IGF 2023 WS #256 Afro-Feminist Perspectives on Data Governance


Data Governance & Trust
Data Privacy and Protection

Organizer 1: Mwenda Gitonga, 🔒Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH
Organizer 2: Neema Mujesia, Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet)
Organizer 3: Angela Minayo, KICTANet
Organizer 4: Elizabeth Orembo, 🔒
Organizer 5: Githaiga Grace, 🔒

Speaker 1: Rachel Magege, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 2: Angela Minayo, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 3: Mwenda Gitonga, Government, African Group


Githaiga Grace, Civil Society, African Group

Online Moderator

Elizabeth Orembo, Civil Society, African Group


Neema Mujesia, Civil Society, African Group


Round Table - 60 Min

Policy Question(s)

How are African countries enacting and implementing data protection frameworks? Are they gender responsive?
What are the key principles of feminist data governance to consider by governments and other stakeholders?
How can governments and other stakeholders such as tech companies and civil society incorporate feminist data governance perspectives?

What will participants gain from attending this session? Participants will learn about the gender biases that exist in how data protection and privacy is governed.
Participants will learn about the repercussions of having data protection regimes that reinforce misogyny and bias against women and gender minorities.
Participants will learn about gender-responsive data protection and privacy.
Participants will find out more about the recommendations contained in KICTANet’s policy brief on data protection and privacy from a gender perspective.


Africa has come a long way in terms of enactment of data protection laws. To date 36 out of 55 Countries in Africa have data protection laws. The continent is at a unique time to co-create data protection laws that are grounded on inclusivity and gender equality in their formulation and implementation.

Women and other structurally marginalized genders still face harsh online environments, excluding them from political, social and economic participation. Their participation is met with challenges that manifests in forms of data rights violations discrimination such as lack of agency and control over their data, lack of consent in unequal power dynamic contexts, loss of privacy, discrimination, online gender-based violence targeting women and bias that is compounded when age, class and gender intersect.

Europe, through the enactment of the General Data Protection laws, has set global international standards for data protection, which have been mirrored across the globe and across Africa. Although these standards are expected to provide all protection of rights in relation to data, their implementation across different regions vary along the lines of societal elements, existing national laws and institutional frameworks.

A 2022 policy brief on data protection from a gender perspective, found that gender biases in the formulation of data protection and privacy frameworks were prevalent. For example, data protection and privacy is often perceived as a commercial issue yet women and gender minorities are disproportionately affected by privacy breaches online and offline. We call for a Feminist approach to data protection and privacy that surmounts the gender biases in data protection and privacy frameworks.

As part of the discussions, the speakers will share more on gender gaps in data governance and give recommendations for truly afro-feminist data protection frameworks..

Expected Outcomes

This session will feed into regional discussions on online safety and data protection, drawing lessons learned in implementing data protection frameworks in Africa. The report from this session will be used to advocate for policy alternatives and amendments, as improvements to fill the gaps released during implementation of policy frameworks, and as part of data governance work.

Hybrid Format: We will have both onsite and virtual moderators who will coordinate to ensure interactions across the physical and virtual rooms. The discussions from online platforms in form of floor contributions and chats will also be incorporated in the report.

The moderator will introduce the session, then ask each speaker to speak to the issues for three minutes each, and then it will be opened to the participants to also comment or ask questions. The online moderator will keep an eye on any questions coming online and alert the moderator.

We will use our social media handles across all our platforms using hashtags.