We’re excited to share with you a short new report to help guide our future research and advocacy efforts around closing the digital gender divide. The report, Advancing Women’s Rights Online: Gaps and Opportunities in Research and Advocacy, builds on our 2015 research and 2016 digital gender gap audits, looking specifically at the data we need — but are missing — to meaningfully monitor progress toward improving women’s internet access and use.
The analysis considers existing policy pain points — including affordable, universal and unconditional access to and meaningful use of the web by women and girls — that remain to be addressed to close this digital gender gap. It also looks at areas where additional research would help to shed light on needed policies and interventions, including:
- Insights into new topic areas like the future of work, artificial intelligence, and net neutrality, as they relate to women’s access and use of ICTs;
- A deeper look at the different aspects of the REACT framework, including a more in-depth understanding of tech-mediated gender-based violence (under the ‘Rights’ vertical of the framework).
So, what’s next for WRO research and advocacy?
We’re currently working to finish up a set of qualitative and quantitative research questions — centred around our REACT policy advocacy framework — designed to improve the evidence base for gender-responsive policy. These questions will guide the next phase of our WRO research. We hope they will also provide a strong methodological framework for other actors conducting research and/or otherwise working in the gender and ICT space.
The next phase of research plans to focus on the primary contributors to the digital gender gap and how best to address them. For example, how can we draw better links between broadband targets and the digital gender gap to prioritise initiatives focused specifically on connecting women? In addition to using quantitative measurements, we hope to include additional qualitative insights, including case studies and participant observations; we hope this mixed method approach will help capture analysis that is often lost in purely quantitative methods.
We plan to release our set of research questions in the coming weeks. In the meanwhile, we hope you find this report to be of use when considering or designing research and advocacy plans around women’s online access and use. We encourage you to get in touch with your feedback and ideas by leaving a comment here, or by joining the conversation on Twitter at @webfoundation or by using #WomensRightsOnline.
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