Gender & ICTs
For four days from March 31, fifteen women gathered at the Feminist Tech Exchange in the Brazzaville (Congo) Digital Campus. Participants and trainers alike came from human and women’s rights organisations, the media and politics to learn more about how to use technology to end violence against women and girls. APC member Azur Développement was involved in putting on the event which talked about the hows and whys of blogging, using video, audio and mobile phones, as well as social networking. The FTX is a part of the APC’s Take Back the Tech! to end violence against women project in twelve countries. Watch the video of the event (in French).
While the Indian government attempts to include gender on the official agenda in traditional sectors like health and education, gender within the technology sphere is a relatively new concept in India and one that government officials are just not ready to take seriously. They are not convinced by recent findings on the disempowerment of women into rural e-governance in Chhattisgarh, India’s poorest state, and this has been a challenge for lead researcher Dr. Anupama Saxena, a political scientist. Saxena tells APCNews about the struggle to be taken seriously and how the GEM, APC’s Gender Evaluation Methodology (GEM), has given her the credibility and confidence to tackle policy makers head-on.
Doing a search for women´s institutes in Mexico yields few results – even though all women´s institutes are required by law to have websites. Mexico´s 2002 transparency law was heralded as key to ending corruption, a vindication of citizens’ right to know.
Two out of three gay South African respondents to an online survey said that going online had helped them accept their sexual orientation and many admitted to coming out online before they did so offline. But the voices of transgender people rarely appear in studies and surveys. To address the gap, APC EroTICs researcher Jeanne Prinsloo of the University of Grahamstown looks at the use of a transgender site which provides a critical space for trans people to lurk and listen to ideas and debates that are not present in mainstream sites, to rehearse their new identity and to assess the risks they might take. Image: “Gender Dynamix”:http://www.genderdynamix.co.za/
Freedom of speech and its flipside, access to information, is guaranteed by the First Amendment of the US Constitution. However federally-funded libraries are required to prevent people under eighteen accessing “harmful” content. Kevicha Echols and Melissa Ditmore investigate the use of internet filters on public library computers and find that measures adopted by libraries range from installation of filtering software on all computers for child and adult use to no filters at all! The law is being implemented differently varying across city, county and state. Sectors of the society most likely to be affected by this ad hoc censorship are young people and the economically-disadvantaged who rely particularly on library computers to access online information. Photo: “FallWithMe”:http://www.flickr.com/people/fallwithme/
The proliferation of sexual content on the internet and the considerable size of the pornography market online is a concern to lots of different groups. However while the online adult sex industry accounts for 12% of web pages, the internet has also been used to express and explore a range of sexual experiences, relationships and content that cannot be considered “harmful”. This kind content is very important to people’s right to freedom of expression and right to information. Especially for people who have little access to resources, rights and spaces in the “off-line” world. Learn more about these issues and the research that APC is doing to understand them better.