Governments in Asia and the Pacific are increasingly transitioning to e-government as a tool to manage back-office systems as well as to enhance the reach and impact of public service delivery. However, much of e-government policy and implementation does not take into account the differentiated access to, and impact of, technology for men and women. In order to address this deficit, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) is undertaking a project on “E-Government for the Empowerment of Women (Phase I)”, in partnership with the United Nations Project Office on Governance (UNPOG), and with generous sponsorship from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea. The project aims to enhance the knowledge and awareness of good practices of gender-responsive policies, programmes and strategies in e-government, in order to help build the capacity of governments to harness this tool towards women’s empowerment.
The project builds on previous research by UNPOG in 2013, which examined national mechanisms promoting gender equality in eleven countries, based on policy surveys and an EGovernment Readiness Index for Gender Equality. The research findings demonstrated that e-government provisions for women still remain an emerging policy issue and governments should be proactive in gender mainstreaming their e-government initiatives, as well as providing women-specific services. The research also concluded that it is crucial to develop e-government strategies targeted specifically towards the empowerment of women, if the digital divide is to be bridged.
This report is an outcome of the project on E-Government for the Empowerment of Women (Phase I), which has sought to develop knowledge and awareness of good practices to understand how e-government can contribute to women’s empowerment. Through case studies from, and country overviews of, five countries in the region, the report presents recommendations on key areas of action required to ensure that e-government responds to the needs and interests of women.
The report also serves as a basis to develop government capacity in this area. It is envisaged that Phase II of the project will build on the report and findings to enhance further knowledge, awareness and capacity of government officials in this area.
The project represents an important initiative to ensure that, in their transition to digital forms of government, public administrations promote women’s empowerment. It is a useful addition to the body of knowledge on e-government, highlighting the significance of gender based outcomes in e-government policy and programming.
The critical role of e-government in harnessing ICTs for women’s empowerment and gender equality has been widely acknowledged.1 Digitally mediated interaction presents new possibilities to overcome the traditional barriers to women’s participation in governance processes.2
Governments in Asia and the Pacific have been proactive in harnessing ICTs to enhance their governance systems and service delivery through e-government. The high-demand for ESCAP capacity development services in e-government highlights the increasing interest and demand in this area. However, there is little awareness and capacity to address the gender dimension of e-government. Only 28 per cent of countries in Asia and 29 per cent of countries in Oceania offered some sort of online services for women in 2014.3 It is, therefore, vital that governments in Asia-Pacific ensure that their e-government strategies provide opportunities and equal benefits to women through gender-sensitive public service delivery and inclusive decision-making processes.
The 2014 United Nations E-Government Survey highlighted the potential of e-government to facilitate participatory decision-making and inclusive service delivery for vulnerable groups, including women, through e-participation and a multi-channel approach. E-government can advance the rights of women through better institutional coordination and gender mainstreaming across line ministries, accountability mechanisms that help respond to women’s needs, as well as online channels to engage women in co-creating or co-producing4 services that better serve their own needs. The study by UNPOG identifies four areas in which e-government can make a difference for women: access to ICTs, information literacy, effective service delivery, and participation in the online public sphere.5
However, as government increasingly moves towards becoming ‘digital by default’, women may not be able to effectively use emerging opportunities and realize their full potential through ICTs owing to persisting social, economic and political inequalities and historical and cultural barriers. This is especially true for developing country contexts, where women lack the same opportunities as men in accessing and using ICTs.6
E-government efforts, therefore, may not automatically have an impact on women’s empowerment and gender equality. As many scholars and policy practitioners have pointed out, bringing gender into e-government needs to be a conscious endeavour in e-government efforts. An inclusive and equitable e-government initiative has to ‘think gender’, by design.
This report synthesizes insights from country studies that set out to identify and explore the parameters contributing to women’s empowerment and gender equality in e-government ecosystems. Towards this, the study adopted an institutional analysis framework examining e-government policies and interventions in five countries (Australia, Fiji, India, the Philippines and the Republic of Korea) representing the regional diversity of Asia and the Pacific.
In the decade after the World Summit on the Information Society, considerable progress has been made on e-government globally. The United Nations E-Government Survey 2014 reveals that all countries have a web presence and “almost all countries in Europe — and the majority of countries in the Americas and Asia provide online information on education, health, social welfare and labour”.7 By 2012, over 70 per cent of countries were providing one-stop-shop portals, a sharp increase from the mere 26 per cent that provided such a service in 2003.8 There is strong evidence that income levels of countries are closely related to ICT infrastructure development.9 This gives countries with high income a head-start over middle and low income countries in e-government efforts. This edge is especially pronounced in e-participation (such as e-information, e-consultation and e-decision making) services.10
Similarly, as far as the issue of the connectivity backbone of e-government efforts is concerned, lower middle and low income countries have a long way to go when it comes to including women, older persons and other disadvantaged and vulnerable groups in e-government systems.11 For instance, in 2014, the United Nations E-Government Survey covering 193 Member States, revealed that out of the 55 high-income countries studied, over 46 offered downloadable forms (for services) specifically directed at vulnerable and marginalized groups, whereas only 1 out of the 36 low income countries studied offered such services.12
The following section provides a gender-based review and analysis of e-government. The literature is organized under three major subsections representing the constituent components of the e-government institutional ecosystem, namely, online service delivery, citizen uptake13 and connectivity architecture. From an analysis of current scholarship, the discussion identifies ‘what matters’ in order to make these three areas gender-responsive.
The world over, e-government design and implementation is largely gender-neutral. The Broadband Commission’s Working Group on Gender and Broadband (2013)14 has noted that in the majority of countries, national e-governance policies do not explicitly tackle gender or acknowledge the differentiated impact of these policies on women and men. By assuming a homogenous user group, e-government services may not be able to respond to specific needs and use patterns of different segments of the population, which in turn could exclude them from such services. Moreover, such policies and approaches can undermine the potential of e-government to promote the empowerment of marginalized groups and risk further entrenching existing social exclusions.
According to the United Nations E-Government Survey 2014, the percentage of countries providing online services that are specifically directed towards women is as follows: 23 per cent in the Americas, 26 per cent in Europe, 29 per cent in Oceania, 28 per cent in Asia and a mere 2 per cent in Africa.15 The online services referred to here mainly include: availability of application forms pertaining to schemes and services for women on integrated web portals for transactional services, and the availability of information specifically targeted at women users on the websites of ministries and government agencies. On allied strategies, such as the use of mobile phones for targeted information outreach to women and girls, and one-stop-shops that mediate women’s access to online services in contexts with high levels of female illiteracy, the information that we have is limited to specific case studies or documentation by policymakers.16 On the demand side, there is little available data on usage and uptake of e-services and m-services by women, as countries do not maintain sex-disaggregated statistics of citizen usage and uptake of e-government.17
Although sporadic small-scale research studies exist, until systematic efforts are made at the national level to collect, and make available, relevant sex-disaggregated data, it will be difficult to examine how the transition to ICT-enabled service delivery systems impact women’s uptake of public services. Many research studies approach this issue from a gender digital divide perspective, looking at the correlation between ‘gender’ as a user attribute and the uptake of digitalized services in specific contexts.18
One limitation of this framework is the tendency to “essentialize gender”,19 whereby ‘gender’ is treated as an independent variable. This approach fails to take into account the underlying social divides in education, income, employment status etc., which hinder women’s uptake of ICTs and of e-government services. Thus, the underlying gendered patterns and factors behind differentiated outcomes tend to be overlooked. A social constructivist framework can therefore help explain the ‘gender’ dimension to this gap in technological uptake by identifying patterns of behaviour, underlying power dynamics, discrimination based on social identities and attributes, and other factors that contribute to unequal outcomes.20
The implications of digitalization on women’s inclusion in public service delivery systems and the pathways to women’s empowerment that digitalized services open up are significant. In order to effectively understand how e-services impact gender equality, there is the need to go beyond the limited mapping of supply-side targeting of women, and demand-side uptake by women.
However, there is very little existing literature on the impacts of e-services and the transformations they have catalyzed for women’s citizenship,21 especially in developing countries.22 In spite of the paucity of such studies, some key insights from existing literature are outlined below.
Implications of digitalization for women’s inclusion in public service delivery
The few research studies in this area focus on key elements in the design of digitalized service delivery systems that determine women’s inclusion.
a. Role of strategic intermediation23
Existing research reveals that strategic intermediation of e-government services plays a critical role in guaranteeing their accessibility to poor and disadvantaged groups, such as rural women. Kuriyan and Ray (2007)24 and Bailur and Maseiro (2012)25 have observed how providing ICT access to marginalized rural women and other socially vulnerable groups (through initiatives such as ICT-enabled single window service delivery points) does not automatically ensure their accessibility to digitalized service delivery systems. They highlight the importance of human intermediation at the last mile to ensure that new, digitally enabled delivery systems promote social inclusion. Their research emphasizes the critical role of human intermediaries, such as telecentre assistants at last mile points such as service delivery kiosks or community multimedia telecentres, in opening up “spaces of (human development)”, by playing the role of mediators and translators between multiple community networks. 26
Other scholars have affirmed the need to pay close attention to the specifics of how practices of intermediation can create a knowledge exchange framework at the community level, through “facilitation (providing opportunities to others), configuration (creation of a social space that facilitates appropriation) and brokering (between individuals and institutions)”.27 These studies “counter the idea that information and its technologies can smoothly replace the nuanced relations between people”.28 Instead, they affirm the important function of intermediaries at telecentres and e-service delivery systems at the last mile in helping users, especially those disadvantaged by age, poverty, literacy, gender, disability, or caste, to “realize the potential of ICTs and develop the capacity and confidence to explore technology independently”.29 While due attention to the technical soundness of e-government services is critical, this would be redundant unless effectively translated into meaningful use at the last mile. The role of human intermediaries is thus as essential and integral to the design of service delivery as the service itself.
b. Balancing automation with human discretion
Accountability mechanisms ensure that core democratic values are furthered in the everyday functioning of governance systems such as service delivery.30 However, such mechanisms, especially those that focus on procedural accountability, may not always further the inclusion agenda. A case study from the United States of America is illustrative of the inflexibility of digitalized service systems. In Boston, a technical glitch on a federal government website resulted in an application for funding for an inner city education programme being filed 46 minutes late. Though the programme was an award-winning one, the Department of Education officials refused to consider the application saying that it had been submitted late.31 This is one example of the repercussions arising out of the failure to balance the efficiencies of automation with the need for flexibility, in the transition to digitalized governance systems.
The findings from the above case study highlight how exclusions could result from an overemphasis on automated procedures. The risk of exclusion is higher in contexts where connectivity architecture is underdeveloped, and access to digital technologies and capacities among marginalized groups, including women, to negotiate and overcome such hurdles is still limited, if not sub-optimal. Thus, processes should be designed to ensure that automation does not imply rigidity and initiatives can accommodate human discretion.
c. Balancing efficiency in service delivery with data security
Digital technologies open up new opportunities for effective targeting of services, especially as they enable the creation of a singular personal identification and authentication system to track individuals accessing government services.32 Such a system clusters together core identity information, such as biometrics and personal history, pertaining to an individual with a unique, electronically generated identifier. It also facilitates the creation of a mechanism that enables data traces associated with a specific identifier, across multiple databases held by different agencies, to be assembled together.33
Technology can thus pave the way for efficiency gains in digitalized service delivery systems. Although beyond the scope of this report, it is important to note that in building a digital service delivery system governments are also confronted with new complexities. Citizen identification systems are the basis for targeted services, but they also present challenges in the overall context of democratic governance in the need for legal frameworks that protect citizens’ data security, freedom from surveillance, and right to privacy.34
The United Nations E-Government Survey’s concept of ‘e-participation’ serves as a useful peg for placing our analysis of women’s participation in, and engagement with, governance systems, structures and processes in relation to e-government.35 In the 2014 E-Government Survey, only 8 countries scored above 66.6 per cent in all 3 facets of e-participation — and of these 8 countries, all except one (Colombia) are high-income countries.36 E-decision-making tools are used by very few countries and mainly in the area of finance.37 More number of countries are engaged in e-consultation and e-information provisioning, but there is still a lot of ground to be covered.
As of 2014, 95 countries among the United Nations Member States conduct some form of e-consultation, while over 150 share archival information on various sectors of governance, namely in health, education, finance, and social welfare.38 However, only 46 countries have set up dedicated platforms for data sharing (open government data portals), of which 85 per cent are high income and upper middle income countries.39
This section will focus on e-information, e-consultation and co-production of services as key vectors of e-participation. In addition, it will highlight the potential impact of e-participation initiatives for women’s engagement with, and participation in, governance mechanisms and processes. As gender-based literature in this specific area is scarce, where relevant, insights have been drawn from general studies available to examine the impact of e-participation on gender equality.
The potential of e-information services in enhancing citizen uptake of e-government is well-acknowledged among scholars of e-government.40 For instance, one-stop-shop web portals may enhance citizen uptake of digitalized services by smoothening citizen-state interfaces in service delivery. As Westcott observes, “the advantage of [a one-stop-shop portal] is that users can receive ‘one-stop service(s)’, and don’t need to know which government agencies are responsible. For a particular issue, users [are now able to] obtain procedures so that they know what to do under different circumstances”.41
Similarly, as Arpit (2012) explains, e-information services — such as information on work flow processes and location of authority, outcomes of government decisions, performance indicators of government departments, can also enhance citizen engagement in governance processes, by opening up governance information that can be the basis of community audit of service delivery and of the governance system in its entirety.42
However, it is important to keep in mind the following, which are some of the caveats with respect to the efficacy of e-information services in realizing these outcomes:
a. Support for information literacy and access
To fully realize their promise, e-information services need to be supported by intermediation structures at the community level and digital literacy programmes for marginalized groups. As in the case of other ICT-enabled governance services, low levels of technological literacy and barriers in infrastructure prevent many segments of the population (such as women and other socially vulnerable groups) from accessing and benefiting from such e-information services.43 Thus, e-information services may not succeed in circumventing socioeconomic biases that structure political participation in democratic contexts. In fact, research suggests that e-information services can reinforce existing biases.44
Therefore, to fully realize the promise of e-information services, it is important for governments to invest in a combination of offline and online strategies for awareness-generation, and strategic facilitation and mediation of e-information services that can enable women and other marginalized groups to benefit from e-information. ICT-enabled community kiosks/information centres45 and digital literacy among these sections of the population46 are vital steps in this regard. Research on public access centres points to their contribution to encouraging civic interaction and engagement, offering the social infrastructure for converting information access into civic participation.47
Existing studies emphasize how the idea of digital literacy cannot be limited to computer skills training. Instead, efforts to promote digital capabilities need to imagine digital literacy as an umbrella idea that involves a range of competencies: “competencies in actively finding and using information in ‘pull mode’ (information literacy)...abilit(ies) to deal with information formats ‘pushed’ at the user (media literacy)...and an understanding of sensible and correct behaviour in the digital environment, (including) issues of privacy and security (moral/social literacy)”.48 Most importantly, digital literacy efforts need to recognize and connect to the multiple forms of literacies in the context they operate, including oral and folk forms of knowledge.49
b. Building capacity to ‘make sense’ of open data
Open data initiatives are a valued information source for their potential to enhance citizen engagement in governance processes.50 Open data/open government data is an umbrella term that refers to all initiatives that stem from the intention of making available “local, national and regional data, (particularly publicly acquired data) in a form that allows for direct manipulation using software tools, as for example, for the purposes of cross tabulation, visualization, mapping and so on.” 51 As defined by the 2014 E-Government Survey, “Data is considered open when it is shared with an open license in a way that permits commercial and non-commercial use and reuse without restrictions.” 52 However, it is important to understand that opening up access to governance information does not automatically enable effective use by citizens, especially those belonging to marginalized groups. Often, such groups lack access to the underlying ICT infrastructure, and the requisite skills for ‘making sense’ of the information and data sets thus published.53 Moreover, it is important to ensure that the rights of marginalized groups are not compromised. At this point in time, government open data strategies are mostly limited to addressing supply side issues. Some studies do show that partnerships with public interest intermediaries in civil society are likely to be important in the medium term, to realize the transformative power of open data for citizen accountability.54
Scholars and policy practitioners have recognized the importance of consultative mechanisms (using a combination of online and offline strategies) for enhancing citizen uptake of e-government services.55 Evidence indicates that e-government services can be inclusive only when they are contextually-relevant and meaningful to the group targeted by the service.56 This requires mechanisms that elicit the participation of the target group in the design of such services and citizen feedback.57 Existing research also suggests that e-consultations work best where there is “political willingness, political listening, clearly formulated purpose and objectives, effective institutional preparedness and designated lines of authority for processing and responding to inputs”,58 all of which factors are highly contingent on the particular institutional system of e-government. This is therefore very much work in progress, with a steep learning curve for governments, even in developed countries. One study for example, on initiatives in Europe, found that “citizens are invited to the policy-making table and are consulted, but the extent to which institutions ‘learn’ and take citizens’ inputs seriously in the process is uncertain.” 59
Co-production of services
The co-production of services is a promising horizon for women’s empowerment and an exciting frontier for e-government. By engaging women to collaborate in the design and delivery of public services, informational services for women can encourage the local production of information in a manner that recognizes women’s pre-existing local knowledge.60
Women can be part of specific service components if new modalities in e-government are based on partnerships and collaboration that brings women new strategic choices to expand their capabilities and to make services more responsive. Examples of ICT centres from Thailand highlight how access to such centres and digital literacy training for local communities and groups have led to enhanced community management, for instance, in water management. The engagement of dynamic intermediaries was considered a major factor influencing these positive outcomes, which included changes in public perception and interaction with technology, and resulted in the local community using technology in developing solutions.61 However, in a fledgling field, the engagement of women in co-design and in co-creation of services is yet to be explored systematically by governments.
Accessible and affordable connectivity has been an important component for successful e-government efforts.62 Some key insights on creating a connectivity architecture that is gender-inclusive are summarized below.
Public access policies and programmes
Public access can complement private access, particularly for those segments of the population with limited digital capabilities, such as citizens from lower socioeconomic strata and older persons, even in contexts with high levels of connectivity.63 In fact, a recent eight-country research study led by the University of Washington on the impact of public access to ICTs concluded that:
“the value of public access ICTs is not limited to countries with very low levels of digital connectivity. Public access is equally important in higher connectivity countries, supporting multiple modalities of access, and ensuring that marginalized groups can access the resources to join the information society. There is reason for both widespread and strategic support for public access availability in low and middle income countries”.64
Considering that the existing sociostructural divides between women and men have produced a global gender divide in terms of access to the connectivity architecture underpinning the information society, women ought to be a key constituency on which to focus efforts of public access.65 Public connectivity points also have the potential to become local hubs for educational and entrepreneurial activity that builds on the strength of local digital knowledge ecosystems.66
Though there is evidence of their potential to enhance women’s access to governance information and services, education, health, and leisure activities, research reveals that public access points do not automatically open up opportunities for women’s empowerment. This is because in many contexts, sociocultural norms may restrict women’s mobility and participation in the public sphere, and thus, public access points, such as Internet cafes, end up as male bastions that intimidate women.67 Therefore, the design of public access points needs to be consciously geared towards creating a space that welcomes women. It was found in one study that women tend to frequent libraries and community telecentres more than cybercafes.68
The institutional design factors that make some public access points more gender-inclusive than others needs to be understood for framing appropriate policy directions. This is an urgent imperative, considering that gender concerns remain absent from ICT policies in most countries.69
Digital opportunity and mobile connectivity
In developing country contexts, government strategies to build the connectivity infrastructure, especially for women and other marginalized groups, have mostly focused on tapping into the potential of mobile broadband. This has resulted in a situation where in the global South, mobile broadband has become a replacement rather than a complement to fixed broadband.70
Though the investments required for mobile broadband are much lower than that of building fixed broadband infrastructure, it is important for country governments to fully consider the trade-offs involved in this exclusive pursuit of a mobile-based strategy for connectivity. As highlighted by the 2012 Report of the ITU on ‘Measuring the Information Society’:
“It is also important to note that while mobile-broadband technology helps to increase coverage and offer mobility, the mobile networks and services currently in place usually only allow limited data access, at lower speeds, which often makes mobile-broadband subscriptions unsuitable for intensive users, such as businesses and institutions. High-speed, reliable broadband access is particularly important for the delivery of vital public services, such as those related to education, health and government. The potential and benefit of mobile-broadband services is therefore constrained when mobile broadband is used to replace, rather than complement, fixed (wired)-broadband access.” 71
As has been discussed in the previous sections, e-government efficacy, especially to meet the goals of women’s empowerment, is contingent upon sensitivity and sophistication in the design of service delivery. The connectivity architecture is an important ingredient in this mix, and serves both institutional and individual capacities.
Thus, “...[t]he mobile is but one part of the menu, with a wide-ranging complex of servers, apps, platforms, wired and wireless connectivity, human organization and contextual priorities and much more, powering what we see as ‘use’.” 72 For the majority of the world’s marginalized women situated in developing country contexts, the ability to access the full range of opportunities in the emerging digital ecosystem would require adequate attention to the connectivity architecture in e-government initiatives.
The literature reviewed above reveals some critical insights for what makes an e-government ecosystem gender inclusive and responsive.The following chapter attempts to piece together these guiding points into a framework that allows for a comprehensive stocktaking of if and how the e-government ecosystem,as a whole, effectively addresses the goal of women’s empowerment. It seeks to use the analytical pegs emerging from the various pointers existing in the literature as discussed above, within a coherent framework to investigate the gender quotient of e-government and its constituent components.
- Hafkin, N. (2002). Gender issues in ICT policy in developing countries: An overview. Retrieved from http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/egm/ict2002/reports/Paper-NHafkin.PDF, 21 April 2016; United Nations. (2010). Information and communications technology and gender equality: new opportunities and challenges for public administration to implement the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals. Retrieved from http://unpan1.un.org/intradoc/groups/public/documents/un-dpadm/unpan037850.pdf, 21 April 2016.
- Choi, D.J., & Zoo, H. (2011). E-government for women in Korea: Implications to developing countries in Asia Pacific. APWIN, 12, pp. 78–109. Retrieved from http://family.sookmyung.ac.kr/wiz/user/apwinc/download/apwin2011.pdf#page=79, 21 April 2016; Huyer, S. (2010). Handbook on gender, ICT policy and e-government in Africa. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. Retrieved from http://repository.uneca.org/bitstream/handle/10855/2987/Bib.%2024586_I.pdf?sequence=1, 21 April 2016.
- United Nations. (2014). E-Government Survey 2014: E-government for the future we want, p. 138. Retrieved from https://publicadministration.un.org/egovkb/portals/egovkb/documents/un/2014-survey/e-gov_complete_survey-2014.pdf, 21 April 2016.
- Co-production is a mode of public service delivery in which citizens are actively involved in the creation of public policies and services. In contrast to being passive recipients, citizens may be engaged not only in the design but in the running and management of services as well. Bason, C. 2010. Leading public sector innovation: Co-creating for a better society, Bristol: Policy Press
- UNPOG. (2013). From promoting gender equality to empowering women: Role of e-government in Asia and the Pacific. Retrieved from http://www.unpog.org/file/201310/GenderStudy_Website_October%202013.pdf, 21 April 2016.
- Schuppan, T. (2009). E-government in developing countries: Experiences from sub-Saharan Africa. Government Information Quarterly, 26, pp. 118–127. Retrieved from www.ifg.cc/_pdf/GIQ_E-Government_in_developing_countries.pdf, 21 April 2016; ITU. (2013). The world in 2013: ICT facts and figures. Retrieved www.itu.int/en/ITU-D/Statistics/Documents/facts/ICTFactsFigures2013-e.pdf, 21 April 2016.
- United Nations, 2014, op.cit., cited in ITU. (2014). Measuring the Information Society, p. 19. Retrieved from https://www.itu.int/en/ITU-D/Statistics/Documents/publications/mis2014/MIS2014_without_Annex_4.pdf, 21 April 2016.
- ITU, 2014, op.cit., p. 64.
- ITU, 2014, op.cit., p. 21.
- United Nations, 2014, op.cit., pp. 128–129
- United Nations, 2014, op.cit., p. 130.
- In this study, citizen uptake is understood as a composite idea that includes uptake of e-services among citizens as well as e-information, e-consultation and e-decision-making.
- Broadband Commission Working Group on Broadband and Gender. (2013). Doubling digital opportunities: Enhancing the inclusion of women and girls in the information society. Retrieved from http://www.broadbandcommission.org/Documents/working-groups/bb-doubling-digital-2013.pdf, 21 April 2016.
- United Nations, 2014, op.cit., p. 138.
- United Nations, 2014, op.cit.; Huyer, op.cit.
- United Nations, 2014, op.cit.; Melhem, S., Morrell, C., & Tandon, N. (2009). Information and communication technologies for women’s socio-economic empowerment. Retrieved from http://elibrary.worldbank.org/doi/abs/10.1596/978-0-8213-8133-5, 21 April 2016.
- Akman, I., Yazici, A., Mishra, A., & Arifoglu, A. (2005). E-government: A global view and an empirical evaluation of some attributes of citizens. Government Information Quarterly. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Alok_Mishra5/publication/222574441_E-Government_A_global_view_and_an_empirical_evaluation_of_some_attributes_of_citizens/links/00463516bfde06457f000000.pdf, 21 April 2016. Often, studies have produced divergent results, ranging from sex being a determining attribute in propensity to use the Internet and e-Government, to sex being a negligible factor. See Papadomichelaki, X., & Mentzas, G. (2011). Analysing e-government service quality in Greece. Electronic Government, An International Journal, 8(4), pp. 290–308. Retrieved from http://www.academia.edu/3446040/Analysing_e-government_service_quality_in_Greece, 21 April 2016.
- Cheung, C.M.K., Lee, M.K.O., & Chen, Z. (2002). Using the Internet as a learning medium: An exploration of gender difference in the adoption of FabWeb. In Proceedings of the 35th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, cited in Surgevil, O., & Ozbilgin. M.F. (2012). Women in information communication technologies. In C.R. Livermore (Ed.), Gender and social computing: Interactions, differences and relationships (pp. 87–97). Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference. Retrieved from http://www.academia.edu/789564/Women_in_Information_Communication_Technologies, 21 April 2016.
- Choudrie, J., Umeoji, E., & Forson, C. (2012). Diffusion of e-government in Nigeria: A qualitative study of culture and gender. University of Hertfordshire Business School Working Paper. Retrieved from http://uhra.herts.ac.uk/bitstream/handle/2299/8743/s136.pdf?sequence=1, 21 April 2016.
- Arduini, D., & Zanfei, A. (2011). What do we know from the literature on public e-services? Working Paper Series in Economics, Mathematics and Statistics, University of Urbino. Retrieved from http://www.econ.uniurb.it/RePEc/urb/wpaper/WP_11_11.pdf, 21 April 2016; Lips, M. (2007). E-government under construction: Challenging traditional conceptions of citizenship. In P.G. Nixon & V.N. Koutrakou (Eds.), E-government in Europe: Re-booting the state (pp. 33–47). London: Routledge; Löfstedt, U. (2007). Public e-services research: A critical analysis of current research in Sweden. International Journal of Public Information Systems, 3(2), pp. 101–112. Retrieved from http://www.ijpis.net/ojs/index.php/IJPIS/article/viewFile/44/40, 21 April 2016.
- Alshawi, S., & Alalwany, H. (2009). E-government evaluation: Citizen’s perspective in developing countries. Information Technology for Development, 15(3), pp. 193–208. Retrieved from http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1002/itdj.20125?journalCode=titd20#.VJ_rQAALA, 21 April 2016.
- In e-governance literature, intermediation refers to the displacement of traditional patron-client linkages in governance systems by new digitally-mediated networks. See Sorrentino, M., & Niehaves, B. (2010). Intermediaries in e-inclusion, A literature review. In Proceedings of the 43rd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences 2010. Retrieved from http://www.computer.org/csdl/proceedings/hicss/2010/3869/00/04-04-02.pdf, 21 April 2016.
- Kuriyan, R., & Ray, I. (2007). Public-private partnerships and information technologies for development in India. In Proceedings of the 2nd IEEE/ACM International Conference ICTD 2007. Retrieved from http://tier.cs.berkeley.edu/docs/Renee-ppp-ictd2007.pdf, 21 April 2016.
- Bailur, S., & Masiero, S. (2012). The complex position of the intermediary in telecenters and community multimedia centers. Information Technologies & International Development, 8(1), pp. 27–42. Retrieved from http://itidjournal.org/index.php/itid/article/view/841/345, 21 April 2016.
- Bailur & Masiero, op.cit., p. 37.
- Stewart, J.K. & Hyysalo, S. (2008). Intermediaries, Users and Social Learning in Technological Innovation. International Journal of Innovation Management, 12(3), pp. 295–325, cited in Ramirez, R., Parthasarathy, B., & Gordon, A.C. (2014). Ensuring inclusion in the information age: Infomediaries and the role of empathy. [Abstract]. IT for Change, IDRC Round Table on Inclusion in the Network Society: Mapping development alternatives, forging research agendas.
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