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Gender Assessments and Research
The final meeting of the ‘Gender and Citizenship in the Information Society’(CITIGEN) research network was organized by IT for Change in Bangalore in February 2012. The CITIGEN research programme studies whether marginalised women benefit from new information and communication technologies and whether the internet and mobile phones strengthened their active citizenship. The final meeting of the CITIGEN programme was an occasion for the network members and partners to take stock of the work done and to reflect upon the questions framing the research endeavour.
The women's movement has always had the ability to make the invisible visible and grant it a political character. This toolkit encourages women and their organisations to engage in political discussions regarding internet development with a vision of inclusion, fairness and respect for women's rights. The authors' vision is that the toolkit be used to raise awareness and encourage participation in a new environment where women cannot and should not be absent.
How is the internet a key public sphere for the struggle for sexual citizenship and the exercise of sexual rights? What is its value to a diversity of users, especially those most marginalised or discriminated against because of their sexual, gender or other forms of social identity? Why do arguments for the regulation of the internet anchor on the moral imperative to regulate sexuality? Who are the key actors influencing processes of decision making, and what are the ways in which the potentially liberatory impact of the internet is being constricted and narrowed? The 3 year EROTICS research project delves into the complex world of sexuality and internet regulation, and uncovers interesting insights to these questions from Brazil, India, Lebanon, South Africa and the US. The full research findings and a synthesis chapter is presented in this report.
Access to mobile technology is increasing rapidly in Pakistan, and women are also gaining access, albeit at a slower rate than men. Kyla Pasha examines how mobile technology is ripe for use in strategies of empowerment, as long as access to technology is accompanied by training and orientation.
What is the value of the internet in the exercise of sexual rights? From 2008 to 2010, the EROTICS research sought to answer this question, aiming to bridge the gap between policy and legislative measures that regulate content and practice on the internet, and the actual lived practices, experiences and concerns of internet users in the exercise of their sexual rights. The summary report provides an overview of the research, and surfaces the key areas of concern, interest and findings of five national studies in Brazil, India, Lebanon, South Africa and the United States. They give a compelling glimpse into the richness of the research universe, and the complexity of the subject.
The report focuses on the lives of adolescents in two of the current scenarios of faster growth: the urban environment and the digital world. Both have new opportunities for girls and young women but also risks that have hardly been investigated and regulated. Prejudice and poverty exclude millions of girls from taking advantages of the transformative possibilities that cities and information and ICTs can offer. The 2010 'Because I am a Girl' brings lots of exciting examples from around the world that ICTs open up for girls in terms of learning, networking, campaigning and personal development, such as girls tweeting to amplify their voices in global discussions on women’s rights. The report has also interesting and context specific recommendations on how to enhance girls access to science and technology.
In Congo, Sylvie Niombo explores the intersection of VAW and ICTs, where mobile phone use appears to be the primary vehicle used to perpetrate VAW using ICTs. SMS and phone calls are used by some men to harass women and girls. Male monitoring of women’s use of mobile phones leads to blurring of privacy issues and power relations between men and women are reflected by who has the resources to buy cell phones. Mobile phones are also used by young people to disseminate pictures of naked girls.
This is a funky introductory video which explains the Bechdel Test or Mo Movie Test, three simple rules that make it horribly clear how absent women are on the big screen.
In the context of a country with one of the world's worst human rights records, women and girls are the victims of sexual violence perpetrated mostly by combatants from both sides. However, Sylvie Niombo finds in this paper that the intersections between violence against women and girls and ICTs in the DRC are not well established. The internet makes it possible to share experiences and receive information to advance the cause of women’s rights but can facilitate violence towards Congolese women and girls. A lack of confidence in the legal system and the strong presence of men in the judiciary make women unlikely to seek help from the courts, but there is growing mobilisation of women and human rights organisations in the fight to end violence against women (VAW) in partnership with the United Nations and international organisations.
Jessica Umanos Sotos explores why specific law is needed in the Philippines to prosecute perpetrators of violence against women through the use of ICTs or cyberspace. She argues that national ICT institutions and private companies’ policies cannot remain blind to the violations to women’s rights perpetuated via ICTs in the context of the violation of privacy rights through the illicit production and distribution of private and intimate activities. The violation of privacy rights comes in the form of sex-video scandals via telephony and internet. She also documents how, although there are no available studies on how other forms of violence such as stalking or sexual harassment and even direct threats are figuring as VAW via mobile phones, these violations are believed to be widespread