of the Eurasian Women’s Community
Translated by Nikolay Gavrilov