IGF 2021 WS #221
Rethinking platform governance: women HRDs online

Organizer 1: Marwa Azelmat, Association for Progressive Communications

Speaker 1: Jan Moolman, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 2: Chenai Chair, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 3: Debora Albu, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)


Marwa Azelmat, Civil Society, African Group

Online Moderator

Marwa Azelmat, Civil Society, African Group


Marwa Azelmat, Civil Society, African Group


Round Table - Circle - 60 Min

Policy Question(s)

Inclusion, rights and stakeholder roles and responsibilities: What are/should be the responsibilities of governments, businesses, the technical community, civil society, the academic and research sector and community-based actors with regard to digital inclusion and respect for human rights, and what is needed for them to fulfil these in an efficient and effective manner?
Promoting equitable development and preventing harm: How can we make use of digital technologies to promote more equitable and peaceful societies that are inclusive, resilient and sustainable? How can we make sure that digital technologies are not developed and used for harmful purposes? What values and norms should guide the development and use of technologies to enable this?

During the last years, concerns about Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs) exposure to online gender-based violence have gained wide policy recognition yet their safety remained threatened and even more exacerbated by the shift to virtual platforms during the pandemic and in an era of shrinking democratic space. Centering around private sector accountability, and the roles and responsibilities of the technical community, this session will address online challenges that are structurally embedded in, replicated and amplified by technical systems such as gendered disinformation and censorship of dissents.


5. Gender Equality
16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Targets: We are at a critical inflection point of history, where platform governance is turning into big tech governing big tech threatening the course of democracy and the rule of law. While Women Human Rights Defenders demands, visions, and needs remain unfulfilled, greater gender equality will not be achieved.


This session takes on the demands “Indispensable Measures to Ensure the Holistic Protection and Leadership of WHRDs”, launched at the Mexico Generation Equality Forum in March, towards the Paris Forum in June/July. It shines a light on the specific experiences of WHRDs to explore what is needed for social media companies to ensure their platforms are not developed and used for harmful purposes in an efficient and effective manner through establishing a meaningful dialogue between relevant stakeholders.

Expected Outcomes

A deeper understanding of platform governance against the backdrop of a global context of negativity whereby deliberate anti-rights and stigmatization campaigns are taking place online against WHRDs in order to enable interventions to disrupt escalation and promote their safety and protection. The session will build on the existing demands of WHRDs to produce a manifesto on platform governance led by WHRDs.

For this type of conversation, it is important to have WHRDs, private sector and other actors sitting at the same table to meaningfully engage with the issues and the needs from both ends. We will ensure on-site participants have access to our materials beforehand to interact with the conversation, they will also be able to weigh in through chat and real-time polls.

Online Participation

Usage of IGF Official Tool.