IGF 2018 WS #174 Creating Networks to Empower Women in Tech in Asia/Pacific

Organizer 1: Technical Community, Asia-Pacific Group
Organizer 2: Private Sector, Asia-Pacific Group

Women in technology in Asia and the Pacific, specifically in Central Asia and South Asia (CASA) are disconnected from resources, such as knowledge and finance, for the IGF Theme: Development, Innovation, and Economic Issues. While there are policy advocacies and pilot projects within countries on the subtheme: Internet for Development and Sustainable Development Goals for Women, there is a lack of a national or regional forum to share success stories and lessons learned for wider spread effect. Moreover, beyond sharing information, there is a need to form working partnerships among women-focused organizations, businesses, and donors who share common goals and values to push, encourage, and advise each other. A regional network of women will contribute to SG 5: Gender Equality and to SDG17 on global partnerships. In addition, through cross-sector fertilization and cross-border collaboration, there is potential to help address SDG1 on ending poverty, SDG3 on good health and well-being, and SDG4 on quality education and lifelong partnerships.

The proposed IGF panel/breakout combination builds on the initial conversations from IGF 2016 Workshop, titled TechWomen: Driving ICT, Innovation and Collaboration in CASA, and IGF2017 Workshop, titled Fast Tracking Digital Dividends for Women in CASA. The 2016 and 2017 workshops aimed at exploring collaborative programs that will focus on women and technology and its implications for an Inclusive and Sustainable Growth among women in Central Asia and South Asia (CASA). For discussion purposes, countries in the CASA regions include: Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Maldives. The following challenges were identified:

Ways to develop national networks of women in technology in Asia and the Pacific that are based on reciprocal collaboration with clear expectations from potential country members and starting with a mapping exercise to have an understanding of which organizations are led by women and implementing ICT research and interventions for women;
Capacity around technology and demonstrating leadership;
Capacity of women in Asia and the Pacific through ICTs and in the ICT sector and to collaboratively address the issue of low internet use among women particularly in South Asia and Central Asia;
Leadership capacity of women to lead local national networks;
Use of ICTs by women to promote the empowerment of women and contribute to SDG5:
Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

Based on these suggestions, TechWomen.af, with the guidance of TechNation developed a knowledge platform called TechWomen.Asia.

Format: 

Panel - 90 Min

Interventions: 

Country experts will report on the mapping of policy advocacies, projects, and resources with regards to IGF issues and to addressing women’s issues. Each presenter will be asked to prepare an infographics of their respective country mapping. The presenters will be asked to speak to a couple of priority challenges that the break-out groups could discuss and that could lead to recommendations for TechWomen.Asia to address at the regional level.

Country Report from Afghanistan -- Lima Madomi, TechWomen Afghanistan
Country Report from Tajikistan -- Zuhra Halimova
Country Report from Pakistan -- Sidra Jalil
Country Report from India -- Amrita Choudhury
Country Report from Turkey -- Sonia Herring

The participants will be asked to break-out into six small groups to build on the mapping exercise presented by the country experts. Based on the priorities suggested by the country experts, the breakout groups will identify gaps and opportunities for a regional network to undertake. Suggestions could include what content should be included in TechWomen.Asia, what collaborative initiatives could be done via the Internet, and what face to face meetings could be added on during regional and international for, such as the IGF?

Potential Resource Facilitators for Break-Out Session:
Osama Manzar, Digital Empowerment Foundation, India
Ankhi Das, Head, Facebook India
Lakshya Sivaramakrishnan, Program Coordinator, Developer Relations, Google India
Mahima Kaul, Head, Public Policy & Government, Twitter India (Invited)
Joe Gattuso, Commercial Law Development Program, United States Department of Commerce, USA
Ms. Michelle Morgan, Chief of Party, Promote/Women in Economy (Invited)

Diversity: 

The workshop bring a diverse group of stakeholders-- including gender, geographic, stakeholder groups, and geographic. 1 of the stakeholders from private sector, 2 from civil society, 1 from government and 1 technical community. Participants at the workshop represent 5 countries-- Afghanistan, India, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Turkey, making it the most diverse session.

The proposed IGF panel/break-out combination will discuss initial attempts at addressing the needs identified during IGF 2016 and IGF 2017 by a portal, TechWomen.Asia as a SMARTHUB hosted and managed by TechWomen.af, under the guidance of TechNation. Currently, the knowledge platform is only a shell or an empty framework and needs to go to the next level of building a common mental model and setting the stage for a roll-out. TechWomen.Asia needs an underpinning of a network of organizations and women in Asia and the Pacific who are involved in promoting the use of the Internet and who are willing to scale up their efforts or share their resources. Following an agile management model, the panel/break-out combination will envision, speculate, explore, adapt, and reach consensus on a way forward to make TechWomen.Asia functional. Key topics include: (a) mapping of existing policy advocacies, projects, and resources targeted for women by country; this mapping should include Internet Governance Issues, such as Telecommunications Infrastructure, Content and Applications, and Actors in IGF; and (b) an identification of gaps and opportunities that could be addressed at the national level vs the regional level; this identification should include links to international and regional networks, fora, and challenge competitions.

Format and Agenda:
A combination panel/ break-out (panel/break-out combo) will be used.

Context-setting and levelling of expectations by the moderator (Maria Beebe): Development, Innovation, and Economic Issues, Why Internet Internet for Development and Sustainable Development Goals for Women, Why TechWomen.Asia, Why IGF, Why the panel/break-out combo. (5 minutes)
Part 1: A panel of country experts will present a summary of the status of policy advocacies, projects, and resources with regards to IGF issues and to addressing women’s issues. Presenters will be asked to submit an infographics prior to the IGF event. See list of speakers below; these are women who represent the diversity of the Central Asia and South Asia region, who are engaged in some aspect of the Internet, and who signified intent to collaborate regionally. (10 minutes per speaker x 5 speakers=50 minutes)
Part 2: Break-out session to identify gaps and opportunities that could be addressed at the national versus the regional level, and in particular suggestions to TechWomen.Asia for moving forward. The participants will be divided into six groups. Facilitators who are knowledgeable about national and regional resources will be invited to participate. See suggested list below. (20 minutes)
Part 3: Report back with general recommendations and specific recommendations for TechWomen.Asia. (12 minutes, about 2 minutes per break-out group)
Next Steps and Wrap-up.

Discussion Facilitation: 

For the panel session, country presenters will be asked to prepare an infographics that will be shared with participants to help visualize the facts. For the breakout session, facilitators will be requested to share brochures about country and regional resources that can be shared with participants. Since most participants have access to mobile phones and laptops, TechWomen.Asia will prepare a webpage where comments, suggestions, and ideas for regional collaboration can be posted.

Online Participation: 

We will use the system provided by the IGF secretariat. However, based on experience at IGF 2016 in Mexico and 2017 in Geneva, the IGF system or the connection failed. Our back-up plan is to use zoom.us which also allows screen sharing. The online moderator will participate in the training to be provided by IGF and facilitate remote participation. Prior to the actual session at IGF, we will host online sessions and promote the workshop via social media so additional people can join in. We will ask the remote participants to add to the knowledge base. We will select a few venues in several of the countries where people can have access and connect with the session online in real time. At each of these venues, the participants will be provided with a moderator who can set the stage and facilitate the group’s remote participation, including their own break-out session or remote participation in one of the break-out groups. The remote participants will share the recommendations arising out of their break-out session for inclusion in the action planning discussion.

Contact Information

United Nations
Secretariat of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF)

Villa Le Bocage
Palais des Nations,
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland

igf [at] un [dot] org
+41 (0) 229 173 678