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AFRICAN WOMEN AND ICTs
Investigating Technology, Gender and Empowerment

Edited by Ineke Buskens and Anne Webb

Zed/IDRC/UNISA 2009
ISBN 978-1-84813-192-7
e-ISBN 978-1-55250-399-7
320 pp.

 

Book Endorsements

I commend the authors for this valuable initiative. Above all I salute every single African woman, young and old, who is boldly navigating these troubled waters.
— Graça Machel

By providing a deeply researched investigation of the role of African women in the society and in the specific sphere of information technologies, the authors of this study have substantially enriched our understanding of development problems in general and African development in particular. We have reason to be grateful.
— Amartya Sen

Those interested in women’s empowerment and its relationship to technology will find this book a highly innovative approach to the subject, combining a unique perspective with case studies from a wide variety of African countries and settings. 
— Nancy Hafkin

A detailed and absorbing account of how African women are using new technology to transform their lives.... This important book celebrates their remarkable achievements, and explores how technology both enriches and complicates African society.
— Margaret Walters

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Synopsis

The revolution in information and communication technologies (ICTs) has vast implications for the developing world, but what tangible benefits has it brought when issues of social inclusion and exclusion, particularly in the developing world, remain at large? In addition, the gender digital divide is growing in the developing world, particularly in Africa. So what do ICTs mean to African women?

African Women and ICTs explores the ways in which women in Africa utilize ICTs to facilitate their empowerment; whether through the mobile village phone business, through internet use, or through new career and ICT employment opportunities. Based on the outcome of an extensive research project, this timely book features chapters based on original primary field research undertaken by academics and activists who have investigated situations within their own communities and countries. The discussion includes such issues as the notion of ICTs for empowerment and as agents of change, ICTs in the fight against gender-based violence, and how ICTs could be used to reconceptualize public and private spaces.

Book Reviews

African Women and ICTs starts very unusually with a meditation – but then this is quite an unusual book, with its emphasis on introspection and self-analysis. If this seems strange for a book on technology, it is quite deliberate. ‘We had to start by centring ourselves’, say the editors. To understand the women they are researching, they have to understand themselves so that they are aware of the values and assumptions that they themselves bring to the research process. The researchers are exhorted to ‘listen to themselves’ so that they can listen between the lines to what the women are really trying to express and to speak to the respondents as active agents, not victims of their situations. ‘Listening to women, really listening to women, means listening to what is said and how it is said, but also listening to what is not said and what cannot be said.’ The idea of the research is to cause change. Read more...

Vol 12, #1, January/February 2011

There are three significant reasons to read this book: (a) to use it in conjunction with the GRACE website to teach feminist qualitative research methodology; (b) to inform ICTs policies that support women's empowerment, access, entrepreneurship, and advocacy; and (c) to develop awareness of ICT gender inequity with sensitivity to cultural, social, political, economic, and environmental contexts. Read more...

ITID Journal

Nowhere in the world do men and women enjoy perfectly equal access to, and benefit from, ICTs. While lauded for their transformative potential, ICTs intended for gender development represent one of the cruel ironies of our world: Women’s advancement is critical to community development; Their access to ICTs as information delivery mechanisms is an important component to this advancement; and the female gender experiences significant barriers to the access and use of ICT, thus never completing the promised circle or axiom. While the impediments to women’s uptake of technology have been well-chronicled in Hafkin and Huyer’s Cinderella or Cyberella? (Hafkin & Huyer, 2006), the UN/INSTRAW Virtual Seminar Series on Gender and ICTs (moderated by Huyer in 2002), BRIDGE’s Cutting Edge series (BRIDGE, n.d.), and others, these barriers are often listed as a litany of inequities that the ICT researcher thinks is too big to solve alone. These barriers—cost, low literacy, access, lack of perceived relevance, and workload, among others—are real, and as general descriptions, are useful for conceptualizing difference. In African Women and ICTs, these lists are given the opportunity to mature. Read more...

Written by a group of experts across Africa and punctuated by testimonies of the African woman, the book suggests ways in which women in Africa can utilise ICTs to empower themselves, whether through the village mobile phone business, internet or new career opportunities.

Based on extensive field research by academics and activists in their own communities and countries across Africa, this book covers such issues as the notion of ICTs as agents of change, ICTs in the fight against gender-based violence and how ICTs could be used to reconceptualise public and private spaces. Read more...

This timely book features chapters based on original primary field research undertaken by academics and activists who have investigated situations within their own communities and countries. The discussion includes such issues as the notion of ICTs for empowerment and as agents of change, ICTs in the fight against gender-based violence, and how ICTs could be used to reconceptualize public and private spaces However, according to co-editors of the book (IDRC), ICTs alone cannot bring about lasting change. Read more...

For a list of citations of African Women and ICTs, please click here...

Launches

Book launches were held in Tanzania, South Africa, Uganda, Mozambique, Canada and Cameroon.

 

ICTs Are Not a Magic Bullet for Women’s Empowerment 2009-06
Information and communication technologies alone do not drastically empower African women, say editors of IDRC book.

 

Book launch report by GRACE in Uganda

 

GRACE Researcher Gisele Yitamben launched the GRACE book, African Women and ICTs in Douala Cameroon. The launch took place at the Faculty of Science of the University of Douala during its 'Week of Science, Enterprises and Development' event which took place from 7th to 12 December 2009. GRACE Cameroon also participated as a partner in the event. Watch Video of Book Launch here.

 

 

 

Grace is an initiative envisioned and funded by
the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), developed by Research For the Future (RFF) and managed by The GRACE Project Voluntary Association
.
Grace est une initiative initiée et financée parle Centre de recherches pour le développement international (CRDI), développée par Research For the Future,
et gérée par l'Association Volontaire Projet de GRACE .