IGF 2018 WS #136 Overview of Gender Inclusion at National and Regional IGFs

Subtheme(s): 

Organizer 1: Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Organizer 2: Civil Society, African Group
Organizer 3: Civil Society, Eastern European Group

Speaker 1: Jianne Soriano, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 2: Githaiga Grace, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 3: Babu Ram Aryal, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 4: Tracy Hackshaw, Technical Community, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 5: Lianna Galstyan, Civil Society, Eastern European Group

Even today, in many parts of the world, women the disabled, and LGBTQI communities face gender disparities, discrimination, and inequalities, which have severely impacted the inclusion and participation of these communities in mainstream technical and Internet Governance (IG) discussions. As a result, their concerns, experiences, as well as expertise are not well (if at all) represented when decisions are made.

While the National and Regional Initiatives (NRIs) of Internet Governance Forums (IGFs) are working to build capacity in their respective countries or regions, and encourage diversity, it is important that there is greater gender representation in the different IGF initiatives and vertical integration of gender in IGFs. This does not mean having ‘at least one woman on a panel’. The inclusiveness and openness to having women, persons with disabilities and LGBTQI representatives should be there throughout the whole process of organising IGFs and sessions shaping. A more inclusive environment, a stronger focus on those excluded and on actions to dismantle these barriers is urgently needed to ensure equal opportunities and voices for all.

Empowering women and other disadvantaged groups to participate, by providing the same space and enabling and rendering an equal voice in decision-making processes, require a more refined analysis of key data to inform actions such as assessing their participation and autonomy, focusing on the quality of development rather than quantity is the need of the hour for creating a truly multi stakeholder environment.

The objective of the session would be to take stock of the NRIs to make their processes more gender inclusive; identify the common practices adopted by the national IGFs; highlight the best practices adopted and areas of improvement.

Prior to the workshop, we shall conduct a study on if and how the gender participation has changed at the IGF over the years, and especially within developed nations.

Further, we will conduct a survey, to understand the state of gender inclusion in the NRIs. Representatives from the NRIs would be asked to share their perspectives on:
- The initiatives they took in order to make their processes, gender inclusive in terms of participation; organizational level and decision making process.
- Whether their current processes are open and receptive to discussing issues related to gender and other disadvantaged groups including disabled and LGBTQI.
- Whether the IGFs have a focus on existing gender-related issues of their countries or region.
- Good practice(s) adopted to encourage gender inclusive participation.
- The challenges they are facing.
Suggestions to improve the gender participation and representation in NRIs and global IGF.

The results of both the survey and the study would be presented during the session. We would look into discussing the results and the joint suggestions and planning on the ways to move towards having open and truly inclusive and balanced national, regional, and global IGFs.

Format: 

Round Table - 90 Min

Interventions: 

We would encourage interventions from representatives of National and Regional IGFs including youth IGFs to raise additional challenges which the NRIs are facing towards gender inclusion in their respective countries and regions and also discuss good practices and strategies for greater gender participation at the IGFs. Both on-site and remote participation would be encouraged.

Additionally, there would be time for audience comments.

Diversity: 

To ensure the discussions are not tilted towards a particular economy or region, we will attempt to ensure the participation of speakers representing different regional and National IGFs from across the globe. We would also invite youth IGF representatives into the discussion. Besides, community members from nations not having a national IGF would also be encouraged to attend in the discussion.

The Moderator will be inviting comments and raising additional challenges representatives of NRIs and other participants face in their respective countries and regions. We will strongly focus into including online participants equally in the discussion.

At the end of the session, we are looking into providing session’s messages and conclusions greater gender participation at the IGFs.
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It will be an interactive round table where after sharing the results of both the survey and the study of the IGF and NRI gender inclusion, we would look into discussing the results and the joint suggestions and planning on the ways to move towards having open and truly inclusive and balanced national, regional, and global IGFs.

We will encourage participation of speakers representing different regional and National IGFs from across the globe both in person and remotely. We would also attempt to invite youth IGF representatives into the discussion. Besides community members from nations not having a national IGF would also be encouraged to attend in the discussion.
The Moderator will be inviting comments and raising additional challenges representatives of NRIs and other participants face in their respective countries and regions. We will strongly focus into including online participants equally into the discussion.
At the end of the session, we are looking into providing session’s messages and conclusions greater gender participation at the IGFs.
Tentative Session Schedule:
• Introduction 5 mins
• Overview of the Gender participation at IGF over years -10 mins
• Overview on the state of Gender Inclusion in Regional and National IGFs -10 mins
• Open discussion with representatives of National and regional IGF on:
Challenges towards gender inclusion - 25 mins
Suggested improvements - 25 mins
• Audience Comments - 10 mins
• Wrap Up - 5 mins

Discussion Facilitation: 

Being a roundtable, it will be an interactive session where the NRI representatives would be encouraged to share their perspectives.

The tentative session flow is as follows:

• Introduction 5 mins
• Overview of the Gender participation at IGF over years 7 mins
• Overview on the state of Gender Inclusion in Regional and National IGFs 7 mins
• Open discussion with representatives of National and regional IGF on:
Challenges towards gender inclusion 25 mins
Suggested improvements 25 mins
• Audience Comments 16 mins
• Wrap Up 5 mins

Prior to the workshop the NRI’s would be contacted to share their perspectives on the state of gender inclusion at their NRIs, on:
- The initiatives they took in order to make their processes, gender inclusive in terms of participation; organizational level and decision making process.
- Whether their current processes are open and receptive to discussing issues related to gender and other disadvantaged groups including disabled and LGBTQI.
- Whether the IGFs have a focus on existing gender-related issues of their countries or region.
- Good practice(s) adopted to encourage gender inclusive participation.
- The challenges they are facing.
- Suggestions to improve the gender participation and representation in NRIs and global IGF.

The results of the survey would be compiled and shared prior to the session to enable discussion on the results and the joint suggestions and planning on the ways to move towards having open and truly inclusive and balanced national, regional, and global IGFs.

Online Participation: 

As many NRI representatives may not be able to attend IGF 2018 in person, we would encourage them to participate online through remote participation and share their views.
Sarah Kiden who would be our online moderator, has a prior experience in managing online participation.
Even during the audience comment time, specific time would be allotted for remote participants.