Measuring and Bridging the Gender Digital Divide in Rural Pakistan

Despite that approximately 70% of Pakistan's 160 million inhabitants living in rural villages, nearly 90% of the ICT-related infrastructure is installed in urban areas. This leaves a large portion of the country's populace without access to ICTs potential to support human development. The widespread disparity in access between different population groups, often referred to as the 'digital divide', can also be seen between women and men, and girls and boys. The attendant result is a challenge to the development promises made by the significant growth of ICTs in spite of the premium placed on it by experts over the last decade.

This project aims at looking into issues of access and to increase the understanding of disparate benefits using a gender-specific lens in rural Pakistan. More specifically the researchers propose to critically examining the gender-specific aspects of ICT use and its impact on development in rural areas of Pakistan. Challenging the assumptions of ITCs as gender-neutral, context-free artifacts, the project aims at measuring different dimensions of the gender digital divide in these communities, raise awareness about the gender disparity, and draw lessons for appropriate technology and governance conducive for improved access to ICTs by women and girls. Addressing one of the common gaps left by initiatives that only address rural-urban digital divide and seldom consider gender dimensions of these ICT interventions, this project considers if and how rural girls and women access and use different ICTs, and the bi-directional influence this has in gender relations situated in the rural Pakistan.

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Monday, October 22, 2007

End Date

Friday, April 30, 2010


12 months

IDRC Officer

Sinha, Chaitali

Total funding

CA$ 65,565


Pakistan, Central Asia, Far East Asia, South Asia


Maternal and Child Health

Project Leader

Karin Astrid Siegmann


Sustainable Development Policy Institute

Institution Country


Institution Website