Have new technologies enabled women to organise and express their voice? Do women have better information to make decisions as a result? Is their knowledge included and valued at local, regional and global levels?
Reflecting on examples from Africa, Asia and Latin-America and participants’ ‘knowledge stories’, the session aims to reclaim the concept of knowledge as power and explore how women could use this power through new technologies and trends, like Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and Open Knowledge.
We will primarily explore whether access to new technologies and the advent of the Open Knowledge movement have enabled women to access better and more diverse knowledge which can inform their actions as citizens, economically, socially, culturally and as gender equality activists. ‘Open Knowledge’ is related to the vision of a global ‘knowledge commons’, using new technologies to encourage cultures of collaborative enquiry. The internet held the promise for this to happen and at first glance it fits the feminist paradigm effortlessly, but does it? Does Open Knowledge question or reproduce traditional inequalities in the creation and dissemination of knowledge? Are knowledges from the Global North and Global South equally represented and valued? Or, as some feminist researchers highlighted, have mainstream ‘Knowledge for development’ initiatives tended to focus on the “physical, technical and infrastructural, (rather than) discursive or normative barriers to knowledge production, dissemination and accumulation”?
In our session we will exchange experience and knowledge to explore these larger questions, and reflect on the relationship between gender, technology, information and knowledge in an interconnected global context. Participants can bring their ‘story of knowledge’ – good or bad – to show learning about ICTs and the ‘commons’.
During the session we aim to:
- address on the one hand the ability of women to access relevant information and on the other the need to position the information produced by women in the best channels.
- reflect from our experience of working at the intersection of feminist knowledge and feminist practice of technology
- present examples from Asia, Latin America and Africa covering topics such as development platforms, generating information and knowledge processes and how to give visibility to local women’s production of information and knowledge.
- co-create with participants concrete proposals towards a collective feminist vision of Open Knowledge, taking into account power structures and non-academic knowledge.
This process will enable participants to get even closer to the challenges associated with information processes, power structures associated with knowledge, as well as the need to integrate a gender perspective into the Open Knowledge movement.
Kemly Camacho, Sulá Batsú (Costa Rica) Kemly is the director of Cooperativa Sulá Batsú. In the last 20 years, she has focused on the topic of technologies for development. One of her main areas of work is gender equality and technology where she explores women’s processes of communication, information and knowledge creation and dissemination.
Anita Gurumurthy, IT for Change (India). Executive director of IT for Change, an India-based NGO, Anita draws upon Southern feminist critiques of mainstream development and visions of transformative change to inform her work in information society. She bridges theory and practice in contemporary feminism, especially from the standpoint of marginalised women’s citizenship in the network society.
Paola Brambilla, gender consultant. Paola has worked in CSOs, INGOs and research institutions since 1994. She holds a Gender and Development MA from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), where she worked as a BRIDGE team member up until recently. Paola has experience of research, knowledge management, partnership building, communications and evaluation, always with a gender focus. She has developed Open Knowledge projects with partners particularly in Latin America and Francophone Africa.