Position Statement on Information Communication Technology and Older Women



The Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing that was adopted at the Second World Assembly on Ageing in April 2002 calls for governments to ensure that the benefits of new technologies, especially information and communication technologies, are available to all, taking into account the needs of older women.

The worldwide proliferation of technology offers a unique opportunity for expanding the economic, social, and political conditions for women of all ages. Older women, however, need to become more knowledgeable and keep current with changes in an information -based society.

Knowledge of computer technologies can help older women locate sources that offer a wide range of information, including employment openings, commercial opportunities, up-to­-date ideas for agriculture, crafts, use of natural resources, marketing products, and even the selection of material and services at greatly reduced costs from those available in local markets.

In both developing and developed nations of the world, older women’s lives can be improved through increased participation in information and communication technologies. Isolated in rural areas or homebound by care-taking responsibilities or disability, older women can utilize computers to maintain contacts with individuals and groups for mutual support and to build vital links to the outside world. Readily accessible health sites on the computer open paths to health care for older women and for those for whom they care where there might be alack of access to other medical or health service systems.

Political awareness and cooperation can also result in a positive outcome. News and analysis from a women’s perspective is uniquely open to those able to search the network and enter a variety of networks. Information from and about older women can be shared through these venues, increasing understanding about older women issues among the public and policymakers at community, national, and international levels.

User-friendly information and training can be developed and disseminated to assist older women to respond effectively to the technological demands of everyday life. Training that is now directed to younger women can be broadened to involve older women and educational opportunities of all sorts can become accessible. Special efforts can be made to provide computers and technical assistance to places in the community where older women meet, and integrated learning communities where old and young teach each other can make use of an enormous educational potential for both generations.

Access to information and computer technology should be viewed as a basic requirement for a good quality of life for older women. Poverty and exclusion remain the greatest threats to the well being of older women. By excluding older women from participation in information and communications technology opportunities, the feminization of poverty at an older age will become a certainty. The benefits of social “inclusion” of older women is apparent. The rapid increase in the numbers and proportion of older women make it imperative that this growing population understand and benefit from it.

NGO Committee on Ageing • PO Box 1854 • New York, NY • 10163-1854