OECD Observer

©David Rooney

Wikigender.org: Did you know that over 40% of girls in Bangladesh are married before the age of 15? Or that 95% of Egyptian women had undergone some form of female genital cutting?

Women continue to suffer in far too many countries from serious social and economic discrimination, even repression. Though ending discrimination is essential for progress, clearly much more progress has to be made in forging gender rights at every level and in every country. In the developed world, women still encounter discrimination in education and at work.

Indeed, the average median wages for men are still 15% higher than those for women in the OECD area. And today, nearly a century after the first International Women’s Day in 1911, just 23 out of 193 heads of state are women.

But even where reforms are introduced, how can we monitor real gains? How can we assess both advances and setbacks in gender equality, whether in politics or in business, or in normal everyday life? One approach is to encourage a wider exchange of experiences, to expose incidences, share insights and to create a momentum for change.

This is what Wikigender (www.wikigender.org), a new website from the OECD Development Centre, aims to achieve. Launched on 7 March, the day before International Women’s Day, Wikigender enables users from the general public to view, add and edit material on gender equality. Once registered, users can access articles by using the search option, or browse by category of interest. Users will also be able to discuss and exchange opinions on information published on the website. The website also features a new article every week, an index and multiple links to information on gender equality.

The new site has already gathered a trove of information on women based on their religion, their country of origin and their social and economic situations. It has attracted worldwide media attention, with over 100,000 page clicks in its first few weeks of use and more than 120 users signed up to help manage the content. For more detail, contact Denis.Drechsler@oecd.org

Ask the economists: Environment: What price a cleaner planet? (March 2008) and Internet and development: Towards a Wider World Web (February 2008) were recent themes in this lively Q&A interactive public debate series. See www.oecd.org/asktheeconomists.

The OECD.Stat web browser, providing direct access to OECD’s databanks, has undergone a major revision. While still in beta, subscribers will find the new version has enhanced navigation, better graphics and improved performance. See www.sourceoecd.org/database/oecdstat.

A new broadband portal has been launched, providing a range of broadband-related statistics gathered by the OECD. See www.oecd.org/sti/ict/broadband.

Israel, a candidate for OECD membership, has launched a new website on its candidacy. See www.oecd.gov.il.

©OECD Observer No 266, March 2008

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