Gender & ICTs
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.
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.
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?
The First International Symposium on Women and ICT took place in Baltimore, Maryland, USA in mid-June. There are different priorities coming up. For instance, the US is concerned about support for women in the information technology sector, the need for attracting more women to higher education, and having better slots open to them. From the South, the priority is still infrastructure and access. At Baltimore, meanwhile, the APC’s WNSP shared experiences in its Gender Evaluation Methodology for information and communication technologies (ICTs), to shared tools for participants to measure progress achieved on the gender front.
Albania’s national ICT (information and communication technologies) strategy is one of its kind in Central and Eastern Europe, with a marked effort to include women’s needs and views. Gender incorporation in ICTs was part of Albania’s attempt to address growing disparities in income, gender and geographical location. What can we learn from their experience for future gender-sensitive ICT policy framing?
There’s a contradictory silence surrounding Section J of the Beijing Platform for Action that relates to issues of women and the media at this year’s Beijing + 10. What are the possible reasons for the lack of vocalisation on this issue, even as women’s movements working on various issues recognise the impact and power of the media in their work?
ICTs, or information and communication technologies, offer immense possibilities to reduce poverty, improve governance and advance gender equality in Africa. But, cautions an APC-produced paper on the role of ICTs in the development of African women, this will happen only if these technologies are made more accessible and consciously applied to achieve these objects.