What do ostrich eggs, free attitudes, ICT and graciousness have in common? An exciting new research initiative that brings together African researchers to study Africa, ICTs and women’s empowerment, called GRACE. The Gender Research in Africa into ICTs for Empowerment held its first researcher capacity-building workshop in Durban in July 2005, and while researchers from all over the continent honed their project proposals and fine-tuned networking skills, they also learned how to create ostrich eggs around themselves.
Communication infrastructures are changing at such an accelerated pace that while new technologies are released continuously, we are still ignorant about questions of internet interconnection. While the users of the North reap the benefits brought about by information and communication technologies’ advances, the users of the South are increasingly prevented from taking advantage of the innovations. Leading among the many factors, the privatisation of this sector’s operations in the industrialised countries and the adoption of new technologies have reduced the financial flows of the network towards the developing world. Available in English and Spanish.
What changes does World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) — which meets in Tunisia in November — bring in regards to gender equality and women’s empowerment? Is WSIS worth it? How effective is gender advocates participation? What are the main challenges faced by gender equality advocates? This paper aims to answer these questions and summarise what has been achieved so far for gender equality in the WSIS process. It seeks to clarify the "gender and ICT" agenda for both phases of the WSIS. It analyses why gender advocacy was such a challenge within the whole process, and assess the outcomes as well as some of the indirect benefits WSIS brought for gender and ICT advocates. Written by Karen Banks, APC.
The second phase of World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) takes place in Tunisia later this year. APC’s GenderIT.org team joined the third and final preparatory meeting, held in Geneva (Switzerland) from September 19 to 30. In the run-up to the mid-November WSIS summit, there ‘s a special section collating a wide variety of resources and articles related to gender and the WSIS.
The word ‘trafficking’ suggests something very physical. But does it always have to be so? Take this case: a 19-year-old is filmed by her 30-year-old lover while they have sex. They break up, and years later, without her consent, the video hits the internet. Suddenly, the woman’s image is crossing the world, making some people a lot of money in the process too. Is this trafficking? The woman herself hasn’t been transported across any international boundaries. But her image has. An informative backgrounder to the modern dimensions of a global issue of widespread concerns.
Follow GenderIT.org writers Jac sm Kee and Brenda Zulu as they participate in the third and final WSIS preparatory meeting (PrepCom3) before the summit in Tunis. Read their postings from Geneva about the activities of gender advocates, and women’s concerns.
A "Cantenna"? What’s that? It’s a solution that comes out of using empty tin cans and other simple tools that a lot of communities can afford. "Cantenna" technology can make wireless connection cheaper for poorly served rural areas and economically disadvantaged African people who do not have access to Internet connectivity. This is what emerges from a report on an APC-run series of capacity-building workshops in Africa.
A mobile help-line service that takes information to the poor in Bangladesh, an information and communication technologies (ICT) centre that shares skills with marginalised women in India, and a venture that encourages home-based careers for Malaysian women won this year’s Gender and Information & Communication Technology (GICT) Awards sponsored by the Association for Progressive Communications Women’s Networking Support Programme (APC WNSP) and the Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP).
On June 17, 2005, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, approved .xxx as a global top-level domain for sexually explicit material on the internet, after five years of negotiations. Jac sm Kee from APC WNSP uses this peg to point out that the issue goes much further. Women have to demand their right to freely move, create knowledge and represent their diversity, communicate and form networks with each other and be safe from harm. Can information and communication technologies help to truly transform socil relations, instead of just amplifying inequalities?
APC member Ungana-Afrika has won this year’s Dirk Award, given annually to circuit or eRiders making an extraordinary contribution. eRiders are ICT capacity-builders for development organizations, and work in a movement which spans over 20 countries.