communications sphere. The discussion in this chapter has illustrated different ways in which women's movements have launched diverse strategies to tackle this problem, however overwhelming it might seem.
Globally, women's organizations and campaigns have been actively addressing the challenges of getting online, embracing the empowerment opportunities of the Internet revolution. My arguments have stressed that these opportunities are far from restricted to issues of technology. They incorporate new possibilities for building global networks of, and strategies for, women. Their collective modes, in bringing growing numbers of women together across national boundaries to exchange views and work for shared ends, represent the quiet dawning of what might be considered a new era in international politics. While these developments do not sweep away the historical weight of male dominance in the international sphere, they do potentially disrupt some of its seamless qualities.
Therein lie some of the central messages of the achievements on the Internet by women to date and the orientations of projects like WoN. A starting point is the recognition of the Internet as a tool to be used. Thus, a priority must be gaining access to that tool and to working to overcome historically entrenched gendered technological barriers. Equally important is the creative work to establish precisely what role the Internet can play in building new transnational communities that incorporate 'place-based knowledge and action' (Arizpe 1999: xvi). These can only be processes of empowerment because they take time and collective effort. They include the ongoing building and strengthening of horizontal links – some based on established networks and others generating entirely new ones. From these can come strategies to continue both engaging critically with the vertical structures of political and economic power, and pressing for policies and conditions that will expand ICT access and counter the trends toward a global society divided along the lines of the information rich and poor.
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