The long road to girl power

Gender Technology and Development (three timea a year)
December 4, 1998

Gender, Technology and Development is a new triannually published multidisciplinary and cross-cultural international journal which aims to explore the linkages between changing gender relations and technological development. The journal is based at the Gender and Development Studies (GenDev) Center at The Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Thailand and is sponsored by the Norwegian Aid Agency, Norad.

The empowerment of women is the subject of ongoing debate in virtually all nations of the world today. Women have increasingly been organising to gain access to credit, training, technology and other inputs necessary for successful economic enterprises. Active involvement in income-generating activities helps to support their families and improve living conditions for their households and for themselves. Meeting these practical gender needs, women are then able to meet strategic gender needs in their everyday lives and, in doing so, increase their bargaining power within their families, communities and the market place. But, institutions like NGOs have found that it is necessary to address various socio-cultural and local political constraints before women's empowerment can be achieved.

Coming from an Indian background and living in a western country I am interested whether feminism in the west and east means the same, especially in the context where societies and cultures are so diverse. Have the so-called advanced western countries offered women in the West equality and understanding of their needs and development? I see little evidence that technological change within patriarchal traditions has really provided women with either dignity or equity; indeed it may have further marginalised women in an era which is dominated by the market economy in West, East, North and South. This journal, combining articles from researchers in the East and West, provides a valuable outlet for Asian perspectives on these debates while promoting interlinkage with the western, northern world. Among the first year's articles looking at the shifting boundaries of meaning in gender, feminism, equality, technology and science, I was impressed by Thanh-Dam Truong's feminist perspective on gender and human development and by Dev Nathan and Govind Kelkar's on women's unvalued labour.

The articles in the journal provide a critical standpoint with respect to the integration of women-centred analysis, gender relations and science and technology. Such an integration is intended to facilitate the increased participation of women in professions in science and technology, and to reduce the gender gap in scientific and technological literacy.

The articles focus on developing the theory and practice of gender and technological development, exploring these issues through various quantitative, qualitative and empirical field-based research and case studies. To examine the suitability of various tools and techniques for effective gender analyses can help define policy and programmes in their political, economic and social context. In addition to articles, the journal also includes NGO profiles, book reviews, poems and news bulletins relating to the issues of gender and technology.

The journal is a welcome addition to and important advance in the area of gender and development studies and for those working in communities and in urban and regional developmental planning and natural resource management.

Vandana Desai is lecturer in geography, Royal Holloway, University of London.

Gender Technology and Development (three timea a year)

Editor - Govind Kelkar
ISBN - ISSN 0971 8524
Publisher - Sage
Price - £28.00 (indivs.) £69.00 (instits.)

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