In this issue
In March 2012, IT for Change initiated 'Women-gov', a two-year action-research project that aims at exploring the potential of digital technologies for enhancing women's active citizenship, across three sites in India (IT for Change), Brazil (Instituto Nupef) and South Africa (University of the Western Cape). The 'Women-gov' project aims at developing contextually appropriate models that harness the potential of ICTs, for gendering local governance structures and bringing gender politics into local public spheres.
IT for Change has entered into an agreement with Zubaan, a leading feminist publishing house in India, to bring out a book – 'Feminist Visions of the Network Society' – that consolidates key insights from the various research efforts undertaken as part of its 'Gender and Citizenship in the information society' (CITIGEN-Asia) programme. The book is planned as an edited volume of 14 essays which will specifically explore how modes of agency and active citizenship are re-cast in the network society context, in which the increasing fluidity of the boundaries between the 'online' and the 'off-line' leads to the emergence of new spaces for political action.
Anita Gurumurthy, Binitha Thampi, Kate Lappin and Margarita Salas from the CITIGEN network organised a session on 'Understanding 'network society' - Political economy conversations with the CITIGEN research community' at the AWID Forum 2012. The session, which was structured as a World Caf\E9, examined the following questions:What do we know about economic and social power in the emerging network society? How do we imagine our techno-social reality where gender justice matters? As part of the session, a short film showcasing key highlights from the CITIGEN research projects, was screened.
In December 2012, IT for Change submitted a position paper to the UN Working Group on Discrimination Against Women as an input to the Working Group's report on the issue of discrimination against women in law, and in public and political life. The submission highlighted the need to recognise the changing nature of public spaces in the network society context, and the importance of evolving global normative frameworks to guard against market excesses, and open up empowering possibilities, in the new, hybrid spaces of the Internet.
IT for Change participated at the International Working Forum on Women, ICTs and Development in January 2013. The Forum was organised by UN Women and the U.S. Secretary of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues, in Washington D.C. The Forum primarily aimed at 'convening a broad based coalition in order to take stock of current ICTD and gender approaches, challenges, opportunities and to chart a course forward'. Read more about IT for Change's participation in the Forum.
At the World Summit on Information Society + 10 Review, Anita Gurumurthy, Executive Director, IT for Change delivered a speech as a civil society representative, at the closing ceremony. This speech highlights the need to galvanise the moment of ambiguity into an opportunity that gathers progressive energies towards a more radical civil society voice in the WSIS 2015 review. The speech was also translated into Spanish and be accessed here.
Anita Gurumurthy, Executive Director, IT for Change presented a paper at the Asia Pacific Regional Consultation on Women’s Public and Political Life in Asia Pacific’ organised by the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD). Her presentation titled 'Public participation in the network age – A critical feminist perspective' highlighted the need for a renewed public-political engagement to ensure that governance mechanisms in the digital space correspond to new forms of community and citizenship in the network age.
This think piece builds on the insights from the work of the CITIGEN-Asia programme of IT for Change. It builds on key insights from conversations among members of the network constituted under the programme, to posit some key points of departure for feminist analysis, that could be a first step towards building a theory of change in the network society context.
This paper recommends that in the post-2015 agenda, the question of gender and ICTs must be addressed in the post-2015 global development agenda, in the following manner: 1. There should be a specific goal related to the meaningful and effective use of ICTs and the Internet, that is measured through gender sensitive targets and indicators. 2. There should be a specific goal related to gender equality and women's and girls' empowerment that takes into account, access to and effective use of ICTs and the Internet as a target (with appropriate indicators) within the goal. The paper also highlights the areas that global and national policy and programmatic frameworks need to address, in order to promote the gender equality agenda in the information society context: (a) Promotion of access and effective use of the Internet and ICTs (b) Creation of opportunity structures for women and (c) Building equitable techno-architectures.
IT for Change, Kutch Mahila Vikas Sangathan (KMVS), and Area Networking and Development Initiatives (ANANDI) are partnering in the 'Making Women's Voices and Votes Count', a two-year field project supported by UN Women. Under this project, which commenced in January 2013, the three organisations aim at using ICTs to catalyse a critical mass of women in local governance, construct a horizontal platform for peer-based support, and develop a discourse of governance and politics that is informed by women's rights perspectives. Specifically, the three organisations seek to harness the propensities of ICTs in their local organising efforts with Elected Women's Representatives and marginalised women's collectives. IT for Change will be working in Karnataka and the other two organisations will be working in Gujarat.