Technologies in Humanitarian Settings: Engagement and Inclusion of Women

Sebastián S, Khan S, and Vinck P.
Publication language
Date published
01 Dec 2022
Case study
Accountability and Participation, Technological, Engaging with affected populations, Gender, Inclusion

While the pledge by humanitarian actors to include women in the development and implementation of information and communication technologies (ICTs) is strong, at least rhetorically, it is not consistently integrated into humanitarian programming. Debates persist on what meaningful inclusion looks like and what is required to achieve it in humanitarian settings.

Gender gaps and digital barriers have the potential to limit women’s abilities to fully benefit from the use of ICTs. More qualitative, localised research is needed to understand how technology impacts different women in different environments.

Technological products are inherently biased and digital tools that are designed for women (but also for both women and men) should receive input by women at the design and implementation phases of product development to ensure they meet women’s specific needs.

The intersection of gender and technology must be mainstreamed in humanitarian organisations, which requires cultural and organisational changes, long-term programming, financial support, the development of digital standards, and capacity building. Organizations should also more frequently consult and work with local women-led organisations.

Evaluating safe access to ICTs should be part of any ICT assessment in humanitarian contexts, with the active participation of women. Teaching women about the risks associated with the use of digital tools and how to safely use the Internet should also be part of any ICT intervention in humanitarian settings.