Making Local Governance Work for Women: Exploring New Institutional Possibilities

Digital technologies have the power to transform and to offer developing country women opportunities to advance gender justice and equality. Led by IT for Change, this action research project will examine how information technologies can enhance women's citizenship, increase institutional responsiveness, and promote accountability.

Despite two decades of legal and policy measures to promote gender equality, women struggle to hold a legitimate place in government and democracy in most developing countries. Most are marginalized by poverty and traditional patriarchal societies. This often leaves them subject to technocratic top-down development projects that fail to build their collective identity or help them negotiate power.

The proposed research will take place over five local sites in three countries: Brazil, India, and South Africa. It will use digital technologies to enable marginalized women to negotiate their roles and to promote more inclusive governance and secure active citizenship. Researchers will use technosocial models - technological aids that influence the way people interact with one another - across different developing country contexts.

The project will help shape academic theory and practical knowledge on new opportunities and challenges facing women as they seek to attain full citizenship. It will show local groups how to leverage new technology for social and political change, allowing them to foster greater responsiveness and accountability in formal and informal governance structures.

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Saturday, March 17, 2012

End Date

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


24 months

IDRC Officer

Thioune, Ramata Aw

Total funding

CA$ 500,000


Brazil, South America, India, South Africa, North of Sahara, South of Sahara, North and Central America, Central Asia, Far East Asia, South Asia


Governance and Justice

Project Leader

Anita Gurumurthy


IT for Change

Institution Country


Institution Website

Project Leader

Graciela Selaimen


Instituto Nupef - Núcleo de Pesquisa, Estudos e Formação

Institution Country


Project Leader

Desiree Lewis


University of the Western Cape

Institution Country

South Africa

Institution Website