I was invited by Ibu Betty Alisjahbana from Mastel to a regional event held in Jakarta about women and technology – or the right phrase is: Women in ICT, along with other delegations from all over ASEAN countries.
It’s of course something that has been on my area of interest. Ibu Mari Elka, Indonesia’s Minister of Trade opening the event nicely with statistics she found out at APEC: Women & Economy Summit. From the statistics, she can concluded that women are still under value.
From her speech, she pointed out that women with husband and children sometimes feel guilty when they have to work busier or travel away from their family for works. You might have to choose between your career and your family. But now with technology women can do both and can find balance in their life. They can use video conference without having to physically attend the meeting, so they can stay at home. They can do a lot of activities with the help of technology. Now, it’s the policy maker turn to make a friendlier policy and best practice for the flexibility and the use of technology for women.
In terms of mindset, there are a lot of things that need to be change. The first is attitude. People used to warn that women don’t have to be too ambitious because they will hard to get a husband. Seriously… the potential of 50% of the population is not growing because of these kind of mindset. The growth of community and country is at risks!
Dealing with women, it’s of course need a different method. You need a comprehensive approach, giving them courage to even want to start their own business. Give them successful role models that they can look up to and inspired them to shine.
After that then we can go on to the next step of technical training for the specific use of technology.
Ibu Betty show some results of the survey Mastel conducted in ASEAN countries for 3 categories: entrepreneurs, empoyees and ICT users. But the survey still on going and I believe Mastel will release the results afterwards. Meanwhile you still can participate in the survey via website http://women-in-ict.com
Women can use technology for various purposes:
- Search useful information (such as medicine, cooking recipe, etc)
- Selling things online
- Make online payment
- Corresponding with email & chat
- Order or buy online
- Social media activities
- And various activities that can help forming opinions, making decisions and giving support to who needs it
I also catch interesting sharing by Yoori from APWINC Korea and Aurora Rubio from ITU about their experiences in training ICT to urban and rural area women.
The training include: using the computer, problem solving skill, information search skill, social networking
For rural area, the training tools are:
- Interactive basic computer and internet literacy training student manual
- Guide manual for instructor
- Exercise database bank
- Interactive customized training tools for women (involved in farming, weaving)
The customized training tools are most interesting because by gathering women with the same livelihood (such as in farming), they can be teach specific knowledge on using technology to support their farming activities.
Pre-consultation research about the people and the area, also replication method to spread the knowledge to the local are among the most important factors to the success of the program.
A story about Tortas in Peru is also a very inspiring case. Tortas is sort of doing online bakery. A group of rural women will accept order from the internet. Aside from selling bread, they also give baking tips on their website. That’s the important of follow up training on marketing after they have their website running.
Women can be hard, tough and disciplined yet their compassion will win people’s heart. Most urban, even rural area women have known technology but they need to maximized the use of it. We have the same opportunities with men, it’s up to us to overcome the barriers and took the advantages.
Let’s do it, ladies!