Rethinking Empowerment: Gender and Development in a Global/Local World

By Jane L. Parpart; Shirin M. Rai et al. | Go to book overview

5
Feminizing cyberspace
Rethinking technoagency
Gillian Youngs

Introduction

The Internet (Net) is the new space of empowerment and it is adding to, and transforming, the diverse contexts for economic, political, cultural and social transactions. In many ways it is the first truly potential global space because access to it is absolutely possible for all, although only a concrete reality for the few right now. Those few are concentrated in the North where the communications infrastructure and technological hardware and software are widely available and accessible. With 19 per cent of the world's population, the rich Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries had 91 per cent of Internet users as we moved into the new millennium (UNDP 1999). However, the Internet is reaching and being reached by an increasing number of people across the world every day, including those in the South, and the networking and activist work undertaken through it is forging new communities and collective strategies (Escobar 1999). These developments increasingly cross North/South boundaries. The Internet is facilitating an international grassroots communications revolution where more and more individuals and groups, including women and women's groups, are communicating, campaigning and community building through websites, e-mail networks and discussion groups.

One does not have to be a cyberfanatic or a naïve futurist to recognize that, while such activities do not automatically and immediately overturn the state-and corporate-based power that holds sway at the global level, they are contributing to changes in its operation. We should therefore consider the Internet as a potential means for democratization of the international arena through its facilitation of a growing number of voices and collective strategies. The possibilities for long-term change are well worth recognizing. The impact of cyberactivism and its part in mobilizing real-time protests, and the derailing of the WTO meeting in Seattle toward the end of 1999, was one of the first high-profile events demonstrating the concrete effects of international virtual political activity (see Protest.Net, http://www.protest.net, and ZNet, http://www.lbbs.org/Activism/actst.htm).

This event signalled the degree to which the Net is aiding 'active' participation in international processes by a growing number of individuals and groups.

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Rethinking Empowerment: Gender and Development in a Global/Local World
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Routledge/Warwick Studies in Globalisation ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Contributors xi
  • Acknowledgements xv
  • Abbreviations xvii
  • Part I - Theory and Praxis 1
  • 1 - An Introduction 3
  • References 18
  • 2 - Education as a Means for Empowering Women 22
  • References 36
  • Part II - Women's Empowerment in a Global World 39
  • 3 - The Janus Effect 41
  • Notes 57
  • References 58
  • 4 - Toward Empowerment 61
  • Notes 75
  • References 76
  • 5 - Rethinking Technoagency 79
  • References 92
  • Part III - The Nation State, Politics and Women's Empowerment 95
  • 6 - Beyond Official Empowerment Discourse 97
  • References 110
  • 7 - Women's Mobilization in Chile and Turkey 112
  • Notes 127
  • References 129
  • 8 - The Quota Debate in India 133
  • References 145
  • 9 - The Case for Female Peasants in India 147
  • Notes 158
  • References 159
  • Part IV - The Local/Global, Development and Women's Empowerment 163
  • 10 - The Pra Approach 165
  • References 178
  • 11 - Examples from Kenya and Cameroon 182
  • References 197
  • 12 - Depoliticizing Empowerment in a Tanzanian Family Planning Project 199
  • Notes 213
  • References 215
  • 13 - Informal Politics, Grassroots Ngos and Women's Empowerment in the Slums of Bombay 218
  • Notes 232
  • References 234
  • Part V - Conclusion 237
  • 14 - Concluding Thoughts on (em)powerment, Gender and Development 239
  • Index 245
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