Information Technology is playing a crucial role in contemporary society. It has transformed the whole world into a global village with a global economy, which is increasingly dependent on the creative management and distribution of information. Globalization of world economies has greatly enhanced the value of information to business organizations and has offered new business opportunities. Today, IT provides the communication and analytical power that organizations need for conducting trade and managing business at global level with much ease. E-government is the use of Information Communication Technology to modernize the state. E-governance is the use of Information Communication Technology to improve the ability of government to aggregate societal demands and to identify solutions. It is associated with Information Communication Technology structures that are implemented to suit the government’s purposes, and to facilitate the ability of the government to manage the state.
E-governance implies electronic-governance, which is the application of information technology to the process of government functioning to bring out: – Simple Moral Accountable Responsive & Transparent governance. E-governance means providing citizens with a central point of assess to government services. The approach to achieve electric governance goes far beyond mere computerization of government process context; e-governance can reduce the redundancy & duplication of citizen-oriented information.
E-Governance involves enhancing relationships between government to government, government to citizens, citizens to government, government to private sector and NGO’s to government, using Information Communication Technology (ICT). Thus, e-governance is not merely providing information about various activities of a government to its citizens and other organizations but it also involves citizens to communicate with government and participate in government decision-making process.
PROMOTING GENDER RESPONSIVE E-GOVERNANCE :
Gender responsive governance is the active and meaningful participation of women in all levels of decision-making and ensuring greater transparency and accountability in government. This definition echoes the concepts of citizenship and direct public participation in E-governance. Although women are acceding in ever-greater numbers to jobs and expertise with ICT, the same is not necessarily true of their access to decision-making and control of the resources.
In the region, women are under-represented in all ICT decision-making structures including policy and regulatory institutions, ministries responsible for ICT, boards and senior management of private ICT companies. One problem is that at both the global and national levels, decision making in ICT is generally treated as a purely technical area (typically for male experts), where civil society viewpoints are given little or no space, rather than a political domain. Deregulation and privatization of the telecommunications industry is also making decision-making in this sector less and less accountable to citizens and local communities further compounding decision-making and control of resources for women.
Representation is important in creating the conditions and regulations that will enable women to maximize their possibilities of benefiting from ICT, and ensuring the accountability of the institutions that are responsible for developing ICT policies. This is important in a number of spheres. One is to do with creating the conditions and regulations that will enable women to maximize their possibilities of benefiting from ICT, and two is about ensuring the accountability of the institutions that are responsible for this valuable resource.
Women are not mere users or consumers of technology and information. They are appropriate creators, shapers, and producers of technology and also providers of information. If we have to make an impact analysis of technology we should look not only at its end use but all the phases of its development and use. This means making a full real-cost accounting of the technology. We also have to look at the social, political and cultural context in which these technologies are developed and used.
E-governance becomes significant in the exercise of citizenship and direct public participation in government activities. Both are key elements in women’s empowerment and achievement of gender equality. It can potentially bring forth new concepts of citizenship, both in terms of needs and responsibilities. For many governments in Asia however, allowing E-governance to make it possible for their citizens to truly communicate with government, participate in policy-making and strengthen democratic processes remain a huge challenge.
SOME OF THE BARRIERS:
Three barriers immediately come to mind. First, the serious gaps in universal access to ICT as a means of participation. Second, the complete absence of gender equality consideration in E-governance plans of governments and. Third, the restrictions on civil liberties and freedom of expression imposed by undemocratic and fundamentalist states that seriously put into question citizen’s access to information and participation in political processes.
SUGGESTION TO IMPROVE WOMEN PARTICIPATION IN
o Training Women In The Field of ICT because IT breaks down traditional barriers
o Increased Economic Opportunity
o Promoting Education for Rural Girls
o Technology Allows Targeted Education Programs
o Installing IT-enabled Village Information Centers in India
o Increase Women’s Representation through Specific Policy Intervention
o Empowering Local communities through a comprehensive Tele Centers
o Training girls and women to become part of the local governance process
Gendered dimensions of e-government, e-governance explores the possibility of electronic government serving as a fundamental catalyst for invoking women’s participation in political, and social outcomes. The government’s failure to provide women with appropriate points of access suggests that gender does not matter in the configuration of e-government. ICT; however, are not gender neutral and thus such differentiating elements as insufficient income, lack of resources, lack of education, single parent responsibilities, geographic isolation, sexism, racism, linguistic preference, and free time must all be factored into the state’s agenda.
The first step towards empowerment is providing women access to civil society and ensuring that women’s organizations possess the necessary resources for advocacy, political action, and projects aimed as equality and inclusion. Second, it is essential to revolutionize the current decision-making process to guarantee women’s participation in all spheres of political, economic and social life. Next, empowerment requires agency, and democracy requires equality of opportunity, thus measures must be taken to ameliorate the cleavages between the technological haves and have-nots.