Internet Governance Forum 2015: Learnings from the gender report cards

1 December 2016

By Gender Dynamic Coalition and APC

The Tenth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) was held in João Pessoa, Brazil, from 10 to 13 November 2015. There were 2,137 participants from 112 countries present.1Nearly half (49%) of the participants were from Brazil, the host country, and 26% were from Western Europe “and Others” In addition, 50 remote hubs around the world facilitated active participation by a further 2,000 people. Of the onsite participants, 38% were female.

Report cards were completed for a total of 107 workshops – more than double the 51 regional workshops reported on in 2015. A summary of the discussion (or comment) was included for 33 workshops.

The number of participants was recorded for 88 of the sessions/workshops. The number recorded per workshop ranged from 10 to 150. Both the mean and the median were 60.

An estimation of the extent of women’s participation was provided for 87 of the workshops. In more than two-thirds (59), women were reported to account for about half of the participants, with a further five workshops having women clearly in the majority. In 22 workshops (quarter of those reporting) somewhat less than half of participants were women, while one workshop had no women. This is better than for the regional workshops where half of the workshops were reported to have women accounting for less than half of participants.

The workshop with no women participants was Working Spaces for Internet Governance, Enhancing multistakeholder cooperation.

The workshops with clear majorities of women were:

Multistakeholder practices: Enhancing multistakeholder cooperation

National Cybersecurity Strategies: Cybersecurity and trust

Consent in the Digital Age: Internet and human rights

Multistakeholder IG: Enhancing multistakeholder cooperation

Information Control in the Global South: Internet and human rights

More than half (61 of the 105 who provided this information) of the workshops had a single male moderator, compared to only 33 that had a single female moderator. A further five workshop had two male moderators while only two had two female moderators. Four workshops had both male and female moderators, with one of these having two of each. Overall, there were 75 male and 41 female moderators.

There were 274 female as compared to 476 male panellists in the workshops. Expressed differently, 37% of panellists were women. Only 11 of the workshops had an equal number of male and female panellists, while 80 had more male than female panellists, and 14 had more female than male. The workshops with more female than male panellists were:

Multistakeholder solutions for youth-produced sexual content: Cybersecurity and trust

Mobile for persons with disabilities: Inclusiveness and diversity
LGBT rights in Internet: Inclusiveness and diversity

Destabilization of Internet Governance: Emerging issues

Effective Cybersecurity: Cybersecurity and trust

Internet and human rights

Consent in the Digital Age: Internet and human rights

Hate Speech and FOE online: Internet and human rights

Political Dissent and Online Anonymity: Internet and human rights

The Right to Protest Online: Internet and human rights

Managing Security Risks: Cybersecurity and trust

Tech-related VAW and FOE: Internet and human rights

Women's role in IG: Inclusiveness and diversity

Information Control in the Global South: Internet and human rights

The writer of the summary of the discussion for the workshop on Core principles in the digital age: Internet and human rights, wrote as follows:

“Gender equality was not mentioned as a separate topic, however, with a good gender balance and more female than male speakers/active participants overall, women's empowerment and equality were implicitly acknowledged.”

The perceived relevance of gender equality was recorded for 79 of the workshops. Only two workshops had gender perceived to be the main theme, while in a further 13 workshops gender was perceived to be important. Gender was mentioned in 20 workshops, but was not seen as important in a much larger number – 44 in total.

Both workshops in which gender was perceived to be the main theme had a summary of the discussion. In the session on Hate Speech and FOE online: Internet and human rights, the summary read:

“The discussion on hate speech is closely connected with the misogynist attacks and systematic gender violence that women suffer with increasing frequency and impact on the Internet.”

In the session on Addressing funding challenges for innovation: Internet economy”, the summary was:

“The session addressed women’s equality and empowerment by providing examples about how innovation on Internet technologies and use can be tools to support both.” It is possible that the ratings might sometimes refer to the rater’s own perception of the relevance for gender, rather than that of workshop participants as a whole.

The session on Engaging Youth in Multistakeholderism: Enhancing multistakeholder cooperation was noted as one in which gender was mentioned. The summary of the discussion noted: “Youth participation in general is supporting participation of youth of different gender.”

Gender Dynamic Coalition
Collaboration: APC
March 2016

1. http://www.intgovforum.org/cms/2015-igf-joao-pessoa/igf-2015-attendance-..., accessed 21 March 2016.

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