Using women as middle men: the real promise of ICTS

By Jonathan Sterne, Carol Stabile - 2003

Critical scholars, not to mention many of those burned by the bust, may have dispensed with the heady technological determinist claims of the early 1990s, but these claims live on in the fantasy world of development literature. They thrive in the official language of women in development especially that of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Information technology, one USAID publication reads, "brings women increased access to resources. . .the lack of a voice is a large measure of what has kept them from equity and parity worldwide. Information technology can mean opportunities for a whole range of women, including poor women. USAID's refusal to consider structural issues is not surprising, given its unsavory history of promoting private corporate interests internationally, but its discourse of female empowerment" is particularly problematic in light of feminist challenges to female entrepreneurialism and the belief that technology can set workers free. The authors' essay briefly examines two elements of the discourse of female empowerment through information technology: the ideology of connectivity and the related belief that information and communication technologies-in and of themselves-provide solutions to global poverty.

Feminist Media Studies, 3(3) 364-8 (2003).

By Jonathan Sterne, Carol Stabile| 2003


Communication rights enable all people everywhere to express themselves individually and collectively by all means of communication. They are vital to full participation in society and are, therefore, universal human rights belonging to every man, woman, and child.


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