Inclusive Information Society
“You have to get yourself together; you have to think that it is up to you to go on, to be able to change something. We are equal and we all have the same rights. The fact that I cannot walk anymore is just something a little different.” – Daniela, 'Training Without Boundaries' project - Romania
As the world becomes increasingly technology-dependent, the lack of access to ICT infrastructure and the lack of skills to utilise technology of some individuals and groups leads to what is called the digital divide. This gulf is best known when it relates to the disparity of ICT access between the citizens of developing countries and those of more developed countries (referred to as the international digital divide), yet it also occurs within societies, and can lead to considerable social exclusion.
This exclusion is experienced predominately by certain distinct groups within society, who for differing reasons lack access to the ICT infrastructure and to technology; they include: those with disabilities (both physical and non-physical), the unemployed, the elderly, the less educated, and inhabitants of remote areas, and they are referred to as marginalised groups.
For many disadvantaged social groups, digital literacy provides the passage to the Information Society enabling greater social interaction, cultural exchange, and tolerance to diversity. As an increasing number of public and commercial services go online, digital literacy is becoming an essential life skill to interact as a citizen and a consumer.
Initiatives and actions which reduce marginalisation of these groups through improved digital literacy and access to ICT and technology fall under a general heading of e-inclusion, and serve as a powerful forces for empowerment of individuals and groups.
Higher levels of digital literacy are also an essential prerequisite for delivering e-government services to all citizens.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
CSR is an umbrella concept that combines all business contributions to the economy, society, and to the environment. It involves voluntary initiatives from companies which go beyond the legal requirements of corporate responsibility. It is of direct benefit both to the companies and employers that participate in CSR schemes, and the individuals and communities positively affected by them. Digital literacy initiatives in CSR are having an increasingly positive impact globally.