At the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995, information and communication technologies (ICTs) were recognised as critical for achieving women’s empowerment and gender equality (Section J, Beijing Platform for Action). In 2003, the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), reinforced that the development of ICTs will provide opportunities for women’s full and equal participation in all spheres of society. Despite this recognition however, and even as the ICTs are seen as important in supporting development as a whole, the indispensable role that ICTs have in addressing discrimination against women has not been sufficiently explored.

The internet is a critical resource that enables individuals, and women and girls in particular, to exercise their right to speak, impart opinions, share ideas, build knowledge, gain skills and access information. Access to the internet enables women and girls to participate in the information economy, exercise human rights, get access to health information and services, form communities, engage in formal and informal processes to determine our social, cultural and political life, and more. For disadvantaged groups of women and girls, who experience multiple forms of discrimination and oppression such as those living in rural areas, migrants, women with disabilities, ethnic minorities, women living with HIV/AIDS and lesbian, bisexual and transgendered women and others, the internet has become an important space in the struggle for fundamental rights and freedoms.

On 7 July 2014, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) held a General Discussion on the Right to Education for Girls and Women, the aim of which is to commence the Committee’s process of elaborating a “General Recommendation on girls’/women’s right to education.” These are the recommendations submitted by APC.



ICTs and girls/women’s right to education

Issues for the Committee to consider

a) Discrimination in access to ICTs impacts on the extent to which women and girls receive equal opportunity with men and boys to the same quality and type of education and have the same potential benefit to such education

b) Discrimination in girls access to science and technology education impacts on the extent to which education can be available, accessible, acceptable and adaptable to women and girls in urban and rural areas and disadvantaged groups

c) Violence against women online is a barrier to accessing education, information and other opportunities and prevents women and girls from enjoying rights in their personal, family, political and public life

d) Censorship of online content prevents women and girls’ access to information on sexual and reproductive health and rights

Conclusion and recommendations

Year of publication


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