IGF 2020 WS #244 How to survive being a woman (on the internet)


Organizer 1: Private Sector, African Group

Speaker 1: Kayastha Shubha, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 2: Lim Serene, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 3: Neema Iyer, Private Sector, African Group


Round Table - U-shape - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

1) Accessibility & Policy for Social Inclusion Topic: Gender, Minorities, Online Violence, Inclusive Design How can we incorporate feminist thinking into designing a radical shift in how the internet works for women and minority groups?

For the past 30 years, internet connectivity has been heralded as the great gender equalizer. Despite the benefits of digitalization, the internet, once viewed as a utopia for equality, is proving to be the embodiment of old systems of oppression and violence. In this session, we want to address 1) lack of robust data 2) insufficient legal and policy protections for women 3) detachment from culpability of technology platforms and failing redress mechanisms and lastly 4) the opportunity to use Web 3.0 as a starting point for conversations on developing a radical shift in imagining alternative digital networks grounded in feminist theory.


GOAL 5: Gender Equality


As we have woken up to the fallacy of an egalitarian and democratic digital space, there is a need to continually question whose voices and lived experiences that are still missing as we move towards a feminist internet. The choices we make today in our advocacy and activism can segregate us further or create new meaning to a wider group of people. A feminist approach to digital freedoms requires consistent introspection of subjectivity and social experience through on-going negotiation and renegotiation, relies on defining and redefining experiences, and finally, demands that we accept and be inclusive of differences and diversity, while ensuring that no one is denied their human rights -- universal, indivisible, inalienable, interrelated and interdependent. This session is yet another space where we convene to plug the gap when it comes to our activism and advocacy in making of a feminist internet. Missing from the current global conversation is the perspective from the Global South. Speakers from Africa, Malaysia and Nepal will bring together their knowledge, challenges and strategy for a feminist internet. This session presents our recent research studies conducted across Africa, Malaysia and Nepal, some of which were part of the Feminist Internet Research Network. We will further open the discussion to a workshop around how this data can be used for further advocacy, training, and research, and how feminist research can be mainstreamed in technology design and production.

Expected Outcomes

The aim of the session is to: 1) workshopping ways that the data can be used for further advocacy work amongst civil society, government and technology companies to take into account the stifling of women on digital public spaces 2) opening up the conversation further on how to conduct feminist research for a feminist internet and 3) building a community who wants to collect data in their own countries/contexts.

The session will be participatory in nature. After presenting our findings and conclusions, we will open up the discussion to the entire group, with the aim of fielding ideas and developing a community for further collaboration.

Relevance to Internet Governance: Everyday, more of our lives are lived online. Even though digital technologies and spaces can provide new possibilities for being and knowing, it is important to be attentive to how power is shaped, embedded and wielded in these technologies and discourse. The continuum of violence has blurred the gap between online and offline spaces, whereby violence that begins online can be continued offline and vice-versa. Most, if not all, countries across the continent do not have specific legislation against technology-facilitated online GBV. Negative online experiences hinders digital inclusion and widens the digital gender divide. It is important for governments, private sector and civil society to come together to address this growing concern.

Relevance to Theme: The session is based at re-designing and re-conceptualizing digital spaces to be more inclusive for women.

Online Participation


Usage of IGF Official Tool.