1st Edition

African Women, ICT and Neoliberal Politics The Challenge of Gendered Digital Divides to People-Centered Governance

By Assata Zerai Copyright 2019
    187 Pages
    by Routledge

    187 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    How can we promote people-centered governance in Africa? Cell phones/ information and communications technology (ICT) are shown to be linked to neoliberal understandings of more democratic governance structures, defined by the Worldwide Governance Indicators as: the rule of law, corruption-control, regulation quality, government effectiveness, political stability/no violence, and voice and accountability. However, these indicators fall short: they do note emphasize gender equity or pro-poor policies. 

    Writing from an African feminist scholar-activist perspective, Assata Zerai emphasizes the voices of women in two ways: (1) she examines how women's access to ICT makes a difference to the success of people-centered governance structures; and (2) she demonstrates how African women's scholarship, too often marginalized, must be used to expand and redefine the goals and indicators of democratice governance in African countries.

    Challenging the status quo that praises the contributions of cell phones to the diffusion of knowledge and resultant better governance in Africa, this book is an important read for scholars of politics and technology, gender and politics, and African Studies.

    List of Figures

    List of Tables

    List of Acronyms


    Introduction: In the Traditions of Professor Victor C. Uchendu and Professor Ifi Amadiume: African Women and the Challenge of Digital Divides to People-Centered Governance

    1. The Mobile Ecosystem and Internet Access on the African Content: Asymmetry and the Gender Digital Divide

    2. ICT, Women’s Status, and Governance in Zimbabwe

    3. ICT, Women’s Status, and Governance in Tanzania, 2010 and 2015–2016

    4. ICT, Women’s Status, and Governance in Malawi, 2010 and 2015–2016

    5. ICT, Diffusion of Knowledge to Women, Gender Inclusive Governance, and Impacts on Women’s Lives in Three African Nations







    Assata Zerai is Professor of Sociology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Zerai’s interests have included maternal and child health (MCH), health activism, safe water and sanitation, ICT in Africa and the African Diaspora, and making the intellectual work of African woman scholars and activitists more acccessible; as well as U.S.-based studies of MCH, Black feminist praxis, and diversity and LGBTIQ inclusiveness in Protestant congregations. Her recent books include Safe Water, Sanitation and Early Childhood Malnutrition in East Africa: An Africana Feminist Analysis of the lives of Women and Children in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda (Zerai and Brenda N. Sanya, eds, Rowman & Littlefield, Lexington Books, 2018); Intersectionality in Intentional Communities: The Struggle for Inclusivity in Multicultural U.S. Protestant Congregations (Rowman & Littlefield, Lexington Books, 2016); and Hypermasculinity and State Violence in Zimbabwe: An Africana Feminist Analysis of Maternal and Child Health (Africa World Press, 2014).