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Do ICT liberate an African gendered democracy?

Open Panel

Abstract

In South Africa and Senegal, because of at the best ignorance or at the worst a seemly conformism, most of women’s organizations use ICT to “sell” their “activities” mainly towards the funders, who ask for, and don’t focus on the needs of their own beneficiaries. Their website are usually “showcases”, their listservs one-sense information, rather than participatory and collaborative tools for highlighting grassroots women’s own knowledge, opinions and struggle. So that there is a gap between their political goals, like for example fighting gender violence or the negative country policies impacts on women’s daily life, and their communication goals. At first, we observe a dichotomy between beneficiaries of organizations actions and beneficiaries of information they want to disseminate. These forms of impermeability undermine the transparency of the actions of organizations in general and distort any explicit notion of direct democracy. In fact, at the local, national or global level, public policies are largely decided by a male power that is now depending on the extended globalization. And ICT is supporting this new and accelerated extension, trended by hypermodernity. This context reveals a new power coloniality, which we call digital coloniality. This new domination relations landscape escapes local population and authorities hands. It is related to global policies that are decided elsewhere, inside the international organizations as well in foreign countries. The final question is then: do ICT allow the definition of innovative, inclusive and non-male dominated democracy? Some recent experiments in South Africa and Senegal, such as using ICT into a citizenship research methodology that directly involves young people at the ground level to get rid of FGM , or using strategically Digital Story Telling for raising grassroots women’s voice at the global level, show at second some creative tracks for a new democracy definition. Keywords: gender, Africa, coloniality