The Gender and Citizenship in the Information Society (CITIGEN) initiative of IT for Change primarily aims at fostering Southern feminist dialogues on the opportunities and challenges that the information society offers, for feminist theory and practice.
Recognising that existing scholarship in the realm of feminist analyses of the information society is nascent, CITIGEN seeks to build a cogent theoretical framework to grasp shifting gender orders in the emerging information society, especially from a Southern perspective. In this attempt, CITIGEN uses the 'citizenship lens', in a significant departure from the 'economic lens' used in most mainstream scholarship in the realm of gender, ICTs and development.
CITIGEN finds the 'citizenship lens' an appropriate one for constructing a cogent theory of the contemporary moment we inhabit; a moment of flux that poses new challenges to women's empowerment at the same time as it offers opportunities for challenging entrenched patriarchies. For, this moment has been marked by the constant shifting of the boundaries between the private arena assigned to women and the public spheres traditionally dominated by men,due to the change in social organisation brought about by the new ICTs. This shifting of boundaries has led to a disruption of traditional gender orders and the emergence of new hierarchies of power arising out of unequal and stratified access of individuals and groups to digital technologies. In such a scenario, CITIGEN deploys the 'citizenship lens' to enable the construction of a political perspective and the identification of opportunities for feminist practice.