Feminist reflection on internet policies

Changing the way you see ICT


Gender dynamics need to be addressed in communications surveillance in Uganda

Dorothy Okello, Cleopatra Kanyunyuzi, and Winnie Mbabazi for WOUGNET
Dorothy Okello, Cleopatra Kanyunyuzi, and Winnie Mbabazi for WOUGNET on 4 December, 2014 - 14:06
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The incident involving the prime minister highlights why there is growing concern over the governance and regulation of communication surveillance, and how it is being used to infringe on one’s right to privacy in Uganda. Because this case affected a high-ranking Ugandan official, the question is, how safe is the ordinary Ugandan? And from a gender activist perspective, what are the gender concerns in the emerging policy and regulatory environment? Two recent studies on internet freedoms in Uganda were conducted by Unwanted Witness and Collaboration on International ICT Policy in East and Southern Africa (CIPESA). While both studies review the communications surveillance environment in Uganda, there is no specific focus on issues of concern by gender. However, both studies did raise various concerns that are relevant to women’s use of the internet and social media.


Gender equality in the information society - a review of current literature and recommendations for policy and practice

Anita Gurumurthy and Nandini Chami
Anita Gurumurthy and Nandini Chami on 13 November, 2014 - 12:28
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The information society is not gender neutral – it has different implications for women and men, girls and boys, and for the relationships between them. It is therefore vital to begin reflecting more critically on how ICTs are changing the nature of gender
relations in social, political, economic and cultural landscapes. On one hand is important to recognise and harness the potential of
increased ICT access and connectivity for transforming gender power relations and empowering women ‐ especially those who
are poor. As many have pointed out, connectivity increasingly marks a key difference between exclusion and opportunity and the question of ICT access is becoming central to the development agenda. On the other hand it is essential that we do not put all our faith in ICTs to ‘solve’ the problem of gender inequalities. Today, an increasing number of women have access to digital technologies. But all too often, when women use Smartphones or access the internet, the assumption is made that putting these technologies into their hands will be necessarily empowering. Without discounting any possibilities for gender transformative change in the information society, it is important to examine how techno‐social practices reproduce gender power differentials, what norms are privileged in the structures of the internet, and how the logic of techno-social spaces is contingent upon the design and production of technological architectures.


More or less equal. How digital platforms can help advance communication rights

Philip Lee and Dafne Sabanes Plou (editors)
Philip Lee and Dafne Sabanes Plou (editors) on 13 November, 2014 - 09:32
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Interestingly, in this same publication there are five articles on communication, gender and women’s use of media (including the internet) to freely review and publicize their reality in a world where roles and gender expectations are being transformed at a steadily increasing pace. Communication rights exercised by women allow them to enter a world that has long been considered private and which now, through the use of new communication channels, is being exposed by their challenges to and questioning of injustice, violence and censorship. The claim for equal opportunity and gender justice is clear in women's new communication outputs, ranging from research and feature a rticles published online to lively campaigns in radio and social networks. In new media technologies women have found great tools to advance and strengthen their objective of achieving full citizenship and equality in today's society.


Pakistan country report: Technology driven violence against women

Bytes for All
Bytes for All on 3 October, 2014 - 01:41
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Bytes for All (B4A), Pakistan is a human rights organization and a network of information and communication technology professionals and practitioners. It experiments and organizes debate on the relevance of ICTs for sustainable development and strengthening social justice movements in the country. Its mission is “ICTs for development, democracy and social justice”.

Technology based violence is exposing women to the entire spectrum of conceivable harms in Pakistan. Victims of technology based violence have suffered physical violence ranging from rape to attempted assassination, psycho-social harms and loss of development opportunities. This was revealed in a research report launched by Bytes for All, Pakistan in Islamabad.


Summary Report of the Gender Dynamic Coalition meeting at the IGF 2014

Nadine Moawad (compilator)
Nadine Moawad (compilator) on 25 September, 2014 - 13:57
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The Gender iDynamic Coalition meeting discussed the outcomes from key processes and discussions on internet governancei leading up to the IGF 2014 – including 2013 IGF Gender Report Card findings, WSIS+10 results, and NetMundial to assess integration of gender issues and concerns. The meeting also launched the new Feminist Principles of the Interneti which is a working document produced from a meeting of over 50 women’s and internet rights iactivists in April 2014. Panelists and attendees together developed thinking and analysis around the contentious issues of gender, sexuality, and the internet, including online violence against womeni, ‘harmful’ content, ‘hate speech’, and sexual expression. It also planned for integration of internet governance issues at the post-2015 development agenda and Beijing +20 discussions led by UN Women for the 2015 Commission on the Status of Women. This produced a set of recommendations for follow-up activities and future contributions to internet governance issues.


Tackling gender-based violence with technology - Case studies of mobile and internet technology interventions in developing contexts

Writen and edited by Ceri Hayes for STATT
Writen and edited by Ceri Hayes for STATT on 12 September, 2014 - 13:24
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Contributors: Tara Ali, Robia Charles, Zdena Middernacht, Wahid Rahimdil, Jacob Townsend. Case study contributors: Jennifer Radloff (Association for Progressive Communications), Nancy Schwartzman (Circle of 6), Rebecca Chiao (HarassMap), Sharon Bylenga (Media Matters for Women), Elizabeth Vandrei (SAWA), Maria del Camino Hurtado (World Bank), Erisha Suwal (Independent Consultant). Other contributors: Sara Baker, Katerina Fialova, Jac Sm Kee and Erika Smith (Association for Progressive Communications), Nancy Glass (John Hopkins Centre for Global Health), Arpita Naghat (IHollaback India), Nazhat Shameem (mWomen), Laura Capobianco (UN Women), Christopher Burns (USAID), Rachael Maddock-Hughes (World Pulse)

Gender-based and violence against womeni are often used interchangeably, because most violence is perpetrated by men against women. For the purposes of this paper, we use gender-based violence (GBV). While the majority of organisations featured in this report are primarily focused on tackling violence against women, although some have also provided support and advice to a minority of male survivors of violence.


Queering internet governance in Indonesia

Institut Pelangi Perempuan in cooperation with Association for Progressive Communications and Ford Foundation
Institut Pelangi Perempuan in cooperation with Association for Progressive Communications and Ford Foundation on 1 September, 2014 - 17:23
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In Indonesia, sexuality has gradually become a more and more open public discourse. Conflict on discourse of sexuality expands through the use of Internet. On the one hand, internet has given space to the advancement of human rights including human rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ). On the other hand, the technology creates a space, which preserves status quo, discrimination and violence against LGBTIQ that has previously been evident in offline spaces. Harassment and homophobic bullying, which include online delivery of hate speech against the LGBTIQ referred to as cyber-homophobia is among the behaviors appearing in social network and other cyber spaces. The blockade of LGBTIQ websites by several Internet Service Providers (ISP) has been happening since 2011. The act is often a one-sided decision without prior notification to owner of website. More often than not, the process is committed by both ISP and Ministry of Communication and Informatics Republic of Indonesia, without a transparent and accountable consultation to the owner of the website. In response to such situation, in 2012, LGBTIQ activists began advocating Human Rights of LGBTIQ in the area of internet management. These activists include Institut Pelangi Perempuan (IPP), Ourvoice (OV), Arus Pelangi and Gamacca. The social movement and process of advocacy against cyber-homophobia and the decision to close LGBTIQ websites in Indonesia then become a movement introduced as “Queering Internet Governance in Indonesia.”


Tools and Tactics for the LGBTI community in sub-Saharan Africa

Tactical Tech
Tactical Tech on 1 September, 2014 - 14:05
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Tactical Tech is delighted to announce the launch of a new guide: Tools and Tactics for the LGBTIi community in sub-Saharan Africa. This is the second in our series of Security in-a-boxi Community Focus guides, which aim to further integrate digital security into the context of particular communities and human rightsi defenders.


Technology-related violence against women – Recent legislative trends

Carly Nyst for the End violence: Women's rights and safety online project
Carly Nyst for the End violence: Women's rights and safety online project on 26 August, 2014 - 21:28
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Carly Nyst works for Privacy International and directs PI's work in developing countries. Carly is an Australian-qualified lawyer who has worked in human rights law and advocacy at both national and international levels.

This study seeks to explore recent legislative developments aimed at addressing and providing avenues of redress for technology-related violence against womeni. We explore the objectives, structure and application of four domestic legislative responses to different forms of violence against women, seeking to understand how domestic legislatures are responding to increasing awareness of violence against women online.


End violence research: Case summaries from country reports

Take Back the Tech!
Take Back the Tech! on 25 August, 2014 - 19:21
0 comments | 628 reads

The following case summaries are excerpted from End violence against womeni: Country reports, which involve seven countries and are part of research commissioned by the Association for Progressive Communicationsi Women's Rightsi Programme (APC WRP) beginning in 2013.