Thursday, February 25, 2010

Gendered Access to Knowledge and Africa


Here is a photo which reminds me of my ongoing pursuit to understand gender research in the realm of information and communication technology (ICTs) for development in Africa.  This is a group shot was taken back in Johannesburg in 2008 with researcher partners and IDRC staff who are trying to interrogate the socio-economic effects of ICTs and whether there are advantages or disadvantages applied differently on men versus women.  Since then, I have been trying to write out some thoughts on the gender research being pursued around me here in Africa.  Here is what I hope is just the start: 

I recently published an article for  Reaction to the Gender Findings from Africa’s Access to Knowledge Research:

" writer and a Research Officer at Canada`s International Development Research Centre, Kathleen Diga tracks the journey of the African Copyright & Access to Knowledge (ACA2K)research network to better understand the nature of African national copyright environments and their impact on equal opportunities for all citizens to access information, particularly in the realm of education. The author argues that the ultimate development goal of copyright law is to afford equal access to educational learning materials regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, disability or age. The law must be flexible in order to recognize existing or potential discrimination against vulnerable groups. For example income constraints are likely to discriminate against women more than men in efforts to access educational materials.

It is a follow up to a previous article, University women struggle for knowledge access in Africa:

"The future female leaders of Africa are up against major barriers to knowledge access, which could mean lost opportunities in university learning and teaching the state-of-the-art research most necessary for academic success. Online academic journals, and university textbooks are a few of the important resources that are part of this access to knowledge, which is pertinent particularly at the university level. Not only do students need to pass their courses, they are also encouraged to develop innovative and novel ideas informed and possibly inspired by past research work. Kathleen Diga questions whether such access of learning materials to all students and teachers at universities in Africa are fair to both women and men."

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