Feminist reflection on internet policies

Changing the way you see ICT

Women's rights under threat online and offline

Jac sm Kee
Jac sm Kee on 11 November, 2010 - 13:58 on 11 November, 2010 - 13:58
Jac sm Kee is the focal point for APC WNSP's work on women's rights. She coordinates the EroTICS research (Exploratory Research on Sexuality and the Internet) and APC's "Take Back The Tech!" campaign.
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Women's rightsi to expression and information are increasingly under threat. The UN estimates that 95% of aggressive behaviour, harassment, abusive language and degrading images in online spaces are aimed at women.

As more and more women go online using computers and mobile phones, many are silenced through acts of violence, sexism and censorshipi. The first object that is destroyed by a violent partner is often the women's cellphone.

It's critical that we are able to speak out and share our ideas to challenge attitudes and beliefs that sustain violence against womeni.

Girl gamers have built online communities to counter the stereotype that only boys play video games. They post their thoughts, do game reviews and highlight games which are sexist. They are sending a clear signal to companies that produce games like Grand Theft Auto which includes rape of sex workers as part of its gaming strategy that this is completely unacceptable.  And the video game industry is shifting its approach in game development to become more gender aware and inclusive.

It's critical that we are able to use the interneti to share information and opinions and document and tell our own stories including the stories of violence and discrimination that many women and girls face every day. 

All too frequently websites that distribute information and call for support on women's rightsi are closed down.

The One Million Signature Campaign has been calling for the end of discrimination against women in Iran since 2007. Try accessing its multiple websites. They are consistently blocked. 

Last year the Pink Chaddi campaign was launched as a peaceful protest against violent attacks of women who were accused to violating Indian “culture” for frequenting pubs. The campaign's online face was a vastly popular Facebook group which was consequently broken into and defaced. When the group owner complained to Facebook, Facebook disabled her account - instead of helping her retake control.  The group now avoids Facebook.

This year, Take Back The Tech! calls for action to defend our right  freedom of expression and information – the basic building blocks for us to be able to come together, organise for change, inform public debate, define culture, build safe spaces and end violence against women-- Take action! Take Back The Tech!

How can you Take Back The Tech!?

  • Document abuse, contest discriminatory attitudes, share knowledge
    The first step to ending violence against women is recognition.
    • Use your mobile phone, camera, social networking spaces.. to document the reality of violence that women where you are.
    • Experiment with technology you've never used before and use it in your activism
    • Be as creative and as tactical as you can in your action
    • Make a podcast
    • Create a video or make a digital story
    • Write a blog post
    • Send an SMS
    • Map cases of violence against women in your neighbourhood
    • Report hacked feminist sites
    • Form a technical response group
    • Petition against censorship of women's rights web pages
    • Email your political representative
    • Tweet your political representative
    • Start an online community that talks about violence against women
    • Respond to sexist comments
    • Start your own Take Back the Tech! campaign!
      You can download the Take Back The Tech! campaign kit from our website to help you get started.
  • Share your Take Back The Tech! campaign
    Build the women's rights movement and share your campaign.
    • Create an account on the Take Back The Tech! website and write about your campaign - where is it, who's part of it, what did you do, where to get more information, what's the web address etc.
    • Upload your pictures, audio or video clips, designs, posters or other multimedia content for other campaigners to share.
    • Put a Take Back The Tech! icon on your campaign site and spaces.
    • If you're on Twitter, use the campaign hashtag #takebackthetech - pass on info and start a conversation.
    • Join our mailing list, or join us on Facebook and share your campaign!
  • Join the global campaign
    From 25 Nov to 10 Dec, Take Back The Tech! invites you to take one action per day to end violence against women.
    • Do a daily action. The actions are simple, small and concrete steps that you can take to help defend our right to freedom of expression and information – and you might learn some new technical trick to use in your work in future! Get together with friends or do them on your own.
    • Blog with us! Join the Take Back The Tech! community of bloggers and post your thoughts on violence against women during the campaign period. Visit the campaign website to find out how.
    • Suggest an action. Help shape the campaign by sharing your experience & ideas. If you have thoughts, email us or log on to the site, and make it part of the campaign.

Check the website daily from November 25 to December 10 and take action.
Get creative! Explore technology! Defend our right to freedom of expression & information!
And Take Back the Tech!

 

 

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