This paper was presented during the panel on globalised media and ICT systems and structures and their interrelationship with fundamentalism and militarism organised by Isis International-Manila during the World Social Forum in Mumbai, India in January 2004. The author contends that the global economy supported by ICTs stands upon the intersection of the crumbling proletariat of the North and the off-shore proletariat of the South, as seen in issues of labour, media and militarism. The feminisation of labour and the conditions of female labour have been underscored in globalisation literature, as being structural to the new international division of labour brought on by the new ICTs. In this milieu, the author raises questions like: Who are the women who can aspire to become “knowledge workers”? How real is the much celebrated mobility and flexibility that women are supposed to enjoy in the IT sector?
She also considers the politics of geography and how polarisations of the global city have implied the disappearance of various economic activities from the focus of state support. Further, the intellectual property regime has commodified social knowledge, and in the global market only certain forms of knowledge are recognised. Against the backdrop of the social landscape of South Asia, which reveals glaring faultlines of religious, linguistic and ethnic assertions and conflicts, the new communication channels of the technology age pose a huge threat to social capital and the legitimacy of nation-states. The author also discusses that for women from the South, militarism also has a more insidious face: the increasing abandonment of their sexual and reproductive rights at discursive and political levels. She concludes that the current challenge for feminism at this juncture is to conceptualise differences among women in a way that allows for the articulation of universal concerns; concerns that will make way for a Southern perspective and feminist reconceptualisation of the global economy, and also provides ways to achieve this both at local and global levels (Adapted from author).