Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Cinderella or Cyberella: Empowering Women in the Knowledge Society, edited by Nancy Hafkin and Sophia Huyer, presents a series of essays on the roles technology can play in enabling "agency, capability, and choices for women and [in their ability to help] change the conditions of the disempowered." Each chapter discusses the ways in which information and communication technologies (ICTs) have provided opportunities for women’s social and economic empowerment, to varying degrees of success. The contributors present case studies from Africa, Asia, Latin America, and North America, and focus their discussions solely on women and girls. However, they seem to include the men and boys benefitting directly from the empowerment of their female counterparts in their "Cinderella" and "Cyberella" characterizations.

In the introduction, Hafkin provides a thorough overview of both the purpose and content of the book, emphasizing the shared belief of the writers that the implementation of ICTs will provide the most comprehensive and successful means for empowerment. The next two chapters present statistics and arguments, both for and against, the contribution of ICTs to women’s empowerment. And the remainder of the book considers the efficacy of specific projects and activities that are being, or have been, implemented around the world.

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