Accepted paper:

Policy, ICTs and the Sexes: An Analysis of the Missing Link in Zambia’s ICT Policy for Development and Empowerment

Author:

Kutoma Wakunuma (De Montfort University)

Paper short abstract:

Paper long abstract:

The intention of this paper is to pay particular attention to the role that ICT policy and gender play in the drive for development and empowerment in a developing society. Particular focus is on Zambia and its National ICT Policy which was officially unveiled in March 2007. The paper will analyse issues of gender, development and empowerment, particularly for marginalised groups who are often women. This is in order to assess whether the goals of the National ICT Policy encourage social and economic development as well as empowerment for not only the country in general but for women in particular and to what extent this is done, if at all. The paper makes the case that as much as ICT policies are being developed and adopted in order to be incorporated into the development agendas of countries like Zambia, mere adoption without adequately addressing gender concerns within the policies themselves may not necessarily achieve the desired development and empowerment. The analysis subsequently brings to the fore some shortcomings within the policy that have not been addressed with the adequacy they deserve and which as a result, have the potential to negatively impact on women's overall development and subsequent empowerment. The paper particularly focuses on Government claims which suggest that women are important actors in ICT use for sustainable development without whom the successful diffusion and use of ICTs in the country cannot be a reality. The paper questions whether this is mere rhetoric on the part of Government or genuine belief. To gauge this, the paper examines how notions of ‘gender’ are routinely incorporated into the policy rhetoric relating to ICTs and development and then compares this rhetoric with the strategies put in place within the policy itself.

panel D7
ICTs and development in Africa