Re-valuing Women's Knowledge

Hilary Yerbury


Women’s knowledge has often been seen as “a whole set of knowledges that have been disqualified as inadequate to their task or insufficiently elaborated: naive knowledges, located low down on the hierarchy, beneath the required level of cognition or scientificity." (Foucault 1980, p. 82). In this description, scientific knowledges are seen to be hierarchically more important, with traditional knowledges ranged beneath them. In this hierarchy, women’s knowledges are found wanting. The purpose of this paper is to explore the assertion that women’s knowledges are inadequate and to document ways in which they are marginalised. Revaluing women’s knowledge is recognised as one of the most direct methods of changing the way a society works. A vast literature has argued that is a key factor in development and has been shown to lead to poverty alleviation, to the development of active citizens and to the creation of a more open and democratic society. Possibilities for the revaluing of women’s knowledge using information and communication technologies are considered, focussing on the concepts of open access and the information commons. DOI:

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