E-Empowerment through Strengthening Women's Policy Issues via the Internet

E-Empowerment through Strengthening Women's Policy Issues via the Internet

Tanja Carstensen (Hamburg University of Technology, Germany) and Gabriele Winker (Hamburg University of Technology, Germany)
Copyright: © 2006 |Pages: 7
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-815-4.ch037
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Both Internet studies and women’s and gender studies formulated various hopes and fears for the effects of the Internet on gender relations at an early point. Whereas some scholars saw it as a male domain, others pinned hopes for overcoming dichotomous gender constructions to the new technology. The Internet was also seen as an opportunity to network women’s policy activists and to strengthen women’s policy issues from the very beginning. There have, however, been few studies of how women specifically use the Internet to further feminist issues. This article addresses this question of Internet use in women’s policy networks based on an empirical study, which examined the democratizing use of the Internet for German women’s networks. We start off by signifying the importance of the Internet within the developments of the women’s movement and giving an overview of the existing research findings. We then analyze the use of the Internet within women’s policy networks, using the three dimensions “information”, “interaction,” and “political action”. We wind up the article by outlining an idea that could be used to better concentrate and structure existing Internet services, possibly strengthening women’s public political spaces.

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