Political Dis-Empowerment of Women by ICTs: The Case of the Zambian Elections

Political Dis-Empowerment of Women by ICTs: The Case of the Zambian Elections

Sam Phiri (University of Zambia, Zambia)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9773-7.ch003
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This chapter explores how bloggers in two Zambia online publications represent women politicians and how interlopers ‘frame' such politicians so as to exclude them from the public spaces. It argues that although ICTs are generally thought to be facilitators of women's empowerment, they can also be used to dis-empower the women with the full utilisation of cultural or religious frames and practices. It is further said that ICTs have both a positive and negative edge to them and thus should be used much more carefully.
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Zambia is a land-linked country at the northern end of the heart of southern Africa. At independence, some 50 years ago, it had about 4 million inhabitants. Today there are 13 million people. Out of these about 51 per cent (or 6.6 million) are women and about 2.5 million are youths between the ages of 15 and 35. Among the youths, 17 per cent are unemployed out of which a majority (or 22 per cent of the youths) live in urban areas. Out of the 13 million Zambians, 61 per cent of the people (or 8 million), live in rural areas. 1

In terms of accessibility, the Internet is reasonably available in Zambia. According to the Zambia Central Statistical Office (CSO) and the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA), in 2012 there were about 2 million internet and 76, 000 mobile phone users in the country. This represented nearly 14 per cent of the population. In that year, Zambia was ranked 93rd in internet usage in the world. This was a giant leap forward compared to position 160 which Zambia occupied a mere three years before, in 2009, when only 816,200 Zambian residents had access to the internet.2

This chapter explores how bloggers in two online publications, the Zambian Watchdog, and Zambia Reports reflected upon and represented the two women politicians during the 90-day transition period that lasted from October 2014 to January 2015. The two women are Kaseba and Silvia Masebo who in this instance, are representative of the articulate and emerging women leaders in Zambia.

In particular, the chapter necessarily focuses on the manner in which the two women were ‘framed’ in both publications’ blogs, on the day they made the momentous announcements.

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