[COLUMN] Access and Beyond (5): How do we address the gender question?

In this last column by Chenai Chair following the gender implications of the research by Research ICT Africa on access, she explores how researchers and activists can proactively explore gender dimensions. Even as ITU figures point to a progressively increasing gender digital divide, there are steps to take to understand and address this divide.

Image Source: Research ICT Africa. Photograph by C Stork. Location: Mozambique surveys

An ongoing conversation on feminist autonomous infrastructure: Erika Smith and Kéfir

What began as a small fundraising drive in July 2017 or Kéfir, a feminist libre tech co-op, has transformed into exploring the importance of feminist infrastructure in Latin America. Tune into this ongoing conversation we will be nurturing here in the near future.

What do women’s rights have to do with the SDGs and the Internet?

The sustainable development goals explicitly mention gender equality, yet how will this be achieved and how is this linked to the potentially transformative role that ICTs could play. If the SDGs are going to use ICTs as a vehicle to achieve the goals then we need to use an intersectional and multi-pronged approach to ensure that women, girls and other marginalized groups are not left behind.

Short answer, everything

I recently attended the Sri Lankan Internet Governance Forum (IGF) where I spoke on a panel that discussed the linkages between the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Internet. My intervention was framed around two questions.

  1. Technology and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have been recognized as major drivers for achieving sustainable development and achieving targets across the SDGs. How are women and girls placed in this?

Resisting Aadhaar, Resisting Islamophobia: A critical look at debates and litigation around Aadhaar

As the Supreme Court of India determines the contours of the right to privacy and who in Indian territory has it, Mythri Prasad-Aleyamma critiques many of the assumptions around the opposition to Aadhar. This critique is grounded in the differences of how surveillance and privacy are known and experienced by those who are vulnerable for varied reasons, but especially those who are migrants or Muslim.

Queing up for Aadhar. Image source: By Biswarup Ganguly, 2012 from Wikimedia Commons. CC license Attribution.

[COLUMN] Access and beyond (4): Gendered barriers to internet use

Gendered barriers to internet access can range from social and cultural barriers imposed within family or by partners to extraneous factors relevant to all - such as affordability of data and devices. In this column Chenai Chair examines the specificity of how access is different for women and men.

Image source: author

Connecting the next billion, is rightly so, an important issue in ensuring everyone has the choice to access the internet. Women, and in particular those with low levels of income and education, are more likely to be the unconnected. However, gaining access is one thing, but what are the challenges that limit men and women’s experience of the internet and present a barrier to access? In this penultimate article reflecting on the finding from Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Rwanda, we look at the gendered barriers to internet access and use.

[COLUMN] How women in the Global South are RECLAIMING SOCIAL MEDIA to promote body positivity

In this column, Samukelisiwe explores how women in the global South have started using social media to make up for the lack of representation of black and brown women in mainstream media. Women of colour, people with disability, gender non conforming persons and others now use the internet to explore their image and their body, and form communities that celebrate different ways of being.

Image sources: Photograph(left) by Amanda Hirsch; Photograph(right) by Nicole Marie Edine. Licensed under CC Attribution

Framing access and power at Stockholm Internet Forum 2017

The Stockholm Internet Forum 2017 focused their discussions on the links between access and power. In this article Shaikh Rafia Sarwar examines how access is linked to women's empowerment and particularly their economic empowerment. And whether the debate around access should focus on economic, cultural and social empowerment of women through and outside technology, rather than ensuring access to devices and internet via civil society projects.

Photo taken by author at SIF 2017

Hundreds of activists, advocates, journalists, researchers, donors, and just about everyone else converged into the second-largest archipelago in the Baltic Sea – the city of Stockholm – to discuss powe“r and access online. 10PM sun aside, this year’s Stockholm Internet Forum (#SIF17) for easy tracking of the event on Twitter) was stronger than ever before and saw its participants and panelists talk about some real hard and somewhat depressing questions.

[COLUMN] Access and Beyond (3): Navigating mobile costs in communication

Africa is flooded with zero rating services such as Free Basics (Facebook’s zero rating scheme) and other subsidised data strategies. Do these schemes make internet more affordable and bring access to more people? In this column Chenai Chair examines whether ordinary people perceive such schemes as useful.

Photograph by Omaranabulsi under CC BY-SA 3.0 license


IGF Best practice forum on Gender and Access (2016): Overcoming barriers to enable women's meaningful internet access

This is the final output resource produced by a community of participants in IGF best practice forum (BPF) on gender and access in 2016. This is also the second resource produced by the IGF BPF on Gender, which in 2015 published an extensive resource on online abuse and gender-based violence. The BPF Gender’s outputs are considered living resources that will be updated and changed as additional input and comments are received.

[COLUMN] How women in the global south are RECLAIMING SOCIAL MEDIA to combat femicide

In this new column on reclaiming social media for addressing women's issues and feminist concerns, Samukelisiwe Mabaso begins by looking at the rising rates of femicide in South Africa (and other parts of the world). Various spontaneous movements led and powered by women have arisen and use technology and social media to amplify their voices and ensure their demands are met.

In May 2017, countless South African women took to Twitter and Facebook to share their harrowing experiences of abuse under the hashtag #MenAreTrash. The outpour of tweets and Facebook posts was sparked by the murder of Karabo Mokoena, a 22-year-old woman who was allegedly killed and burned by her boyfriend. Although the wording of #MenAreTrash has caused controversy, that will not be the focal point of this column.

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