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The history of all times, and of today especially, teaches that ... women will be forgotten if they forget to think about themselves.
Louise Otto
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Call for Writers: Women and ICTs
Christina Haralanova | 12 January 2007


At the forefront of feminist publishing in South Africa for 20 years, the Agenda journal raises debate around women’s rights and gender issues. The journal encourages critical thinking, debate and social activism and strengthens the capacity of women and men to challenge gender discrimination and injustices.


Agenda will publish a journal focussing on the topic of Women and ICTs in May 2007.

This Agenda journal will explore how women can take advantage of the ICT revolution and what women’s obstacles are to using ICTs.

Proposed contributions should cover one or more of the following key areas from a women’s rights or feminism perspective:

- What opportunities will ICTs offer women in achieving the Millennium Development Goals?
- What are the obstacles to using ICTs to economically empower women?
- How can ICTs empower women in the informal economy?
- How can ICT policies be engendered?
- What are the dangers of creating a digital divide, a disparity between those who make use of ICTs efficiently and effectively, and those who do not?
- Do women in Africa have the capacity and skills to make effective use of ICTs?
- The ICT revolution has only really impacted the major cities so far - how can we deploy a sustainable ICT infrastructure that empowers marginalised people living in rural areas, particularly women?

Contributions need to be written in English language and in a style accessible to a wide audience. Please submit abstracts to editor@agenda.org.za

All submissions must contain the following:

- Specify the specific key area you would like to write on
- Provide a 200-300 word overview/abstract
- Provide full contact details: your name, institution/organisation, telephone, email and the country in which you reside/country of origin

Deadline: Please submit no later than 28 January 2007.

Background

ICTs are key tools to transform the way women live, and the way development takes place. The use of ICTs enables more information to be found, retrieved and disseminated faster than ever before – it means we are moving to an information- and knowledge-based society. ICTs have many potential benefits for women, for example an increased ability to work from home, improved employment opportunities in the fast-growing IT sector, improved global market access through e-commerce and improved access of women, especially rural women, to distance learning and distance work programme.

Yet, ICT use remains difficult, if not impossible, for the majority of women worldwide. Women often find themselves at a disadvantage, whether through a perception that technology is a male domain or due to lack of skills, education, opportunity or access to finance. There is also a lack of gendered access to ICTs and ICT training - especially for rural women; a lack of awareness of women to the benefits of ICTs and language barriers to the use of ICTs for non-native speakers of English.

There are multiple challenges to ICTs becoming a positive force for women’s economic empowerment, including the large percentage of women in developing countries who work in the informal sector; the lack of support for women working in the formal sector and the lack of infrastructure in developing countries for conducting e-commerce. Engendering ICTs is not merely about greater use of ICTs by women. It is about transforming the ICT systems using a rights-based approach.





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