Gender and the Digital Economy: Perspectives from the Developing World


Edited by: Cecilia NG & Swasti Mitter

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    This volume comprises selected articles from various issues (Volume 6, No. 3; Volume 8, No. 1; and Volume 9, No. 2) of the journal Gender, Technology and Development (GTD), an international refereed journal based at the Gender and Development Field of Study, the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Thailand and published by Sage Publications, India. We would like to thank the former President, Jean-Louis Armand, Provost Mario Tabucanon, and Dean Chongrak Polprasert of the Asian Institute of Technology, and Sage Publications for allowing us to reproduce these articles, all of which have been revised and updated by the respective authors. For this, we appreciate the efforts of the authors in reworking their essays based on the comments of the reviewers whom we thank as well.

    Our foremost thanks must go to Veena N. and Emilyn Madayag who provided the impetus to begin and end this project. Without their commitment, editorial skills, and organizational ability to bring the different talents together, this book would not have gone off the ground. To Jonathan Shaw, Mari Osawa, and Bernadette Resurreccion, whom we harassed at different phases of this long process, we owe our deepest gratitude. We thank Kyoko Kusakabe and Thanh-Dam Truong for their support and encouragement. We also thank Govind Kelkar and Pierre Walter for editing the articles published in the special issue on ‘Women and Digital Divide’ (6: 1). Ritu Vajpeyi-Mohan and Tejeshwar Singh of Sage Publications have been most kind in accommodating our innumerable foreseen and unforeseen delays in this project. We also thank Ridhima Mehra at Sage who edited our book for final publication. We enjoyed working with all of you. We are indebted to Elsa Ramos and Siham Friso of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, Brussels, for locating the origin of the photograph in Swasti Mitter's paper.

    But most importantly, we thank the women and men who made this book possible by interacting and sharing with us, and the authors. The thoughts, feelings, and experiences which they shared so generously have enriched our work and our lives. We hope we have done you justice in bringing forth your voices in this Information Age.

  • About the Editors and Contributors


    Cecilia Ng is Visiting Associate Professor at the Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok (Thailand). Earlier, she was Associate Professor at Universiti Putra, Selangor (Malaysia) and Research Fellow at the United Nations University Institute for New Technologies, Maastricht (The Netherlands). Cecilia has conducted research and published widely on gender, development and work, with a focus on globalization, technological change and women's employment. She is an editor of the journal Gender, Technology and Development.

    Swasti Mitter is an international consultant on information and communication technologies (ICT) and gender. She was Chair of Gender and Technology at the University of Brighton, Brighton (UK) and Deputy Director of the United Nations University Institute for New Technologies, Maastricht (The Netherlands). She has been a Visiting Fellow at the Science Policy Research Institute of the University of Sussex, Brighton (UK), and at the Center for Women's Studies at University of California, Los Angeles (USA). She has published widely on women and technology, and has advised major UN agencies and the World Bank.


    Juan Aburto Arrieta, a systems engineer, was working as an informatics journalist in Managua, Nicaragua. He passed away three years ago.

    Susan Schaefer Davis is an independent scholar and consultant with a focus on gender in North Africa (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt) and Palestine. She has worked with the World Bank, FAO, USAID and the Peace Corps, and has served as Clerk of the Middle East Panel for the American Friends Service Committee. She has held teaching or research positions in the US (Haverford College, the University of Pennsylvania, Trenton State College, and Rutgers University) and Morocco (Al Akhawayn University), with work focusing on Moroccan women and adolescence. Her recent publications include Patience and Power: Women's Lives in a Moroccan Village, and Adolescence in a Moroccan Town. Marrakesh Express ( shares her knowledge of Moroccan textiles, and supports women weavers in Morocco.

    Govind Kelkar is Asia Programme Coordinator, IFAD-UNIFEM Gender Mainstreaming Programme in Asia, New Delhi, and the founding editor of the journal Gender, Technology and Development. She has taught at the University of Delhi (New Delhi), the Indian Institute of Technology (Mumbai), and the Asian Institute of Technology (Bangkok), where she founded the graduate program in Gender and Development Studies. In addition to co-authoring Gender and Tribe (1991), she has co-edited Feminist Challenges in the Information Age (2002) and Gender Relations in Forest Societies in Asia: Patriarchy at Odds (2003). With a focus on gender relations in Asia, she has contributed numerous articles to scholarly journals.

    Gillian M. Marcelle, an ICT policy specialist based in South Africa, runs Technology for Development (TfDev), a strategic consulting practice. She holds a Visiting Fellowship at the Science Policy Research Institute of the University of Sussex, Brighton (UK). Earlier, she held a variety of positions, including with BT, Oftel, Analysys, and JP Morgan Chase. Her most recent book is Technological Learning: A Strategic Imperative for Firms in Developing Countries (Edward Elgar, 2004). Gillian serves on the Board of the UN ICT Task Force, and has been active in gender equality issues on a number of civil society bodies including the WSIS Gender Caucus and the ITU Working Group on Gender Issues. She is a member of the editorial board of the Southern African Journal of Information and Communication.

    Dora Inés Munévar M. is lecturer in Social Theory and Gender Studies at the Department of Human Communication, National University of Colombia, Bogota. She holds degrees in Speech Therapy, Law, Criminal Law and Sociology of Education. Based on these fields, she combines an interdisciplinary approach to her research, teaching, and consultancy on educational law, and gender issues. Her recent contributions are “Power, gender and academic work” (Poder y género en el trabajo académico) and “Academic productivity at National University” (Productividad académica en la Universidad Nacional). She conducts research into human communication and cultural processes; relations between power, gender and knowledge in relation to academic work and productivity; and science, technology and medicine.

    Veena N. is at present living in the jungles of southern India, where she is documenting the culture, knowledge, and traditions of the Soliga adivasis. She works with the Vivekananda Girijana Kalyana Kendra in B.R. Hills. She has been the Assistant/Managing Editor of the refereed journal Gender, Technology and Development published from the Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok (Thailand). She has also worked as a sub-editor/journalist with leading newspapers in India and Thailand. She has conducted research on gender and ICTs in India and Southeast Asia.

    Martha Roldán is Senior Researcher in the Sociology of Work, Development and Gender of Conicet (National Council of Scientific and Technical Research of Argentina). She is also Professor at FLACSO (Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she directs a project on informational-communicational development and the engendered construction of a NIIDL (New International-Informational Division of Labor). She co-authored (with Lourdes Benería) The Crossroads of Class and Gender (1987). Her latest book is Globalization or Mondialisation? Theory and Practice of Productive Processes and Gender Asymmetries (¿Globalization o Mundiali-zación? Teoría y Práctica de procesos productivos y asimetrías de género) (2000). She has published widely in Spanish on issues relating to the New International Division of Labor.

    Czarina Saloma-Akpedonu is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the Ateneo de Manila University (Philippines). She is Board Member of the International Sociological Association Research Committee on the Sociology of Science and Technology. She has recently completed a study of the technological elite in the Malaysian automotive and information technology industries. Her book Doing IT in the Philippines: Globality, Gender, Knowledge, and Information Technology is soon to be published by the Ateneo de Manila University Press.

    Girija Shrestha is the Regional Secretariat Management Officer of the UN-HABITAT/Urban Management Programme–Asian Institute of Technology (UMP-AIT) Partnership. Prior to this, she was a researcher in Gender and Development Studies at AIT, and an architect/urban planner in the Housing and Physical Planning Department, Government of Nepal. Her areas of interests are Gender and Housing Technology, Urban Planning and Governance. She recently co-authored (with Dev Nathan) “Leasehold Forestry for Livelihoods of the Poor in Nepal” in the book Globalization and Indigenous Peoples in Asia: Changing the Local-Global Interface (Sage, 2004).

    Isabel Zorn is a researcher at the Centre for Digital Media and Education, Department of Computing Sciences, University of Bremen (Germany), where she works on the interlinkage of technology design and education. She was responsible for the scientific management of the International Symposium on Gender and Information Society GIST 2004, In 2003, she evaluated 100 e-learning modules for Gender Mainstreaming criteria and co-developed a guideline for gender-sensitive e-learning design. She was closely involved with the development of the vifu server and virtual community building among international scholars. Recently, she co-authored “Good Practice Strategies for Gender-Sensitive Design of E-Learning Modules” (Good Practice für die gendergerechte Gestaltung digitaler Lernmodule) in Campus 2004—Have Digital Media for Universities Grown up? (Campus 2004—Kommen die digitalen Medien an den Hochschulen in die Jahre?).

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