Mouse for all – Women demand Web access

Access to the Internet is critical to improving the lives of women in the 21st century, according to activists at a global conference on women, the Associated Press reports on June 8.

“The Internet brings information and the possibilities of education to women,” said Gisele Yitamben, who heads ASAFE, a group that helps sub-Saharan women develop business and technical skills.

Yitamben spoke at a United Nations conference in New York that discussed the role of technology in women’s lives.

The problem with technology’s exponential growth in the last five years, speakers said, is that it has largely bypassed women and poor nations.

Nearly 90 percent of Internet use is concentrated in the industrial world, among 15 percent of the global population, the United Nations reports. Most Internet users are men: about 62 percent in the United States, 93 percent in China and 96 percent in Arab states.

Sarah Murison of the United Nations Development Program on Gender ranks technology access as the third-most critical issue for women, after poverty and violence.

The United Nations is calling on corporations and nonprofits to address that problem. For example, Cisco Systems and the nonprofit Academy for Educational Development are working in partnership to increase technology access for women in 10 different countries.

For full text of the article, go to the Associated Press.

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