By GenderIT.org 15 November 2019
This edition brings back the conversation to its roots. To the essence of the reasons behind our desire to connect ourselves and each other. It sheds light on who the unconnected are and dispels the myth of the underserved as powerless and in need of saving. It brings back power to the endless creative possibilities of communities that seek self-determination. It offers a closer look at the beauty of what communities around the world are producing to resist the uniformity of the greedy systems that are engulfing the planet and threatening our horizons.
The published pieces attempt to reflect the many tongues and modes of communication that women resort to while performing their skilled labour in creating, sustaining and building community networks. They offer an insight into the women whose “work” cannot be distinguished from their “life” as community organisers, articulators, policy makers and engineers. We invite you to take a closer look at the realities of the women who are working for and with their communities through enabling, weaving, sustaining, installing, running and advocating for autonomous connectivity. Women who are creating safer spaces for each other through coming together to reclaim sidewalks, landscapes and technologies. We also witness the relations that are woven between women.
In this edition, we use a collage of expressive methods that come through as reflective pieces, photo essays, podcasts, illustrations and interviews and hope that this will help paint a nuanced image of the magnitude of the complexities of the women who are doing work with community networks. We dedicate this edition to system administrators, weavers, articulators and technologists – working for their agency, their families, their ancestral lands, to women who make sure everyone is cared for. To the women who wake up at 5 a.m. to cook for their families before heading to community councils. To those who install and maintain networks. To those whose languages are not supported on clouds, those whose mystical designs are woven on cloth as well as technology.
In this edition:
Women-circles that hold and ground community networks (editorial)
What is the potential overlap between the energies and drive towards building a feminist internet and the growth of community networks in different parts of the world where communities build their own infrastructure and connectivity? In this article, we explore the ways in which community networks question gender norms.
Community networks and feminist infrastructure: Reclaiming local knowledge and technologies beyond connectivity solutions
What is feminist infrastructure? Our lives are determined now by technology and especially data and surveillance. How can we undermine the existing technological hegemony and rebuild infrastructures that accommodate different realities and needs through community networks?
Weaving a community together – from grassroots to tech
A photo essay of a community network and the women working at the radio station and using the community network located just at the outskirts of Bangalore in India.
New age women: Women and their approach towards internet connectivity
Availability and affordability of the internet have a major impact on whether women are able to access and use the internet. In this article we explore what happens when community networks bring the internet closer to women and the small and big ways in which this changes their lives.
News about our community network: Portal sem Porteiras
In this layered podcast, the members of Portal sem Porteiras, Marcela and Luisa, explore their excitement over the possibilities of their community network and how they are re-finding meaning and solace in connections.
Community networks for raising awareness of women's rights: Interview with Chako Armant
In this interview with Chako Armant, who researches and works on a community network on the island of Idjwi in the DRC, she talks about running a community network while there is ongoing uncertainty and conflict, and how they are addressing norms around gender and technology.
Our routes: Women's node – an illustrated journey of women in community networks
In this beautifully etched illustration we follow the stories of various women who are working in community networks and their journeys with technology, autonomy and self-realisation.
Privileging the social over the technical in community networks: Interview with Sol Luca de Tena
Zenzeleni, which means "do it yourself" in isiXhosa, has become exemplary of the unique challenges and remarkable successes of a community network in the global South. In this interview, Sol Luca de Tena discusses how the cooperative business model for Zenzeleni has evolved to centre community needs and priorities.