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Gender IS Bulletin, November 2009

Gender and Information Society Nov. 2009 - Quarterly Bulletin
GREETINGS!
Check out our main activities from August to October 2009.

IN THIS ISSUE:
New Publications: Girls' Economic Rights and Empowerment and Violence against Women via Cyberspace
Reports: Courts of Women Roundtable Session Report and ITfC Annual Report
Workshop: “The Internet and Citizenship: Applying a Gender Lens” at IGF 2009 Meeting
Advocacy Update: Input and coordination of the Asia Pacific NGO Forum on Beijing + 15
Media Coverage: Mahiti Manthana in the Kannada Newspaper 'Prajavani'
Vacancies: Research Associate and Research Assistant
MORE ITfC NEWS ON:
Previous Gender and Information Society Quarterly Bulletin
ITfC Quarterly Bulletin
FLOSS Quarterly Bulletin (coming soon)

VACANCIES:
Research Associate: Governance, Social Policy and ICTs;
Research Assistant: Governance, Social Policy and ICTs;
Research Associate: Gender;
Research Assistant: Gender;
Project Coordinator for ICTS for open  government and deepening democracy project.
NEW PUBLICATIONS

Girls' Economic Rights and Empowerment - This paper is a special feature on girls and IT from a Southern perspective, that was written for Plan International's publication entitled 'Because I am a Girl'. For girls and young women, especially in the global south, ICT access and its effective use provide new avenues in their journeys towards economic empowerment. Getting girls to become active participants in the information society and enabling them to continue shaping and gaining from new ICTs is an important development goal. But the empowerment of girls in the emerging information society context also relates to complex interactions between the local and the global and is shaped in relation to gendered socio-political processes. This paper unpacks some typical myths about ICTs, gender and empowerment in order to explore these complexities, and strongly argues for a citizenship and rights-based approach to ICTs to promote individual and collective empowerment of girls in the information society context. To read this chapter in the PLAN report, please click here.

Violence Against Women via Cyberspace - This article titled 'Violence against Women via Cyberspace' is a commentary on the Sakhi-Jagori Consultation, 'New Technologies and New Forms of Violence against Women and Girls', which took place in Trivandrum, Kerala, on 27th and 28th March 2009. Building on the issues raised at the consultation and with a view to broaden the parameters defining the gender and ICTs debate, the note provides an overview of the emerging information society context and its redefinition of the public sphere; the policy context that has emerged in relation to the social-structural nature of ICTs; and considerations that are important for a feminist response to the policy context. Click here to read the complete article.

ADVOCACY UPDATE
With the theme “Weaving Wisdom, Confronting Crises, Forging the Future,” the Asia Pacific NGO Forum on Beijing+15 organised a global NGO Forum that took place prior to the 54th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in 2010. This UN CSW session sought to review implementation of the BPFA as well as the outcome of the 23rd Special Session of the General Assembly. The Asia Pacific NGO Forum also highlighted women NGO's innovative and successful initiatives on the critical areas of concern of the BPFA as well as on CEDAW and other human rights instruments. Although Anita Gurumurthy was unable to attend the Forum, she was one of the key players in setting the theme and tone of the Forum that looked to brainstorming ways for inter-country and regional cooperation among civil society organizations so that they could enrich the vision of the historic Beijing meeting as well as CEDAW. The final declaration of the conference reflects these aims. For the complete program, please click here. For the plenary speeches made during the conference, please refer to: APWW website.
WORKSHOP
“The Internet and Citizenship: Applying a Gender Lens” - IT for Change, APC Women's program and Sulá Batsú  co-hosted this workshop at the IGF 2009 Meeting in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt to analyse the interface between citizenship and the Internet through a gender perspective. The theme brought together inquiries in three dimensions: 1. within the Internet itself, considering the impact of the present paradigm and emerging trends on inclusion of women; 2. at a global citizenship scenario, understanding the trans-local nature of the Internet; and 3. within national contexts, examining how the Internet re-situates the citizen and redefines citizenship vis-a-vis the state and the market. Anita Gurumurthy from IT for Change moderated this discussion. Heike Jensen (from Humboldt University in Berlin/OpenNet Initiative Asia), Margarita Salas (from Sulá Batsú Cooperative in Costa Rica), and Olga Cavalli (from the Government of Argentina) were the panelists. The participants spoke on women's citizenship based on a more broadly defined notion of 'censorship', the ways in which the feminist movement strategically used digital technologies to resist from the Free Trade Agreement with Central America and Dominican Republic (CAFTA), and also the existing barriers that impede women from using technology and developing a career related to it.

MEDIA COVERAGE
On the 20th of June, 2009, representatives of Prajavani and Deccan Herald, local newspapers in the state of Karnataka, India visited the tele centre of Attiguppe village where IT for Change has set up a field project. Dalit women's collectives from here and nearby villages run information centres, a radio program called Kelu Sakhi and engage in community video initiatives. The visit featured the health related programs publicised by the group as well as discussion with the women about their participation in public forums, local institutions and governance structures. The newspaper article written after the visit by the journalists paid a tribute to women's efforts “...our information, our language, and along with it, the technology are at our doorstep. Apart from creating awareness, this programme is a bridge between banks, government departments, and other organisations on one hand and the rural women on the other. The concept of the tele-center in the programme is a powerful tool for women's empowerment. The achievement of this programme is that women are aware of the empowerment which 'ownership' brings about".
REPORTS
The Courts of Women Roundtable Session Report - The Daughters of Fire, the India Court of Women on Dowry and Related Forms of Violence was held from July 26 -29, 2009 at Christ University, Bangalore. Organised by Vimochana and AWHRC India in partnership with forty women and human rights groups from different parts of the country and in collaboration with several local organisations and institutions, the Court sought to open up new political spaces in civil society that would help us to bring the phenomena of dowry violence that has been made invisible, normal and routine back to the centre of public consciousness and conscience. It sought also to revision a mass movement that through multi layered collective interventions would be able to take deeper root in people’s collective consciousness and public polity. IT for Change along with the Centre for Advocacy and Research, New Delhi coordinated a Roundtable that brought to the fore the media's construction of violence, identity, representation and autonomy. The full report can be found here, and the presentation by IT for Change titled "Reflections about Media, Violence, Identity and Representation through an 'Information Society' Lens can be found here.

ITfC Annual Report - The year 2008-09 took forward ITfC’s journey of seeking conceptual anchors of equity and social justice in the emerging social paradigm underpinned by the new information and communication technologies (ICTs). We created some new pathways and furthered some old ones towards our mission to define the ICT and development (ICTD) arena through the lens of the marginalised. Especially in our area of work, which is a meta-space connecting to almost all domains – governance, community development, education, health, gender – working through networks is very vital. While we have managed to walk this path and experienced the rewards of this method of making change, especially in the trust that organisations and social movements repose in us, network leadership and management has also been challenging and require the corresponding organisational skills and resource intensity. We take this period as formative for the  institution that IT for Change set out to be. For the list of activities, research publications, and advocacy measures that we have undertaken, please refer to our annual report for the year 2008-2009.
IT for Change - www.itforchange.net              
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