FOSS, or free/libre and open source software, has dramatically changed the way software is produced, distributed, supported and used. It has a visible impact on enabling a richer social inclusion. But how has it allowed the gender problem existing in the software industry to be replicated in the world of FOSS? Amsterdam-based Taiwanese researcher Yuwei Lin lists seven reasons why women stay off FOSS — including its strong long-hour coding culture, a lack of mentors and role-models, discriminatory language (including in documentation), a gendered text-based environment, a lack of women-centered views in FOSS-development, a male-dominated competitive worldview, and the lack of sympathy from woman peers.
As part of his Asian tour to promote free/libre and open source software (FOSS), the techie-millionaire founder of the Ubuntu Linux Foundation Mark Shuttleworth spent a day in Manila on February 2 to meet with different sectors of the ICT industry in the country.
Nine skilled information and communication technologies (ICT) trainers from five different women’s media organisations met in Mexico City in February of 2006. They came together to learn about a medium they never imagined they would one day have access to: video. The “Media Mujeres Mexico” project brought two trainers from Montreal to Mexico, equipped with a miniDV camera and a boom pole, to offer a basic training in video theory and practice for women.
Last year, civil society organisation Nodo Tau provided training to a group of young deaf-mutes at the free software based community computer telecentre that is available at its headquarters. A telecentre is a space that provides a community open access to technologies. Trainings are also held at these locations on the use of these technologies so neighbours can use them to resolve problems and improve their community.
Does it make sense to monitor information about women that is published or transmitted through by the media? Is the image that media construct of women important? In what way does it influence our social imaginary for women to almost always appear in the news as victims and rarely as experts on subjects of political, social and economic relevance? The WACC made the results of its media monitoring known on February 16th, 2006 and thus launched three action weeks to raise awareness on the treatment that women receive in the media and the information disseminated about them.
Ungana-Afrika is looking for organisations interested in eRiding in Southern Africa. Do you have what it takes?
Some months after the heat and dust settled on the Tunisian skyline, APC has come up with its evaluation of what the four-year World Summit on the Information Society could hold out for people on the planet. And our reflections throw up a mixed bag. There are some positive signs emerging from WSIS, it suggests. But unless active steps are taken to ensure that vested interests don’t take over, and local opportunities are created, all hope and optimism could be rather misplaced. Read the eleven-page report.
APC member SANGONeT holds its "ICTs for Civil Society" conference on March 7-9, 2006 at Johannesburg, together with its South African NGO Web Awards 2006. A number of speakers from organisations doing interesting work have firmed up participation in the event, and over 300 participants are expected. In store is an exciting event with much opportunity for learning, debate, information-sharing and networking.
London-based APC member GreenNet has had a "dynamic" past year as far as its web sites go. After three years of developing tools for dynamic web site construction, it is seeing the results in the form of content-rich sites that it has helped launch into cyberspace.
CEPES, the Peruvian Centre for Social Studies, is unrolling web projects one after the other. For the last three years, the Peruvian APC member has been promoting website solutions for a variety of actors working in Peru’s rural and often remote districts. Small farmers, passionate environmentalists and civil servants from the Ministry of Agriculture have discovered the ActionApps content management system (CMS). "We’ve been spreading the web-based tool as a way to support rural development," says a passionate Carlos Saldarriaga, CEPES representative to APC.