Experience of Belarus in measuring gender aspects in using information and communication technologies presented in Geneva

The Meeting of the Group of Expert on Gender Statistics organised by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) was held in Geneva (Swiss Confederation) from May 10 to 12, 2023. The aims of the event were to facilitate exchange of experience among countries and to increase knowledge of gender issues to take forward methodological work and strengthen multilateral cooperation on gender statistics among countries participating in the Conference of European Statisticians.

The Meeting discussed topical issues of measuring gender pay gap and income inequality, gender digital divide, violence against women, gender approach to climate and environmental issues, new approaches to measuring unpaid work and work-life balance as well as current and future work on gender statistics under the Conference of European Statisticians.

The Belarusian side was represented at the event by First Deputy Chairperson of Belstat Elena Kukharevich and Head of the Living Standards Statistics and Household Surveys Department Inna Konoshonok.

During the Meeting Elena Kukharevich spoke about gender aspects in using information and communication technologies (ICT) in the Republic of Belarus. The relevance of the topic is determined by the fact that a characteristic feature of modern Belarusian society is active use of information and communication technologies by the population. Women and men are increasingly becoming involved in modern spheres of communication by mastering digital technologies and the Internet space.

Researching the role of ICT in human life, Belarusian statisticians are constantly improving the programme of household living standards survey, because the development of information society is one of the national priorities of our country. The dynamics of ICT penetration in the life of Belarusians shows that the equal access of women and men to ICT is ensured, despite the existing problem of gender inequality in the world, deprivation of women and girls of rights and opportunities for access to digital technologies.

In her report, the First Deputy Chairperson of Belstat noted that Belarus is significantly ahead of the world averages in some ICT indicators.

Thus, according to the 2022 report of the International Telecommunication Union, 63% of women and 69% of men in the world use the Internet. In Belarus, the picture is somewhat the opposite. The proportion of the population using the Internet in our country is 90.1% for women and 88.6% for men, and the value of this indicator for women exceeds the values of the same indicator for the European countries (88.6%) and the CIS countries (83.4%).

Another indicator that clearly shows the high degree of ICT usage is the use of cellular telecommunication services. In Belarus, the proportion of women using cellular telecommunication services is 98.9%, which is higher than the same proportion of men (98.2%).
All this is, on the one hand, a result of human information activity: her/his desire, capabilities and readiness to actively use ICTs, and on the other hand, a result of existing state informatization programmes. At present, the State Programme "Digital Development of Belarus" for 2021-2025 is being implemented in the country; its objective is to introduce information and communication and advanced production technologies into the sectors of the national economy and spheres of life of the society by creating favourable conditions to ensure and support digital development processes, by improving the national information and communication infrastructure and services, and by implementing a number of other tasks.

Summing up her speech, Ms Kukharevich stressed that ICT in our country have been developing actively and, which is especially important, with stable positive dynamics. Women in Belarus are widely involved in the use of ICT, and their level of involvement is not inferior to that of men, which demonstrates that there is no gender aspect of information inequality.

The presentation made by the Belarusian side aroused great interest in the international expert community.

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