The issue of information and communication is central in feminist discourse and in everyday political practice of activists in the women’s movement.

It is central because it is about language and forms of expressions that not only reflect social realities and gender and power relations but also shape, define, and dictate what these gender and power relations should be. Information and communication tools and methodologies replicate the biases, contradictions, and prejudices of society. On the other hand, they can also be crucial in educating and mobilizing people to challenge social biases and prejudices detrimental to women. At the same time, they can also be instrumental in subverting patriarchal social institutions as well as in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Developing and Evolving a Feminist Agenda in the Information Society

The information and communication technologies (ICTs) have dramatically changed the ways women inform and communicate with each other and with their respective geo-political local, national, regional, and global communities. They have also been instrumental in dismantling the barriers to media entry thus allowing more women to produce and distribute media productions that accurately and adequately articulate their issues, concerns, and aspirations. They have enhanced the reach of established communication media such as community radio. In addition, the new methods of electronic networking have enabled women to acquire new skills. They have allowed them to identify new contacts and consolidate their networks. Evidently, the ICTs have and continue to be important tools in solidarity building and in facilitating the setting up of structures in support of people’s struggles for genuine peace and gender justice.

However, while the ICTs offer a wide range of opportunities, they also contribute in widening the gap between those who have access to resources and those who don’t. There is a widening gender divide within the digital divide. Across the world, women are confronted with economic, social, cultural, and political barriers that limit or prevent them from accessing and benefiting from the new information and communication technologies. It is therefore imperative for feminist activists to understand the technological as well as the socio-economic and political discourse in ICTs. It is essential for them to continuously examine the potentials and impacts of the ICTs in order to use these as effective tools in feminist organizing and in broader social activism.

The beginnings

The impact of the information and communication technologies on women first became evident during the preparatory processes surrounding the Fourth World Conference on Women that took place in Beijing, China in 1995. The information and dissemination work to encourage women across the world to participate was carried out by women’s organizations through e-mail that many of them were just learning to use at the time. When the China Organizing Committee suddenly announced in March 1995 that the NGO Forum on Women would be moved from its downtown Beijing site to a site 40 miles away in Huairou, the International Women’s Tribune Centre sent an urgent alert to WOMENET, a fax network of 28 women’s media networks around the world that was set up after a women’s media workshop in Barbados in 1991. Each women’s media network faxed the message out to its own network in each world region, and before long, tens of thousands of signatures were being sent in protest to the United Nations and the China Organizing Committee in Beijing. Unfortunately, it did not change the minds of the Chinese hosts, though it encouraged them to increase their efforts to provide better accommodations and facilities at Huairou. It did however illustrate how rapidly and efficiently women could reach out and support each other in a time of crisis, a very empowering moment for women worldwide [1].
In Latin America (which was more advanced than most of Asia-Pacific or Africa in e-mail connectivity at that time), a lot of women took advantage of the available online communication facilities in the lead up to the Beijing Conference. In other regions, women used a combination of the new ICTs with other communication means and facilities including telephone, fax, and face-to-face meetings.

During the actual conference in Beijing, the Association for Progressive Communications organized a 40-member all women team that provided full Internet services to all participants of the Beijing NGO Forum and the intergovernmental conference. Women and men around the world were able to access information coming directly from the NGO Forum and the conference via e-mail, electronic conferences and World Wide Web pages [2].

Women’s participation in the regional and global preparations for the Beijing meeting has clearly helped build a network of women concerned about gender and ICT issues and policies. However, despite the relatively popular usage of the technologies in the preparatory phase and the actual NGO Forum and Beijing Conference, the Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA), the major output document that came out of the conference, did not adequately address gender and ICT issues. Reflecting back now, it may only be said that both civil society and governments at the time did not anticipate the impact of the new ICTs on women. The stipulations in the Women and Media section (Section J) of the Beijing Platform with regard to ICTs was limited to enhancing women’s skills, knowledge, and access to information technology. Nevertheless, the Beijing Conference marked a turning point in women’s advocacy on communication and ICT issues. It broadened and deepened the discourse on women and communication that up to that point had focused almost exclusively on the negative and stereotypical images of women in the media. The Beijing Conference allowed for the introduction of the concept of women as key actors in the field of media and ICTs both at the level of technology and policy making. It also underscored the need to fund infrastructure requirements and experimental efforts [on] the use of the ICTs. In addition, it encouraged the use of the technologies, as a means of strengthening women’s participation in democratic processes. Some of the organizations that have influenced the media and ICT discussions in the Beijing Conference were Agencia Latinoamericana de Información, Association for Progressive Communications-Women’s Networking Support Programme, Isis International, International Women’s Tribune Centre, and the World Association for Christian Communication. These groups, along with other civil society actors continued to actively engage in gender, media, and ICT discussions spaces and in the process they have set precedents in terms of policy proposals around ICTs.

Meanwhile, as a contribution to the Beijing conference, the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development (UNCSTD) carried out a comprehensive set of studies on the relationships between gender, science and technology, and development. The reports from this study revealed that there were significant gender differences in levels of access to, control of, and benefits accruing from a wide range of technological developments. Specifically in relation to ICTs, the UNCSTD review concluded that the information revolution appeared to be bypassing women, that information society literature was silent on gender issues, and that neither research nor practical projects in the information technology field had addressed the particular circumstances of women [3].

Inclusion on the international agenda

Five years later, views on ICTs both from the perspectives of women and gender institutions and the women’s movement itself dramatically changed. In the 2000 review of the Beijing Platform, a significant amount of attention was devoted on ICTs and their impact on women. The 2000 review of the implementation of the BPFA acknowledged the increased opportunities afforded to women through the use of ICTs - in knowledge sharing, networking, and electronic commerce. However, it also noted that poverty, lack of access to telecommunications infrastructure, language barriers, computer non-literacy, and illiteracy hamper women’s use of ICTs, including the Internet.

In the years following the Beijing Conference, international awareness on gender and ICT issues has largely increased. Women have taken advantage of national, regional ,and international discussion spaces on ICTs. They have also lobbied national governments, intergovernmental gender policy-making bodies as well as telecommunication institutions. Recent international policy documents have recognized the gender implications of the new ICTs and identified the enhancement and development of women’s skills, knowledge and use of and access to information technology as major challenges for the Information Society.

Global Knowledge 97 (GK 97) was the first major international conference to explore the potential of information technologies and their possible impact on developing countries. An intense e-mail and institutional lobbying campaign, initiated by the Ad Hoc Committee for Women at GK97, resulted in substantial female participation and was an important step in putting women on the “knowledge for development” agenda. The Canon on Gender, Partnerships and ICT Development that came out of this meeting recognized “the importance of new ICTs as a medium for gathering and distributing our shared knowledge and heritage.” It states that all facets of engineering, design, development, and delivery of the new ICTs must embrace gender equity or risk becoming ineffective.

Among the priority actions it urged were [4]:

- incorporating gender analysis in all scientific and technological policy research;

- developing and funding evaluations of the impact of new ICTs on women’s communication needs;

- providing training, access and delivery systems, including versions developed for women.

For its part, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), acting on a resolution adopted at the 1998 World Telecommunications Development Conference in Valetta, Malta, established the Task Force on Gender Issues (TFGI) within its Telecommunications Development Sector. Its mandate was to work towards ensuring that the benefits of telecommunications and the emerging information society are made available to all women and men in developing countries on a fair and equitable basis. It also aimed at encouraging the recruitment, employment, training, and advancement of women throughout the telecommunication field [5]. In 2002, following the World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC) in Istanbul, Turkey, a new resolution was adopted converting the TFGI into a Working Group on Gender Issues with allocated resources that came from the government of Norway. The WTDC also urged the inclusion of a gender perspective in the themes and work of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).

Prior to the creation of the Working Group on Gender Issues, ITU, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on developing gender-responsive approaches to telecommunications and ICT policy development, in July 2000.

In November 2002, the UN Division for the Advancement of Women held an Expert Group Meeting on “Information and communication technologies and their impact on and use as an instrument for the advancement and empowerment of women,” in Seoul, Korea. Participants in the meeting presented a number of examples of how marginalized women are using ICTs for empowerment. However they also underscored that these examples are still few. One of the conclusions they made is that there is still a general lack of gender analysis in ICT policy formulation and program delivery. The results of the meeting served as inputs to the 2003 Commission on the Status of Women session as well as the first phase of the WSIS in Geneva in December 2003.

Gender and the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)

The WSIS is one of the major international events where feminist activists are least engaged. Scarcity of funds to attend the preparatory meetings could be one of the reasons. However, the more compelling reason is the lack of understanding of the process and appreciation of the relationship between the issues and the overall women’s struggle for gender equality. Nonetheless, there had been considerable success in terms of integration of gender issues in the official documents that came out of the Geneva phase of the Summit.

Two groups actively contributed to ensuring the gender perspectives in all discussions in the first phase of WSIS. These were the NGO Gender Strategies Working Group (GSWG) and the WSIS Gender Caucus (GC). The GSWG was formed at the first WSIS Preparatory Committee Meeting in Geneva in July 2002 as one of the sub-committees of the Civil Society Coordinating Group (CSCG). The groups involved in this effort were: the African Women’s Development and Communications Network (FEMNET), Agencia Latinoamericana de Informacion, Association for Progressive Communication-Women’s Networking Support Programme, International Women’s Tribune Centre, and Isis International-Manila. The NGO Gender Strategies Working Group hosted the discussion, an electronic mailing list aimed at strategizing and organizing women’s participation in the WSIS process. aimed to build on the initiatives on gender and ICTs and further enrich discussions for the benefit of all women.

On the other hand, the GC is a multi-stakeholder group of women and men from national governments, civil society and non-governmental organizations, the private sector and the UN system. The strategic objective of the WSIS-Gender Caucus is to ensure that gender equality and women’s rights are integrated into WSIS and its outcome processes. The WSIS Gender Caucus was formed during the African regional preparatory conference which took place in Bamako, Mali from 25-30th May 2002 [6]

These groups were instrumental in the inclusion of language in the WSIS Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action that reflect gender analysis and perspectives. Following are some of the recommended language that were adopted in the official WSIS documents [7] :

- Empowerment for full participation. Literacy and universal primary education are key factors for building a full inclusive information society, paying particular attention to the special needs of girls and women (Declaration of principles, Capacity building, paragraph 4).

- Work on removing the gender barriers to ICT education and training and promoting equal training opportunities in ICT-related fields for women and girls. Early intervention programmes in science and technology should target young girls with the aim of increasing the number of women in ICT careers. (Plan of Action, Capacity-Building, paragraph 11g)

- Governments, in collaboration with stakeholders, are encouraged to formulate conducive ICT policies that foster entrepreneurship, innovation and investment, and with particular reference to the promotion of participation by women (Plan of Action, Enabling Environment, paragraph 13l).

- Encourage the development of best practices for e-workers and e-employers built, at the national level, on principles of fairness and gender equality, respecting all relevant international norms (Plan of Action, E-employment, paragraph 19a).

- Promote early intervention programmes in science and technology that should target young girls to increase the number of women in ICT careers (Plan of Action, E-employment, paragraph 19d).

In the second phase of WSIS that will take place in Tunis in November 2005, women’s groups hope to be able to strengthen the gender principles articulated in the Summit Declaration of Principles.

Women activists feel that the gender principles included in the final document (viz., “We affirm that development of ICTs provides enormous opportunities for women, who should be an integral part of, and key actors, in the Information Society. We are committed to ensuring that the Information Society enables women’s empowerment and their full participation on the basis on equality in all spheres of society and in all decision-making processes. To this end, we should mainstream a gender equality perspective and use ICTs as a tool to that end.”) are much weaker than those of the text contained in earlier drafts of the declaration [8].
In addition, they also want to ensure that women’s issues and concerns are integrated in discussions on Internet governance and financing mechanisms, the two major themes being addressed in the Tunis phase of the Summit.

There are several issues that feminist activists contend with in gender and ICT policymaking and program implementation. Following are some of them.


The issue of access is fundamental in gender and ICT discourse. Access is inextricably linked to the availability of the necessary infrastructure and in almost all developing countries, communication infrastructures are less stable and less available in rural and poor urban areas, where the majority of women live. As UNIFEM and the UNU/TECH noted: “Women, with their special responsibilities for children and the elderly, find it less easy than men to migrate to towns and cities. The urban bias in connectivity thus deprives women, more than men, of the universal right to communicate” [9].

The issue of access is also regarded as the most concrete manifestation of the gender divide within the digital divide. This is illustrated in the lower number of women users of ICTs compared to men. For instance, the majority of the world’s women do not use the Internet and therefore are excluded from the World Wide Web. The digital divide within countries broadly reflects the gender divide. The trend for differentiation in use starts early, as seen in the United States where boys are five times more likely than girls to use home computers and parents spend twice as much on ICT products for their sons as they do for their daughters [10].

There are also socio-cultural barriers to overcome in relation to women’s access to ICTs. These include illiteracy, unfamiliarity with English and other dominant languages of the Internet, absence or lack of computer training, domestic responsibilities, and the fact that the information delivered by ICTs is not that valuable to them. In addition, women earn less than men and they have less disposable income to spend on communications than men. Furthermore, Internet cafes are located in places that women may not be comfortable frequenting or that are culturally inappropriate for them to visit. Frequently, communication facilities in developing countries are in offices or in public spaces that operate during office hours. Given the gender-based multiple roles and reproductive responsibilities assigned to them, women have little extra time and such public access centers may not be open when women are available to visit them. Some communication centers are open in the evening but either because of cultural limitations or lack of general safety to go out at night, women opt not to go to them. Obviously, some accommodations and other enabling conditions need to be created to ensure gender equity in access and use of ICTs for women.

Education, training, and capacity building

Across the world, women are culturally conditioned in such a way that discourages them from pursuing science and mathematics. Historically, science and technology are also regarded as masculine fields and if there was any role for women, it was where they became free labor on boring experiments that required great patience, reliability, and a capacity to undertake tedious tasks for long periods, where they exercised “feminine” qualities of perseverance and patience.

The fact that women and girls have less access to education is a major contributing factor that prevents them from equally benefiting from the opportunities that new ICTs offer. For example, of the 300 million children without access to education, two-thirds are girls. Similarly, women comprise two-thirds of the world’s 880 million illiterate adults [11].

Sophia Huyer, Executive Director of the Gender Advisory Board of the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development (UNSCD), describes the steady attrition of girls and women throughout the formal science and technology (S&T) system, from primary education to S&T decision making as the leaky pipeline [12].

Nancy Hafkin, Director of Knowledge Working Consulting Firm and former Chief, the Development Information Section, UNECA elaborates that the leaks are found at every stage of the process, resulting from a series of barriers to girls and women, and can be categorized in four categories:

- Cultural and attitudinal barriers, such as perceptions about the role and status of women, circumstances;

- Situational barriers that include lack of family commitment, lack of partner support and living in rural or isolated areas;

- Qualification barriers such as lack of formal math and sciences education or experience in computer programming skills is often perceived as a barrier, both by admissions departments and by the students and teachers;

- Institutional barriers that block women’s access to S&T education. These include the lack of female teachers and assumptions of male teachers about capabilities of women students; inflexible admissions, selection and entry requirements which do not take into account women’s varying educational backgrounds, approaches and abilities; and heavy attendance requirements for practical skills and laboratory work which are more difficult for women to meet in view of their family and domestic responsibilities [13].

Willie Pearson Jr., chairperson of the School of History, Technology & Society at Georgia Institute of Technology’s Ivan Allen College, validates Huyer’s and Hafkin’s observations: “It is obvious why women won’t come to our faculties. We expect them to work twice as hard as men, to serve on committees, to be nurturing, and a hundred other things while carrying out their research, mentoring graduate students, and having a personal life,” Pearson remarked during the American Chemical Society national meeting in Chicago in August, 2001.


The ICT industry employment landscape is male-dominated. In general, women work at lower levels and are relegated to data entry, word processing and transcription work. This is reflective of the ICT education and training patterns where young women tend to be the large majority of those enrolled in office application computer courses, but a small percentage of those studying programming or computer engineering.

Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), the service segment of ICT work, is currently the single largest technology-enabled employer of women. It refers to the outsourcing of business processes and functions in the areas of administration, finance, human resources, distribution logistics, manufacturing services, sales, marketing and customer care to locations that can provide these services at a lower cost through high-speed data communication links, which guarantee timely delivery of the data and services [14].

There are different types of work in BPOs including those of customer service call centers, e-mail help providers, medical transcribers, and insurance claim processors. Debates on the implications of employment in BPO firms - in particular its implications on women’s lives and work are increasing. The main question being raised is: Does BPO employment constitute gender-responsive participation of women in the information society? On one side, critics say that work in BPOs, particularly in call centers, focus on the self-denying cultural aspects, where the pressure is on acquiring an American or British accent, popular speech and culture as well as to adopt American or English first names. One cannot be Lakhsmi or Deepa and therefore has to adopt names such as Anne or Debbie.

Kalyani Menon-Sen of Jagori, a feminist women’s resource, communication and documentation centre in India refers to this employment trend as the “dumbing down of a generation” because” it is mind-numbing and de-skilling - the knowledge and skills acquired in school and college are inapplicable here. The work itself is boring and stressful, and girls are expected to retain their composure and patience even in the face of verbal assaults by irate customers”[15]. The main reason for setting up BPO firms in India, the Philippines and Brazil is to lower cost of multinational operations. Reports indicate that salaries that women receive in BPO firms in developing countries is up to 80 percent lower than in developed countries [15]. Indeed, a good incentive for multinational companies to maintain, if not increase their profit margins.

Another form of BPO is what is generally termed as home-based technology work. Women working in such areas are worse off than those working in call centers because they receive lower wages relative to those working in the organized sector and are under insecure employment contracts - if contracts exist at all. These women, referred to as virtual assistants, are found in substantial numbers - again in India and the Philippines because of the English language facility and relatively more advanced computer skills. They do medical and legal transcription and maintenance of daily accounts for small businesses located in Northern countries. While they seem to benefit from the flexibility of being able to work at home in a less time-bound schedule, the multiple burden on women becomes more defined as they perform their job in addition to all the standard domestic chores expected of them. Women working in this techno-based industry also have to make substantial investments to get employed. They purchase their own computers, pay for electricity and Internet connectivity.

Generally, women are still not in management and decision-making positions in the IT industry. Neither are most of them considered IT professionals since BPO employment is not professional information technology employment. Hardware and software development are the ones regarded as professional work and these areas are undoubtedly male-dominated. Unquestionably, work in BPO firms perpetuates the devaluation of women’s labor. Moreover, patterns of gender segregation are being reproduced where men hold the majority of high-skilled, high value-added jobs, whereas women are concentrated in the low-skilled, lower value-added jobs.
On the other hand, some gender and ICT scholars such as Swasti Mitter regard offshore outsourcing of information processing work as a major opportunity for the economic empowerment of women, pointing to “unprecedented benefits” offered to women working in these areas in India, Malaysia and the Philippines, with salaries generally running at the $5000/year level - a near fortune for women in poor countries where the per capita income is less than $500 per year.

According to Mitter, “this is one of the cases where it is possible to say with confidence that globalization has yielded gains for some developing countries and women in them” [17]. Aware of the burnout syndrome, where women quit from the stress, anxiety and mental fatigue of BPO work, Mitter maintains that the benefits to women in such employment are higher than the costs. She cites BPO as a positive dimension of globalization for which... national governments should create a policy environment to capture a greater share of the global market in information processing and ensure its sustainability and replicability.
It is important for women’s organizations to be aware of the downside of such employment and educate the labor sector and the public, in order to be able to demand better working conditions for women in the IT industry.


The field of designing and developing online and new media content is largely male and North dominated. This defines the quality of information that is available on the Internet and other digital-technology based media such as video games. It is no surprise then that the dominant women’s images on the Internet and new media productions are stereotypical, highly sexualized and often sexist and reflective of the popular culture and lifestyles of the content developers. Women’s voices that convey women’s experiences, knowledge, issues, and concerns are not sufficiently reflected. Moreover, majority of the world’s women do not speak the dominant languages of the Internet - i.e., English, French, German, Japanese, and Chinese. It must also be noted that it is not only online content that is produced in English - even programming language is largely based on English. The lack of proficiency is a major factor that limits the benefits that women are able to draw from using ICTs - if not totally excluding them.

Individual women producers and women’s organizations across the world have confronted this challenge with much creativity and resourcefulness. The Feminist International Radio Endeavor’s Internet radio bridges the gap between non-literate communication and the new ICTs. Broadcasting in Spanish, English, and occasionally in other languages such as Portuguese and French, it reaches wide audiences without the need for a fully equipped studio or even a license to use the airwaves. FIRE’s Internet station combines the Internet with other media to create an interactive space which aims to maximize the involvement of women listeners through letters, e-mail lists, re-broadcasting arrangements with community radio stations, and linked websites [18]. The International Women’s Tribune Centre produced an innovative and interactive CD-ROM or “computer book” for rural African women entrepreneurs who have access to a computer (through a telecenter) but no experience in using one. The CD gives advice on ways to improve yields from crops and livestock, how to market what is produced and helps the women think about new products they can make and sell. Dubbed in English and Luganda, the content of the CD-ROM is also available online for direct use, free of charge, by those who have access to an Internet connection. During international events such as the 10-year review of the Beijing Platform for Action in New York in March 2005, members of the Asia-Pacific Women’s Watch translate their onsite reports into Russian and Kyrgyz and distribute these to their networks. Despite limited resources, women activists continuously produce diverse and relevant content and find ways to make ICT usage effective and meaningful to women’s lives.

Sexual exploitation and harassment

One cannot speak about women and Internet and new media content without addressing the issues of pornography, e-mail harassment, “flaming” (online verbal abuse), and cyber-stalking. A number of cases have been reported where men use web sites to harass women and violate their privacy.
It is estimated that 10 percent of sales via the Internet are of a sexual nature, whether in the form of books, video-clips, photographs, online interviews, or other items. New technical innovations facilitate the sexual exploitation of women and children because they enable people to easily buy, sell and exchange millions of images and videos of sexual exploitation of women and children. These technologies enable sexual predators to harm or exploit women and children efficiently, and anonymously. As a result of the huge market on the web for pornography and the competition among sites, pornographic images have become rougher, more violent, and degrading [19]. Affordable access to global communications technologies allows users to carry out these activities in the privacy of their homes [20]. The Internet has also become an instrument in the prostitution and trafficking of women. In 1995 an estimated 1.8 million women and girls were victims of illegal trafficking, and the numbers are growing. It is used to advertise prostitution tours to men from industrialized countries. The men then travel to poorer countries to meet and buy girls and women in prostitution [21]. Sex traders and traffickers use online job announcements and dating service sites to post and find information on girls and women in prostitution across the world.

Women’s groups have articulated their demand for online safety and security in many instances. They have asked governments to take action but at the same time, they are wary about putting in place legislative measures because this might be used as a ground for state intervention and censorship over the ICTs.

Gender in ICT policy

Lobbying and advocacy around policy making on ICTs is one area where women’s information and communication groups are taking an active role. Women see this as imperative because if gender analysis and perspectives are not reflected at the policy level, they will not appear in program implementation either.

Currently, women have relatively little participation in and influence on the policy and decision-making processes around ICTs due to their under representation in the private sector, government and intergovernmental bodies that control this arena. A six-country research (Australia, Japan, India, Malaysia, Philippines, and the Republic of Korea) commissioned by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific in 2001 to map a regional ICT policy framework and legislation environment, demonstrated the lack of attention to gender equality goals and women’s advancement in national ICT development frameworks and strategies.

The key result areas that are common in the policy frameworks of the countries covered in the study were: provision of networking and telecommunications infrastructure, facilitating e-commerce and job opportunities, human resource development, and promoting good governance and citizens’ participation. For the most part, existing national IT policy frameworks and strategic plans are generally silent on gender or women-focused concerns. Gender is not an explicit theme in national IT plans [22]. There are a few positive developments that must be noted, however. The Republic of Korea has taken steps to integrate gender equality agenda into the national IT policy framework. In the area of policy planning and management, the Australian government implements gender-aware statistical and data gathering methods in relation to its IT and e-commerce policy.

Essentially, both ICT policy makers and gender advocates need to be aware of the importance of gender in ICT policy. Policy makers need to realize that policies will be more effective and responsive to the needs of their constituents if gender is fully integrated. On the other hand, gender advocates should learn not to disregard ICTs, particularly ICT policy, as a technical area that does not concern women, especially grassroots women. They need to continuously work to put on the agenda of ICT policy and strategies the issues that concern them.

It is necessary to continue to develop and evolve a feminist agenda in terms of communication, in the same way that we speak of a social agenda of communication on the basis of the right to communicate of women and men. This agenda should be anchored in the continuing struggle of the women’s movement and the broader social movements so that it accurately reflects the intersectionality of women’s diverse realities.


[1] Walker, A.S. Celebrating 25 Years of Networking. Women in Action, 2:1999. Isis International-Manila.

[2] Synaspe, 1995. Issue Number 34.

[3] UNCSTD-Gender Working Group 1995. Gender Equity in Science and Technology for Development. Ottawa/London: IDRC/Intermediate Technology. Cited in : Primo, N. 2003. Gender Issues in the Information Society. UNESCO.

[4] id 21 insights, Issue #25 1998. Courting the Web: What’s in it for women’s wants and wares?

[5] ITU Task Force on Gender Issues.

[6] WSIS Gender Caucus website.

[7] Hafkin, N. 2004. Moving Beijing Forward: Gaps and Challenges - Gender Responsive Information Society.

[8] id.

[9] UNIFEM and UNU/TECH, 2000 as cited in Hafkin, N., op. cit.

[10] UNDP 1999: 62, as cited in Gurumurthy, A. Gender and ICTs Overview Report. 2004. Bridge Development-Gender.

[11] UN Population Fund, “Lives Together, Worlds Apart,” The State of World Population 2000, New York, 2000.

[12] World Bank video. The Leaky Pipeline: Gender Barriers In Science, Engineering And Technology, 2002.

[13] Hafkin, N. 2004. op. cit.

[14] UNCTAD, 2002. E-Commerce and Development Report. Geneva.

[15] Gaerlan, K. IT in India: Social Revolution or Approaching Implosion? Women In Action, 1:2004. Isis International-Manila.

[16] UNCTAD, 2003. E-Commerce and Development Report. Geneva.
[17] Mitter, S. 2003. Part III: Globalisation and ICT: Employment Opportunities for Women. as cited in Hafkin, N. op.cit.

[18] Sever, C. and Suarez, M. 2004. From the local to the global and back again: Feminist International Radio Endeavor. Gender and Development in Brief. Issue 15.

[19] Rich, F. Naked Capitalists. N.Y. Times Magazine, May 20, 2001 as cited in Primo, N. 2003, op. cit.

[20] Hughes, D.M. 2002. The use of new communications and information technologies for sexual exploitation of women and children. Hastings Women’s Law Journal, Vol 13:1,

[21] Hughes, D.M. 2001. Globalization, Information Technology, and Sexual Exploitation of Women and Children, Rain and Thunder - A Radical Feminist Journal of Discussion and Activism, Issue #13, Winter 2001,

[22] Ramilo, C.G. 2002. National ICT policies and Gender Equality Regional Perspective: Asia. Expert Group Meeting . United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women. Asia%20-%20CG%20Ramilo.doc

22 May 2006

couverture du livre enjeux de mots This text is an extract from the book Word Matters: multicultural perspectives on information societies. This book, which has been coordinated by Alain Ambrosi, Valérie Peugeot and Daniel Pimienta was released on November 5, 2005 by C & F Éditions.

The text is under the Creative Commons licence, by, non commercial.

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