Gender and Internet Governance Exchange (gigX):
If the question is ‘who governs the internet?’ you can’t name any specific person, company, organisation or government. A multistakeholder network is involved in the process, which includes governments, civil society, academics, researchers, private sector, national and international organisations. This network develops and makes decisions regarding the rules, principles, norms and programmes that shape the use of the internet. For years women, girls and sections of civil society have been marginalised in these decision making processes. The Gender and Internet Governance eXchange (gigX) is a platform which enables equal and meaningful participation of women and girls in the decision making. These exchanges create scope for women’s rights, internet rights activists from different parts of the world to discuss the relationship between gender, women’s rights and internet governance. As the coordinator of Take Back the Tech! Bangladesh chapter (supported by Bytes for All Bangladesh and Bangladesh Open Source Network), I had the privilege to participate in the Gender and Internet Governance Exchange (gigX) in June 2015 in Macau, China.
This year’s gigX took place at the Macau Productivity and Technology Transfer Center (CPTTM). Here I met with people who are working as women’s rights and internet rights activists from different parts of the world. It was a great space for all of us to discuss and understand the concepts related to internet governance such as internet rights and human rights, privacy and security, technology-based violence against women, freedom of expression, Feminist Principles of the Internet etc.
The gigX provided a space for me to understand the parts of the Feminist Principles of the Internet: access, economy, expression, consent- autonomy- agency, movement and public participation. As the representative of Take Back the Tech! Bangladesh I took the opportunity to give a presentation on the topic- ‘Consent, autonomy and agency: Online violence’ from a Bangladeshi perspective. Case studies of online violence in Bangladesh, government initiatives, campaigns of Take Back the Tech! Bangladesh have been discussed in the presentation.
My presentation on the topic – ‘Consent, Autonomy and Agency: online violence’
The gigX introduced some interesting group activities to us like the ‘Gender Ladder’. We also did a country wise group activity on the topic ‘Gender & internet access: regional perspectives’. Here I presented the factors and issues regarding gender and internet access from a Bangladeshi perspective which elicited some important points. As online violence is one of the factors that affect access to the internet for women, more research and statistics regarding this is needed.
Asia Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum (APrIGF):
(APrIGF) is a platform that advances internet governance development in the Asia Pacific region. It was an honor to take part in the APrIGF 2015 where the representatives of the biggest names of the internet era including Google, Microsoft, ICANN participated. The emerging issues and priorities related to internet governance in the Asia Pacific region have been discussed here. Participating in the gigX, the pre-event to APrIGF, enabled me to understand the topics discussed by the experts in APrIGF.
Honorable Information Minister of Bangladesh, Mr Hasanul Haq Inu, also attended the APrIGF and delivered his speech at the opening ceremony and in the workshop regarding localising internet governance. APrIGF gave me the opportunity to meet our honorable Information Minister and have a conversation about the activities of Take Back the Tech! Bangladesh.
Overall the experience of the gigX and APrIGF was a lifelong learning for me. I feel proud of having the opportunity to participate as a representative from Bangladesh.
Knowledge is power. Proper knowledge with action steps regarding gender and internet governance can contribute to women’s social, economic and cultural empowerment in a country. I feel honored to have participated in the gigX and APrIGF which gave me power in forms of knowledge!