Women's Networking Support Programme - Africa Region
are an African women's network of individual women and women's organisations
focussing on African women's empowerment by developing and disseminating
information, providing regional support, lobbying and advocating
around gender and ICT policy; delivering ICT training and conducting
research in the area of gender and ICTs We believe that it is essential
to engage more women in accessing and using Information and Communication
Technologies (ICTs) for equality and development in Africa.
believe that women should be able to use ICTs strategically in support
of women's empowerment and agendas in order to: · Facilitate networking
and information exchange · Support solidarity campaigns and collaborative
actions · Mainstream issues of concern to women · Ensure that women
are able to participate equally in civil and public life
social, political, formal and informal networks have existed for
centuries - to teach, to support, to produce and to create. Women
have realised that the increasingly globalized world and the pace
of information production and dissemination means that understanding
and taking control of the Internet can enhance and expand networks.
These new technologies are being adapted and employed to augment
already vibrant networks.
potential for greater inclusion, global relationships and sharing
is immense. There is however a great danger of exclusion, domination
and re-enacting age old differences through the insensitive and
un-coordinated application of new technologies for internetworking
amongst women in Africa. Networks do not operate in isolation and
are directly influenced by social reality. Women's networks are
aware of the dangers of exclusion are as great as the possibilities
bring profound changes to our communities. They influence how we
know and understand the world. They change work methods and the
ways in which we communicate. They affect how we access and share
information. They are also an important source of power. By acquiring
the equipment and skills to use them, we gain access to that power."
development of ICTs is taking place in a global context of gender
inequalities. In Africa disparities exist amongst women in terms
of access to education, land, credit, literacy etc. Gender intersects
with many other differences and disparities which also shape women's
ICT needs and experiences such as: race, ethnicity, class, culture,
age, history, sexual orientation, geographic location, disability.
Poverty, war and endemic violence against women are ever-present
realities in the lives of many women living in Africa.
is a major development issue. If African women are not actively
present at all levels, we will see new forms of marginalization
that could undermine other advances made by women in the 20th century.
This implies a crucial challenge to women to take on these issues
women already network and organise actions themselves. Appropriate
application of ICTs can enable women to access information and knowledge
which can assist in overcoming the realities of poverty and exclusion.
We are convinced that if women appropriate and use ICTs as tools
for collaborative actions, accessing information, and sharing knowledge,
ICTs can assist in challenging and changing the devastation of poverty,
marginalisation and inequality.
more information on African women's networking you can link to:
and FEMNET, June 2000. NET
GAINS: African Women Take Stock of Information and Communication
Prize Winner, 2001: http://www.apc.org/english/betinho/2001/bet_winner.htm