Gender & ICTs
Media should be the main source of information on what is really happening in the world. But, is it? If it neglects to make 52% of the population visible, what reality are we talking about? These and other questions were asked and addressed by hundred of activists that participated in the Global Media Monitoring. Having taken place the 16th of February of 2005, and every 5 years since 1995 under the sponsorship of the World Association for Christian Communication.
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.
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.
Here is a good piece by Judy Rebick and Velcrow Ripper about the WSF. They say that "The inclusion of aboriginal people in this World Social Forum was a welcome change from the past. Another was the much greater participation of women in many of the panels. Women's issues were also a major theme of the event." Read the full article A tale of two social forums
APCNews reporters cover the 6th Polycentric World Social Forums of Bamako and Caracas in four languages
The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) provides online coverage of the World Social Forums (WSFs) happening on three continents this year. While Bamako hosted the first in a series of three consecutive WSFs, Caracas is presently filling up with participants from the world of NGOs, grassroots social movements and the socially engaged from all over the Americas. During 10 days, between January 19 and 29, follow frequent updates on APC blogs, articles on ICT-related workshops and conferences with APCNews, as well as in-depth reports on GenderIT.org and the Africa and Latin American & the Caribbean ICT policy monitor portals.
Women’sNet’s training co-ordinator Elizabeth "Liz" Araujo writes that the recent Africa Source 2 event was set "against a beautiful Lake Victoria island backdrop, replete with sandy beaches, and fishing boats", and turned out to be a "smashing success". Held from January 8-15, 2006, the skills-packed practical workshop was aimed at introducing and exploring free/libre and open source software (FOSS) for non-profit organisations and local African communities. She says that what made this camp radically different from other technology-focused workshops was the almost natural seeming integration of novice, occasional user and high-end techie.
‘Mainstreaming ICTs: Africa Lives the Information Society" is a contribution towards efforts to bridge the "policy-practice" divide. The book is amied at development practitioners and ICT innovators interested in inventive technology applications for social justice and development. It contains 10 case studies reflecting on the innovative and creative ways information and communciation technologies (ICTs) have been used to promote people-centred development in a number of Sub-Saharan African countries. The book was compiled and edited by Women’sNet with the assistance of a Southern African editorial group including Toni Eliasz, Ria Greyling, Benter Okello, Muroro Dziruni, Ashraf Patel, and Natasha Primo. The project was supported by the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA).
Natasha Primo recently became the first-ever woman to chair APC, or the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), which one publication called The African Digital Commons described as being founded by a team "clued in to the potential power of ICTs at a time when many of us still thought of computers as glorified typewriters". Primo, also the executive director of the South Africa-based Women’sNet, outlines some issues, challenges and plans that stand before APC.
Integrating GEM, or the Gender Evaluation Methodology, in the women’s health context, can be a daunting task and there are no quick answers to gender issues in their contexts. But tools like GEM could help one immediately know if their projects are "gender friendly", suggests the experience of a mini-workshop held recently in Vietnam.
http://wentafrica.blogspot.com/ is an electronic reflection of the Women’s Electronic Networking Training, which began in early December at Uganda. Women from Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Uganda, Cameroon, Zambia, Sudan, Cameroon, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Ghana and Senegal are participating in the second such workshop being hosted by APC-Africa-Women. This year, the focus of WENT Africa 2005 is Free and Open Source Software Solutions (FOSS) in women’s organisations in Africa. Melissa’s screen began by talking gobledeegook!