“Digital Bangladesh” implies the
use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in the governance
processes to ensure transparency, accountability, equality and inclusiveness.
E-governance is a byproduct of ICT and digitalization agenda of Bangladesh. The
critical role of e-governance in the larger project of harnessing the
information society opportunity for women’s empowerment and gender equality has
widely been acknowledged (United Nations 2010). Hence e-governance holds
tremendous potential to strengthen targeted service delivery to women (Huyer
2010). On the other hand, Government of Bangladesh holds mandate for uplifting
the women’s status by establishing equal opportunity, participation of women in
national life and ensuring the equality in public employment ignoring the sex
as constitutional obligation under the article 10, 19 and 29. Through the
vision 2021, the government has undertaken various steps towards ensuring the
women’s development. To attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the
country is adopting strategies to ensure the gender equality and women’s
empowerment as well as implementing the mandates of the Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the
Beijing Platform for Action. The 7th Five Year Plan (2016-2020) of Bangladesh government
reflects women’s engagement in political and economic activities as a
cross-cutting issue and one of the main drivers of gender parity. National
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Policy 2015 focuses on gender as
a cross cutting theme for a number of areas. The first objective aims at
ensuring the social equity through reducing the economic inequality and digital
divide specially regarding to the women. It emphasizes on the gender equality,
equal opportunity and equal participation in employment. The action plan of the
policy denotes for implementing the strategic theme for eradicating the
economic inequality and digital divide in respect of women. However, as
governance increasingly moves towards becoming ‘digital by default’, women are
likely, because of their socio-cultural location, to be more alienated and
excluded. As a result, new alarming inequalities are emerging in our society.
Now, the question is why it happens in Bangladesh while uplifting the women’s
rights and ensuring the equality is a constitutional mandate.  How digitalization through e-governance could
influence gender equality in terms of the substance of women’s ’empowerment’ in
Bangladesh? What is the current status of women’s empowerment in the country?


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