BPF Gender and Access (2016)


The BPF is collaborating with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the UN University on Computing and Society (UNU-CS) in its important endeavour to research and map projects and initiatives that aim to address different gender digital divides around the world.

By being a data partner of the ITU and UN Women’s EQUALS initiative, the IGF will contribute to this data-gathering process with the objective of helping stakeholders better understand women and girls’ diverse needs in accessing and using the Internet, promoting gender equality, and investigating how ICTs can be leveraged to empower women and girls in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

[OUTPUT] BPF's final output resource now published!

The BPF's final output resource has been published and can be downloaded here.

This is the final output resource produced by a community of participants in IGF best practice forum (BPF) on gender and access in 2016. This is also the second resource produced by the IGF BPF on Gender, which in 2015 published an extensive resource on online abuse and gender-based violence. The BPF Gender’s outputs are considered living resources that will be updated and changed as additional input and comments are received. 


The BPF has extracted its key recommendations from its 2015 report on online abuse and gender-based violence and has created a useful infographic to illustrate how diverse stakeholders can help to address this barrier to women's access and use of the Internet. Download it here and share it in your communities. 

This year, the BPF Gender and Access 2016 will firstly investigate women's ability to access and benefit from the Internet (or the gender digital divide), with a particular emphasis on how we can also ensure that access is meaningful to women and able to help support women's empowerment.

Secondly, the BPF will also be building on and updating the outcomes of the 2015 BPF Gender, which focused on online abuse and gender-based violence against women (see the outcome document here), in line with recent developments in this field.

Why is it important to study gender and (meaningful Internet) access?

Almost 60% of the world's people are still offline (World Bank, 2016), and are thus unable to benefit from the many opportunities ICTs offer for empowerment and development. This digital gap is more acute for women, as it is estimated that 12% fewer women than men can benefit from Internet access worldwide; rising to 15% in developing countries and almost 29% in least developed countries (ITU, 2016). 

Without addressing the gender digital gap, women will miss out on the potential opportunities the Internet offers for empowerment. As the Alliance for Affordable Internet argues (2016), 

We cannot achieve universal access without bringing women (half of the world's population) online; likewise, women's empowerment through ICTs will not happen without enabling women affordable access to the Internet.

How can you support the BPF's work this year?

If you want to learn more about the BPF's work in general, especially in the context of the IGF's work on Internet policy and governance, see the easy-to-understand BPF's participant's guide

Ways for you to participate:

  1. Comment on the BPF's Draft I, now on the IGF's review platform.
  2. Sign up to the BPF's mailing list, and join the conversation. All information regarding webinars and the BPF's fortnightly meetings are published on this mailing list, along with a host of other information relevant to the BPF's work. 
  3. Attend a virtual meeting, held every two weeks. Our meetings are open to all. Details for joining are shared on the mailing list.
  4. Attend a webinar at one of the national and regional IGF initiatives' annual events in your country or region, or join it online. All details regarding these webinars are published on the BPF's mailing list. 
  5. Attend the BPF's session at IGF 2016 in Guadalajara, Mexico.

The BPF Gender & Access hosted open virtual meetings approximately every two weeks. For each of these meetings, a detailed meeting summary was produced and shared on the BPF's mailing list. Similarly, the BPF also participates in as many national and regional IGF initiatives possible, and also enables online participants to join these sessions as part of a series of webinars. To request past virtual meeting and webinar summaries, please contact the IGF Secretariat. Details for joining meetings are shared on the BPF's mailing list.

Past virtual meetings (and summaries):

Past webinars, participation at, and collaboration with national/ regional IGF initiatives:

  • ISOC/ APC Workshop on Mainstreaming Gender in Internet and Development in the Asia-Pacific Region - 2 to 3 October 2016 (led by Jac SM Kee) (in-person in Bangkok, Thailand), summary here.
  • informal meet-up at the IGF of Latin America and the Caribbean (LACIGF) - 29 July 2016 (led by Renata Aquino Ribeiro)  (in-person in San Jose, Costa Rica, and online). Read the meet-up summary, prepared by Renata Aquino Ribeiro, here.
  • participation during gender & access session at the Asia Pacific Regional IGF (APrIGF) - 29 July 2016 (led by Jac SM Kee) (in-person in Taipei, Taiwan, and online)
  • unconference session at the Brazil IGF - 12 July 2016 (led by Renata Aquino Ribeiro) (in-person in Porto Alegre, and online). Read the session summary, prepared by Renata Aquino Ribeiro, here.
  • collective work by Youth LAC IGF participants and Youth Observatory on “Young Latin American Women Declaration: Enabling access to empower young women and build a feminist Internet Governance”, here.