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FINISHED TRANSCRIPT

 

NINTH ANNUAL MEETING OF THE

INTERNET GOVERNANCE FORUM 2014

ISTANBUL, TURKEY

"CONNECTING CONTINENTS FOR ENHANCED

MULTISTAKEHOLDER INTERNET GOVERNANCE"

 

04 SEPTEMBER 2014

12:00

CROWDSOURCED SOLUTIONS TO BRIDGE THE GENDER DIGITAL DIVIDE

FLASH SESSION

 

 

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     This is the output of the realtime captioning taken during the IGF 2014 stable, Turkey, meetings.  Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to unable passages or transcription errors.  It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the session, but should not be treated as an authoritative record. 

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     >> LEANA MAYZLINA:  Good morning, or good afternoon, almost lunchtime.  Thank you for coming to this session.  This will be a flash session in the truest sense of the word.  We want to, after days of very long presentations, make it short, sweet, concise and leave a bit of time for discussion at the end. 

     My name is Leana Mayzlina, the Digital Actions Campaigns Manager for an organisation called World Pulse.  I'll tell you more about the organisation later on in the presentation. 

     I'm joined by Iffat Rose Gill, the founder of an initiative called ChunriChoupaal in Pakistan, which she will tell you more about. 

     And we are joined remotely by Tiffany Coulson. 

     We will be releasing the preliminary results of a crowdsourced campaign focused on bridging the Gender Digital Divide and talking about what digital inclusion and empowerment means for women, as well as how digital inclusion can become more of a reality for women around the world. 

     So before I go further, I want to tell you a bit about World Pulse.  World Pulse is a powerful online community of women around the world who are speaking out about some of today's biggest problems.  It's a community where women connect to exchange resources, to find other community leaders and activists around the world who are working on similar topics.  It's a place for them to speak out about community issues that they are seeing as well as local solutions that they are developing to these problems.

     And it's a place for them to share best practices, connect, exchange information, launch campaigns, and really empower themselves to pursue the paths that they outlined for themselves. 

     Earlier this year, in January of 2014, World Pulse launched the Imwave, the web campaign around digital inclusion and empowerment.  The process behind the campaign has various steps that we wanted to explain before we get to the results.  The first step of the campaign is the crowdsourcing of testimonies, recommendations, solutions from around the world.  This campaign was done in three phases, first around digital access, the second literacy, and the third, digital empowerment.  And throughout the three campaign phases women from around the world spoke out on what they saw as the barriers and solutions in their communities to address those issues.  We received nearly 600 submissions from 71 countries.  So we had a pretty good representation of opinions and thoughts of digital inclusion around the world.

     Once we received those testimonies, and I should mention that the campaign only ended about two weeks ago, which is why what we have now are very preliminary recommendations, our job was to aggregate and analyze all those submissions so that we have concrete data.  And Tiffany, our remote panelist, will tell you more about the methodology and the analysis of those submissions and how they became data.  Once we have that data, we distill it into very concrete recommendations.  We want to make sure that the voices of all of these women speaking out on these issues are heard, not just within the World Pulse community but we want them to make an impact in lots of other places.  So we try to be representative of what each one of them is saying and create recommendations that encompass what the majority of the opinions and the testimonies and the submissions are saying.

     And last but not least, once we have the recommendations, we deliver the findings to some of the partners that we work with that range from advocacy organisations to forums like this one, to WSIS, to many others, tech companies, International organisations, anyone that is somehow involved in decision-making and it could possibly use these recommendations as a toolkit to move forward the digital inclusion agenda for women. 

     So these are some of the key partners that have worked with us on this campaign.  I see some of them in the room, which is fantastic.  These partners have supported the campaign in many different ways.  But as I was mentioning, one of the most important ways for us was that they helped to amplify these voices.  Once we gathered all of the information and all of these voices, they help us to make sure that these voices are heard where they really matter and where they can make an impact on a global level.

     So now that you have a bit of information about the campaign and how that works, I'm going to pass it over to Tiffany Coulson, who was our wonderful analyst of all of the submissions, and she will tell you a bit more about her participation and her method for analyzing all the submissions.

     Tiffany, can you please start over?  We -- I think we didn't hear the first part of what you are saying. 

   >> TIFFANY COULSON:  My name is Tiffany Coulson and I'm a graduate student at the University of Washington in the information school.  I volunteered with World Pulse as a data analyst last Fall, hoping to learn more about issues of digital inclusion for women worldwide through the Women Lead the Web digital action campaign. In order to understand the way women communicate in the World Pulse network, I joined the community and posted my own journal entry about living in rural America without a broadband connection.  That experience greatly influenced my methodology for evaluating journal entries that I would receive weekly for the next seven months.        

     My methodology is really built on the idea that the women who submit entries are not research subjects, but are sharing knowledge within an online network.  The information they share benefits themselves first, benefits others within the network through the discussion, and finally works toward the goals of the organisation in magnifying the voices of women. 

     As an analyst I evaluated the submissions as an important part of the knowledge base being collected.  In order to validate the results of the analysis, I relied on transparency in my methods, iterative analysis, and frequent use of the original text. 

     I read each entry and coded the content for predetermined things.  This allowed me to view the entries across cultures, in a manner similar to the way the online discussions within the network are conducted.  While I started coding for only six themes related to barriers to digital access, by the end of the campaign I attached codes for 60 themes and sub-themes for all three phases of the campaign as well as specific partner themes.  Each entry was read many times as I looked for different content.  Then I employed a visual analysis software to analyze the code.  I wrote action statements from what I learned for each phase of the campaign.  Now, action statements might be based on the frequency of the suggested solution, or on the relevance and scope of a single solution.

     Regardless of how they were determined, each action statement remains grounded in the data as it was accompanied by a representative journal submission, complete with the woman's name and a link to her original entry. 

     Among the challenges of managing such a large data set were translating entries in five languages so all entries would be included with any text filter.  Also, in addition to predetermined themes, additional emergent themes were noted, which needed to be brought forward and highlighted.  For example, one of these was the issue of LGBTQ advocacy in various countries, and also there were issues around environmental aspects related to Internet use.  My experience analyzing data for World Pulse has been remarkable in changing my view of the challenges women face worldwide.  Being immersed in a solutions-oriented data set highlighted for me the power women have to change the world in both their own communities and across the globe. 

     Thank you. 

     >> LEANA MAYZLINA:  Thank you, Tiffany, for telling us a bit about the methodology you used to analyze all of the data.  I'm now going to pass it over to Iffat Rose Gill, who will talk a bit about her participation in the campaign and her personal journey of digital empowerment. 

     >> IFFAT ROSE GILL:  Good afternoon, everyone.  My name is Iffat Rose Gill.  I'm the World Pulse Ambassador from Pakistan.  And my story is more personal, so please don't worry if you don't find it very much like the other sessions. 

     I moved to Pakistan from Europe when I was 18, which was a bit of a shock to the system.  But after overcoming that initial shock, the thing that kept me very much in connection with the rest of the world and a lot of International communities was of course the Internet.  I fortunately had access to a computer and an Internet connection.  I was considered to be one of the lucky ones coming from a rural and suburban background. 

     And this empowerment, the digital empowerment or my access to the technology, enabled me to do some work both in the community to help other women who had no access to technology or even education a lot of times, but very soon this access and empowerment that I had -- which of course allowed me to speak at different forums about the problems of my community and the women in my community -- very soon it was seen as a threat by a lot of family members and a lot of other people in the community, because they did not like it that women or a young woman was becoming empowered like this, and they were not. 

     So it did not go down too well.  We all know how it feels like to have the Internet blocked or to be under surveillance.  So I faced that on a personal level.  At some point I was told that I was not allowed to use the technology.  I'm not allowed to be on the Internet, because if I become too empowered, then I might not conform to the social and cultural norms. 

     But luckily for me, that period of surveillance and Internet block was brief, and I could go back to my work.  But it took a lot of negotiations.  And I would like to tell you about one of the most powerful trainings that I came across through the Internet.  It was World Pulse's digital empowerment and citizen journalism training.  Now, this training allowed me to share a lot of the stories from the community of the problems of women, what they were going through, how they were not covered, their stories were not covered by the local media.  As I started covering those stories through this training programme, more and more women approached me and said we would like to do the same.  We would like to be part of the training as well.  Unfortunately for us at that point, we did not have the resources to train too many women.  But because of the empowerment I got from this training, I decided to start a similar initiative in my community for the rural and suburban women of Pakistan.

We decided to start a citizen journalism and digital empowerment training.  But the problem was we had no equipment.  Access to both the physical infrastructure and the resources or resource persons was a bit of an issue for us. 

     So we decided that we would create a possibility for these women to come and train in a centre, which was only for women, because it is really unheard of to go to the -- to male frequented cyber cafes that exist in the community.  A, there are security and personal safety risks for women.  A, B, which I think is a more stronger reason for them not having access, is the social and cultural norms.  They are not allowed to go to these places, even if there is a slight possibility for them to have such an opportunity. 

     So we decided to come up with the centre.  And it was really welcomed by the local women and the local -- well, the local community initially was not too happy with it.  But the women were very happy that they had finally the opportunity to have access to such trainings that would help them excel, especially in their professional lives.  Because if they don't have such an opportunity, they of course end up being at home and eventually getting married at a young age.  And any chance of having any sort of career is gone after that, most of the times, in my culture. 

     So through this training programme that we introduced, we started with 25 women.  It allowed them to have access to some kind of skills that allowed them to, for example, write a CV and apply for a job, for example.  Because a lot of the organisations, the local organisations, it was possible to -- if it was possible sometimes to get a job, they would not have the knowhow to use any -- be it the smartphone or computer, which is really required now everywhere in organisations.  So this training, it really helped them to have access to such opportunity, to finally learn these skills and mostly get connected with other women who were in a very similar situation.  And I think we need more of such programmes. 

     I would also like to mention the Women Weave and Web campaign that was just closed now.  This campaign helped a lot to hear more from women about what other problems they are facing.  Because there is one aspect that we solved or tried to solve through our community technology Centre for women, but there are so many other issues, like infrastructure which is beyond our control and we cannot do anything about that.  But the physical infrastructure, if we do not have access to Internet itself, or connectivity, then said centres are also not going to do much because there is no Internet. 

     So I would like to conclude with this statement, that I think we really need to empower local women leaders who are doing efforts on an individual level in their communities.  And we should help them to empower other women so they can also raise their voices against whatever atrocities are committed in their communities in the name of culture or tradition or religion. 

     Thank you.

     (Applause)

     >> LEANA MAYZLINA:  Thank you, Iffat, for sharing your story. 

     Up next we're going to actually dive into these preliminary recommendations.  As I mentioned, the final recommendations will be coming out at the end of this year.  If you are interested, you are welcome to come up later and grab one of these brochures.  There is a QR code where you can sign up to receive the final recommendations package once it's ready at the end of this year. 

     And the last thing I would like to mention before we jump in is that World Pulse strongly believes that every woman speaks for herself.  So in sharing these key recommendations as well as quotes and stories around the recommendation, they will not be read by me, but rather each woman will be saying them herself.  So even though you only see two panelists here, there are many more women behind the two of us who will be sharing their recommendations. 

      

     (Captioned video)

          

     >> LEANA MAYZLINA:  Those are the top five preliminary recommendations from the campaign.  If you are interested in receiving the rest, again you can scan the QR code. 

     We are pretty much on time.  We did start a bit late.  So if people can stay to discuss for a few minutes, that would be great.  If not, you can come grab me anywhere in the halls.  For those of you who can stay, I did want to open it up for a bit.  Instead of this having a Q and A session, I would love for us to discuss and brainstorm about how recommendations such as these could be incorporated into the Internet Governance framework.  How can they be operationalized and made actionable in International processes that are going on and decisions being made around the Internet, where grass-roots women leaders' voices are not usually heard. 

     >> AUDIENCE:  Thank you for your presentation and what a fascinating project.  And I also have a lot of praise for your methodology, which you know of course really incorporates voices and bridges -- or includes sort of a digital ethnography, which is a valuable tool that often isn't incorporated, you know, in surveys and that kind of data collection don't capture the real intricacies of women's lives.  So that's really great to see. 

     And I'm from the Web Foundation.  And we have a current project on -- which is a research and policy advocacy initiative on incorporating women's rights and ICT policy.  So your research and your finings are really valuable and definitely, you know, I plan to investigate ways to include it in our outreach.  And so I guess as a sort of suggestion would be as we engage in these sorts of policy discussions to really find ways to innovatively use our research to provide evidence based sort of, you know, actionable points to be able to discuss and sort of, you know, back up and justify with data why it's so important to include women's voices and women's rights issues and policies.

   >> TIFFANY COULSON:  Thank you so much for that. I definitely want to talk to you later. 

     Sonia?

     >> AUDIENCE:  I'm Sonia John, the executive director of the Alliance for Affordable Internet.  We are very proud partners of World Pulse and the campaign.  And I just wanted to say that, first of all, this was really great to see the initial and preliminary results of the campaign that we have also been using and promoting in our advocacy.  But most of all, I just wanted to say that it is the work that you're doing and work like that and especially work to really bring an affordable Internet to women that really inspires all the work that we do.  And often it doesn't appear that gender issues or gender concerns may be a part of it, but they actually are at the core, at the center of all the work that we do.  And so your experience and your sharing your stories are part of what inspires us to do what we do. So thank you for doing that.

  >> LEANA MAYZLINA:  I'm glad you brought up the issue of affordability.  I would also like to mention that the final package agenda is around digital inclusion, but because we work with partners like A4AI and others, there will also be discussions about affordability, violence against women online, digital rights, libraries and public access, privacy and surveillance and economic empowerment.  So if those are of particular interest, there will also be specific recommendations around that.

     >> AUDIENCE:  Thank you for this report and this session.  I find it really challenging.  I'm working for APC on the women's rights programme.  And one of our projects has to do with women and the use of ICTs.  So it was interesting that it came up as one of the main concerns.  So I think there is a lot to do and that we can do together.  And I find that it's time to start having real policies on these, to see how we can use ICTs to prevent also and to find solutions, but also to work with the survivors of this type of violence that is unfortunately just growing. 

     So we have a lot to do.  Thanks for the report. 

     >> LEANA MAYZLINA:  Thank you. Anyone else?  Or is everyone ready for lunch?

     >> AUDIENCE:  Thank you for your presentation.  And I see that this issue is related to the awareness in my country Egypt, particularly the number of women can't read or write.  That's a very big challenge for them.  Also, they are very poor.  So they haven't any, any access to Internet.  So also they are afraid of violence online.  They are afraid of their safety.  So we must go on a big campaign to raise awareness of women.  I suggest to go on a big campaign, very large campaign, to raise awareness of how to use the Internet in safety and how can they use Internet to empowerment their self. In Egypt we have to go. 

     Thank you. 

     >> LEANA MAYZLINA:  Thank you.  I'm glad you brought up other important issues in addition to affordability.  Safety will be one of the recommendations around safety.  And also literacy.  Thank you. 

     I believe there is one more.

     >> AUDIENCE:  I'm Gali.  I come from Indonesia.  I work with women and career rights, especially on the Internet rights. 

     About Pakistan, I hear a lot about they are struggling from a lack of books.  So I just want to know how when you work in the field, how you negotiate with the -- with some of the society who didn't agree with women empowerment, especially because even for going to school is very struggling, and then you empower them with the Internet and connect with not only with women in your country but also the women in the world, how you negotiate with them.  And then how you bring them also to defend their rights by themselves.  It's wonderful work. 

     Thank you. 

     >> IFFAT ROSE GILL:  I think part of the answer is what you mentioned, the name.  Part of it is girls and young women like Malalla.  We definitely need more role models in the community, and that is what we used to negotiate with them.  We show them the role models and we show them and speak to them about their achievements and how they are moving ahead in life and how they are making an impact in their life.  And that, in turn, makes an impact within their families and ultimately their communities.  So I think that part of the answer lies in we need to empower more women and we need to really have more role models and use those role models to move forward. 

     >> LEANA MAYZLINA:  I think we will wrap it up.  Thank you for all of you for staying a little bit later.  Feel free to come talk to either one of us after the session if you have any more questions or ideas. 

     Thank you.

     (Applause)

     (End of session, 12:37)

        

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     This is the output of the realtime captioning taken during the IGF 2014 Istanbul, Turkey, meetings.  Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.  It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the session, but should not be treated as an authoritative record. 

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