GISWatch 2013: Setting the agenda on women’s rights, gender and ICTs

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In the 2013 Global Information Society Watch’s institutional overview entitled Whose internet is it anyway? Shaping the internet – feminist voices in governance decision making, Heike Jensen calls the attention to the hegemonic framing of issues and agendas in the internet governance field. “Any mainstream political agenda of issues already represents the outcome of power struggles among groups of privileged men, and the outcome of the subsequent policy debate largely reflects which groups of men have achieved dominance, or in gendered terms, which groups of men now represent hegemonic masculinity.”



These processes of agenda setting and framing successfully serve to alienate many women, and keep them from entering the political process, and prevent them from immediately seeing how those issues connect to their own lived realities or the political issues they find most critical. Women’s ability to set the agenda is key to internet governance, and it relates to a power relation which we constantly work to subvert with GenderIT.org. It is also a key outcome of this year’s GISWatch, the focus of this GenderIT.org edition: setting women’s agenda and exploring and showcasing how ICT issues “connect to lived realities [of diverse group of women] or the political issues they find most critical.”

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Korea: Women’s privacy in danger through surveillance and leaking of private information

“Digitising social welfare: Challenges of privacy” GISWatch report from Korea points out instances where women in the country have leveraged even non-political internet forums to discuss socio-political issues and to organise offline on crucial issues. However, it also highlights several government policies that expose women to privacy violations and related abuse. In particular, it points out the various dangers involved in the government’s collection of personal information from survivors of domestic violence, sexual abuse, forced prostitution, etc. The report also highlights the privacy violation of women workers in care professions due to high surveillance. Shehla Rashid Shora speaks to the author Yeo-Kyung Chang, who works with Jinbonet, about the state of women’s internet usage in South Korea.
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Jamaican household workers use cell phones to protect their rights and improve the working conditions

Leith Dunn and Hopeton Dunn from the Institute for Gender and Development Studies Mona Unit, and Mona ICT Policy Centre, at the University of the West Indies, are the authors of the Global Information Society Watch article entitled “Women’s rights, gender and ICTs: Empowering household workers in Jamaica”. In this interview they told GenderIT.org why they chose this subject, how the sector of household workers is using mobile phones to improve their working conditions, and the role ICT policies and legislation have played to enable this advancement.
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Cook Islands: Pushing for women leaders

The Global Information Society Watch Cook Islands report was released, written by Maureen Hilyard, Alexis Wolfgramm and Lynnsay Rongokea from the Pan Pacific and Southeast Asia Women’s Association. Analía Lavin interviewed Maureen Hilyard, one of the authors, on the main issues women face online, on gender equality in the political system, and on the role of the media.
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Democratizing access and use of ICTs for domestic workers in Uruguay

The Global Information Society Watch 2013 report, written by Goñi and Ana María Laura of ICTWatch (ObservaTIC), of the University of the Republic of Uruguay, is entitled "ICTs as a means for empowerment and influence: A democratising proposal for female domestic workers in Uruguay". GenderIT.org interviewed Goñi to understand how inequality in access to and ownership of ICTs affects this sector of workers, and ways they could use them to claim their rights.
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Bosnia and Herzegovina: Women are vulnerable online, but also speaking up on the internet

During the last Internet Governance Forum, which took place in October in Bali, Indonesia, Analía Lavin from APCNews talked to Aida Mahmutović, from APC member Owpsee in Bosnia and Herzegovina. OWPSEE is one of the national partners of APC’s project “End violence: women’s rights and safety online”.
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Women and cyber crime in Kenya

Kenya has been one of the first African countries to adopt and innovate ICTs. With this have come both benefits, but also a rise in cybercrime and technology-based violence. A recent study by the Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANET) on women and cyber crime in Kenya explores this violence. To unpack the findings of this study, Naomi Kamau spoke to the team behind the study: Alice Munyua, an associate at KICTANET, vice chair of the government advisory committee (GAC) and chair of the global IGF, she is also a representative of the African Union Commission at ICAAN; Victor Kapiyo, an advocate of the High Court currently working as a programme officer in the human rights protection programme at the International Commission of Jurists Kenya (ICJ Kenya); and Grace Githaiga, an associate at KICTANET, affiliated to the Media, Empowerment and Democracy in East Africa (MEDIEA) Research Programme.