Feminist reflection on internet policies

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Why are we here? Women participants at the IGF told us why they came to Athens

Mavic Cabrera-Balleza
Mavic Cabrera-Balleza on 31 October, 2006 - 13:18
11 comments | 1683 reads
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Why are we here?

Women (and men) from NGOs, government"state" in this glossary). As a general rule, "government" should not be capitalised.

Source: Wikipedia">is, and private sector came to the ongoing Internet Governance Forum Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is a forum for multi-stakeholder policy dialogue on how the internet is run. It was set up at the end of 2005 by the United Nations Secretary-General following a resolution made by governments at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).

Style information: N/a

Source: APC">iin Athens, Greece with different agenda. However, many of them are also uncertain whether those agenda will be addressed or not in this gathering that is described as a big brainstorming session. To have a better idea regarding the range of agenda as well as expectations, I’ve been asking the women participants in this Forum about their reason for coming to the Forum. Here are some of the responses I’ve gathered so far:

Marsha Guthrie(Jamaica): [I’m hoping that] we can move forward with the whole issue of the internet governanceSource: Tunis Agenda for the Information Society">i because the talks have stagnated I hope this inaugural meeting will re-start the process and deal with the real issues of openness and access for developing countries and multilingualism and move forward.

Sam Dickinson, Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (Australia): I'm here at IGF as part of the technology community. My personal interest is about how to bridge the divide between the tech community that originally developed the Interneti and the many Internet users and stakeholders iwho now need to be involved in Internet development. Professionally, I'm here to represent the Asia Pacific Internet community and get ideas about how to get more people involved in tech policyi development in our region.

Connie Chan (Australia): I am here to learn about how multi-stakeholderStyle information: APC uses multi-stakeholder with a hyphen between "multi" and "stakeholder".

Source: Frequently Asked Questions about Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships in ICTs for Development: A guide for national ICT policy animators">is get together and discuss issues about internet governance from different perspectives. I am also interested in seeing how the conference is organized.

Virginia Paque (Venezuela): I’m here as part of DIPLO Foundation - Diplomacy International. We’re involved in Internet Governance capacity building for development — to build policy capacity and to use IT for development. Personally, I advocate for better use of education — pushing the envelope and its tools to involve people who need to be here. How could we be talking of development when developing countries are not here? Even remote participation was not made possible –what a contradiction in terms –we’re not using the internet to ensure participation in this Forum.

Blogiger’s note: An IGF Discussion Space has been set up on the four themes of the IGF – i.e., openness, security, diversity, and access. However, we have yet to see how interactive and participatory this space is. Yesterday (30 October 2006) the organizers announced that feedback and inputs to the Forum may also be sent to this address: comments@ igf2006.info.

Danielle Nieuwenhuijse SIDN – Dutch Registry (.nl) (Netherlands): I’m here to see what will happen with [the issues around] security, spami, multi-stakeholder approach, and networkingThe Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English on Encyclopedia.com">i. I’m curious how the relationship between the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANNi) and the US Department of Commerce (DOC) will evolve. ICANN is very US dominated. It will be good if there is a commission with more participation from different countries so it is open and transparent.

Blogger’s note: Danielle’s concern was discussed in yesterday’s plenary session. Minister Liapis of Greece and Minister Kamel of Egypt both state"government" in this glossary). As a general rule, "state" should not be capitalised.

Source: Governance for sustainable human development: A UNDP policy document (Glossary of key terms) and Wikipedia">id that there have been initial steps taken towards ICANN’s enhanced autonomy. A month ago, ICANN released a statement that they have signed a new agreement with the US DOC that guarantees greater independence in managing the Internet's System of Unique Identifiers. More debates on ICANN’s autonomy and mandate are expected to take place in the coming days.

Namita Malhotra - Alternative Law Forum (India): My participation in the IGF is as much about curiosity and the desire to intervene in the discourse on internet governance policy, which probably is the least punctured or disrupted by realities that are not male, heteronormative and white. To bring into the discussion realities (and fantasies) that are brown, black, yellow, identities that are female, transgender, beyond gender, desires that are queerStyle Information:n/a Source: Wikipedia ">i, beyond laws.

I will continue asking women why they are here throughout the Forum.

 

Responses to this post

8 years 30 weeks ago

Gabijela Ivanov (Croatia): I an here as a representative of ZaMirNET, APC member in Croatia. I look forward to get an overview of the internet governanceSource: Tunis Agenda for the Information Society">i issuses especially on openness and gender
Moser 1993:230, from Navigating Gender

">iissues. (i say overview, because nothing new or concrete happens here, i must say... it's dialogue about not so new issues and trying to make gaps bit smaller). But most of all i am here to improve ideas that i have on how to make interneti based self sustainable women's project that i'm about to emerge into soon in Croatia. gender bender art and media are the keywords:)

8 years 29 weeks ago

i love your thought on gender
Moser 1993:230, from Navigating Gender

">ibender art! are you working on anything right now? would you share your ideas and energy on the Take Back The Tech!Source: APC Annual Report 2006 ">i campaign? very much hope so :)
(http://www.takebackthetech.net/wiki/tiki-index.php)

MC
8 years 30 weeks ago

I am curious about how the internet governanceSource: Tunis Agenda for the Information Society">i agenda is going to be mapped out. As the Forum is one of the main outcomes of WSIS, I am interested to see if it will turn into a progressive endeavor truly building on WSIS values and principles such as people-centeredness, sustainable development Brundtland Report/IISD website and APC">iand women’s and men’s human rightsi. I had hoped that IGF would address issues in a structured way—forming common understanding of the issues from different perspectives. But as it is, it is a very unstructured bouncing off of ideas, with a very limited number of people reappearing on panels and workshops. There is a danger of it becoming a talk shop with no enriched conversation, no dialogue. The gender
Moser 1993:230, from Navigating Gender

">iagenda is not registering at all, which in my assessment is disastrous. I’m also wondering whether a clear development agenda will come through. There is a lot of development rhetoric –but whether that truly informs the ways in which the issues are addressed remains to be seen.

MC
8 years 30 weeks ago

I am here at the IGF to make sure that the environmental sustainabilityMerriam Webster Online Dictionary, APC and "Sustainable Information and Communication Technology (ICT): Thoughts by Batchelor and Norrish" (April 2002)">i is considered within the Internet governanceSource: Tunis Agenda for the Information Society">i policyi. I am here to learn, to meet new people, to understand more the processes around interneti development.

MC
8 years 30 weeks ago

The IGF opens an opportunity for political dialogue which hopefully addresses critical gaps related to democratise interneti. I am here mainly to follow up the discussions, approaches and strategies that emerge from the Forum, from the perspective of the policyi work the Association for Progressive CommunicationsAssociation for Progressive Communications.

Style information: Capital letters for Association, Progressive and Communications. "Communications" with an "s" at the end. We tend not to use the definite article with the acronym eg "APC is a worldwide network", and only occasionally "The APC is a worldwide network".

Source: APC website">i does in Latin America. I also aim to look at the IGF’s process from my belief that human rightsi, equity, transparency, and democracy should be the focus for the development of internet

MC
8 years 30 weeks ago

I came here on a business pass but I’m actually representing a government"state" in this glossary). As a general rule, "government" should not be capitalised.

Source: Wikipedia">ial agency working on interneti policyi in Korea. The IGF is a very important momentum on internet governanceSource: Tunis Agenda for the Information Society">i. We’re trying to see the overall trend in terms of international opinions and where it’s going in terms of the development theme. When we speak of internet governance we usually talk of domain nameICANN - the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers - who also evolve the policy for resolving domain name disputes. In these cases of alleged name infringement an appeal to the World Intellectual Property Organisation, if upheld, can result in the removal of the name from their registered owners. The control of the domain name system has become an increasingly important issue in the governance of the internet and is being increasingly recognised as political, for example, during the attempt to register a .xxx domain specifically for pornographic sites. Style Information: n/a">is, IP addresses and only a little bit about pricing and access. I’m curious about how it [internet governance] relates to development.

MC
8 years 30 weeks ago

I’m working for an IT Company in Suva, Fiji Islands. Here, I’m representing the Pacific Islands Chapter.We cover 22 Island Countries and have about 400 Active Members. I hope this conference woks as a platform for our voices to be heard and bring about a certain change in the Pacifc. The local Pacific participation is minimal as the Pacifc is facing a problem of brain drain and lack of funding for the participants. I believe that the problems relating to interneti and internet governanceSource: Tunis Agenda for the Information Society">i differ from country to country, region to region. Pacifc is a different scenario all together as we have countries with a population from 1000 to 4 Million People. High cost of bandwith and the monopoly of the telecom regulators is one of the main problems that the Pacific is facing now. Coming to such conferences hopefully can be an eye opener to our ministers and they are compelled to take necessary actions to see us marching with the progressive world.

MC
8 years 30 weeks ago

(currently enrolled at the Strathclyde University in Scotland): I’m here to widen my background in the telecom industry. It would be interesting to see who are involved and who are the stakeholders, what are the drivers and the emerging challenges in developing the Interneti.

8 years 29 weeks ago

I am here with APC WNSP to make sure that gender
Moser 1993:230, from Navigating Gender

">iissues are present and women are able to have a say when internet governanceSource: Tunis Agenda for the Information Society">i architecture is being formed. Is it too late? Hmm, I'm asking myself. I'm also learning here about what's at stake in this large area of IG and what interests are represented.

8 years 29 weeks ago

Wei Wei Huang, International Communication Association and Cyber Angel’s Pick: I’m representing an NGO that works on eliminating the digital divide
[PowerPoint presentation, October 2000]

">i. I am here to understand the trends in interneti safety education. I want to learn about other experiences [in this area]. I met a guy from Mozambique who said we could perhaps teach teachers in his country about internet safety.

Hawa Diakite, Internet SocietyInternet Society. Style information: The acronym ISOC is always capitalised. Regional bureaux are referred to as ISOC Africa, ISOC Asia etc. Source: http://www.isoc.org/">i (Mali): I am a computer engineer and I am here to learn, contribute and participate in the debates particularly on infrastructure, access and security. For us in Africa, infrastructure and access are the problems. [In other regions like}Europe, the problem is security.

Nenita Tenefrancia, Teresian Association (Philippines) Our projects and activities deal with the integral development of persons and communities in all its different manifestations. As such we are in need of constant renewal in the various fields of knowledge and skills. In this context, the advances in the Information and Communication Technologies interest us enormously, as much as those related directly with the internet, to communicate and to inform, to network and to collaborate with other similar-minded organizations for the transformation of individuals and of the society as a whole.

Caroline Wamala, (Uganda)currently a doctoral student at Lulea University of Technology in Sweden: My research interest is on gender
Moser 1993:230, from Navigating Gender

">iand technology relationship from a development perspective –specifically looking at women and the internet. I am here to find out if the gender and development perspective will be addressed in the discussions. There should be more women in the panels speaking on behalf of the unique situation that women are confronted with.

S. Natalie Burke, (Barbados): I’ve been following the WSIS process from Geneva and our government"state" in this glossary). As a general rule, "government" should not be capitalised.

Source: Wikipedia">i sees ICTinformation and communications technology. ">is as an important tool for development and we are in the middle of finalizing our national ICT policy policy. Style Information: n/a">i. Participation in a venue such as the IGF is useful and important in terms of gauging ideas, sharing experiences and learning best practices.

Bria McElroy, Center for Women and Information Technology (USA): We want to develop an international task force that will drive forward gender and ICT policies; we want to gain more support for the declaration of agreement on women and ICTs that was presented in Tunis; to network and make connection with other groups working on gender; to make sure that gender isn’t marginalized when considering the Millennium Development Goals and that all of these efforts are inclusive.

8 years 29 weeks ago

well, i am kind of framing up an idea, starting it up, and i would definitly like feedback, and definitly am open up for collaboration.

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