Feminist reflection on internet policies

Changing the way you see ICT

Results from the Gender Report Card at the 2012 IGF: More women make a huge difference

Association for Progressive Communications
Association for Progressive Communications on 14 October, 2013
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In 2011, APC successfully piloted the implementation of a gender report card for IGF workshops and main sessions as a way to monitor and assess the level of gender parity and inclusion. The IGF Gender Report Card is an initiative to measure the level of progress on the inclusion of gender equality and the promotion women’s empowerment in this important internet governance policy dialogue process.
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Introduction

This report summarises the contents of the Gender Report Card (1) sections of the workshop reports from the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) of 2012 (2).

Findings

The website contains reports for a total of 89 workshops. The workshops were organised into six main themes, with two workshops categorised as “other”. The largest single theme group was Security, Openness and Privacy, accounting for 28% of all workshops, with Access and Diversity accounting for 21% of the total. Taking Stock and the Way Forward was the smallest theme in terms of number of workshops.


The next table shows the estimated participation of women by theme. The N/S column shows that the participation of women was not reported on for ten workshops. Among the remaining, the category “About half” was the largest for each of the themes and accounted for 60% of all workshops – or 67% if the N/S are excluded. (In the open comments, one of the report-writers noted that the prescribed categories for participation were not sufficiently disaggregated and did not allow, for example, for an option indicating that about one third of the participants were women. The clustering in the “about half” category must be understood in light of this comment.) Internet Governance for Development (IG4D) was the theme most likely to have women constituting the majority of participants. Emerging Issues and Security, Openness and Privacy each had one workshop in which no women participated.


The next table shows that for 18 of the 89 workshops there was no indication of the relevance of gender for the theme. It is not clear if this should be read that report-writers for one-fifth of the workshops felt that gender was not important enough to be reported on, or whether this meant that report-writers were not clear how to deal with this question, or whether there was another reason. For over half of the workshops – 49 – gender was not seen as relevant to the theme and was not raised in discussion. Gender was mentioned in 17 workshops, but considered as important or the main theme only for four workshops.

Gender was most likely to be mentioned in IG4D workshops which, as seen above, were also the workshops in which women were most likely to participate. Access and Diversity was the theme next most likely to have mentions of gender – or even consideration of gender as the main theme or an important aspect.


Table 4 explores whether discussion of gender was more likely when there was greater participation of women. It confirms that the only workshop for which gender was the main theme had women as the majority of participants. Women were also in the majority for one of the three workshops in which gender was considered an important aspect. Conversely, for both of the workshops with no women attending, gender was seen as not related to the theme and was not raised


There were open-ended comments in respect of 22 themes – 7 (out of 25) for Security, Openness and Privacy, 6 (out of 19) for Access and Diversity, 3 each for Emerging Issues (15), IG4D (13) and Managing Critical Internet Resources (9).

Open-ended comments were more likely to be offered for workshops which had a majority of women participants (5 out of 13) or very few women participants (4 out of 1) than for those where about half of participants were women (12 out of 53). There was also a comment for one of the two workshops that had no women present.

An open-ended comment was provided for the workshop where gender was the main theme as well as for one of the three for which gender was an important aspect and 7 of the 10 where gender was mentioned briefly. Open-ended comments were less likely (10 of 49) where gender was seen as not related and was not raised. There were, however, open-ended comments for three workshops in which there was no indication of the extent of discussion of gender in the workshop.

Table 5 lists the open-ended comments, indicating to which workshop each relates. The listing shows that some of the comments took the form of suggestions as to how gender could be better addressed in future, some described how workshop participants had attempted to address gender or were planning to do so going forward, and yet others commented on the innovation of having a Gender Report Card, with some suggested improvements for the Card.

See Table 5 here

Finally, the appendix gives a fully listing of workshops, by number, showing the theme of each workshop and the responses to the closed-ended gender questions.

Appendix: Workshops and responses to Gender Report Card

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Table 547.48 KB
Appendix59.17 KB

Footnotes

(1) The IGF Gender iReport Card was developed in recognition of the commitment as outlined under Article 12 of the WSIS Declaration of Principles, which stateis: “We affirm that development of ICTis provides enormous opportunities for women, who should be an integral part of, and key actors, in the Information Society. We are committed to ensuring that the Information Society ienables women’s empowermenti and their full participation on the basis on equality in all spheres of society and in all decision-making processes. To this end, we should mainstream a gender equalityi perspective and use ICTs as a tool to that end.”

(2) Those responsible for writing the reports on the workshops were asked to respond to a Gender Report Card that asked three questions, as follows:

• Please estimate the overall number of women participants present at the session
• To what extent did the session discuss gender equality and/or women's empowermenti?
• Please include any comments or recommendations you have on how to improve the inclusion of issues related to gender equality and/or women’s empowerment

Standard response options were provided for the first two questions. For the estimation of the overall number of women, the options were:
• There were no women participants [reflected as “No women” in the tables that follow]
• There were very few women participants [“Very few”]
• About half of the participants were women [“About half”]
• The majority of participants were women [“Majority”]

For the extent to which the session discussed gender equality and/or women’s empowerment, the options were:
• It was one of the main themes of the session [reflected as “Main theme” in the tables that follow]
• It was raised by one or more of the speakers as an important aspect of the session's theme [“Important aspect”]
• It was mentioned briefly in the presentations and discussions [“Mentioned”]
• It was not seen as related to the session theme and was not raised [“Not related”]

In addition, one report writer noted that “[Gender] has no relevance within the subject of ODR” [“Not relevant”].

 

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