IGF 2023 WS #477 Framework to Develop Gender-responsive Cybersecurity Policy

Wednesday, 11th October, 2023 (07:30 UTC) - Wednesday, 11th October, 2023 (08:30 UTC)
WS 2 – Room A

Cybersecurity, Cybercrime & Online Safety
Cyberattacks, Cyberconflicts and International Security

Organizer 1: Valeria Betancourt, 🔒

Speaker 1: David Fairchild, Government, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Kemly Camacho, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 3: Vivian Affoah, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 4: Paula Martins, Civil Society, Intergovernmental Organization
Speaker 5: Valeria Betancourt, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)


Paula Martins, Civil Society, Intergovernmental Organization

Online Moderator

Valeria Betancourt, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)


Velasco Karla, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)


Panel - 60 Min

Policy Question(s)

A. What does a gender perspective in cybersecurity policy and norms mean? B. How gender is understood in the context of cybersecurity in the different region, how these issues could be addressed in international cyber processes and how the potential of the IGF could be leveraged to promote intersectional gender responses to cybersecurity challenges? C. What are the current gaps and challenges the different stakeholders involved in cyber policy-making have faced when applying a gender perspective to cybersecurity and what are the tools stakeholders need to champion gender in their cybersecurity work?

What will participants gain from attending this session? The framework and the recommendations that we will be presenting seek to support policymakers, international delegations and civil society organisations in developing gender-responsive cybersecurity policies and norms. The IGF is a unique multistakeholder platform and this session will allow for awareness raising and inclusive dialogue with the global community on an important issue. With this session and the discussions, overall, participants will expand their knowlege on the intersctions of gender and cybersecurity, will gain new tools to promote a stronger intersectional approach and champion gender in their cybersecurity work. In this session, we’ll hear from speakers representing different stakeholders involved in cyber processes at national, regional, and international levels discussing the framework and the current gaps and challenges in integrating a gender perspective in cybersecurity.


It is encouraging that gender perspectives are being more accounted for and discussed in national, regional, and global cyber policy-making spaces. However, the intersection of gender and cybersecurity is still a field in development. APC research found that it is still challenging to find comprehensive examples of a gender approach to national cybersecurity policies. Around the globe, few countries have national cybersecurity policies with references to a gender perspective or gender equity. At the global level, although at cyber norms processes such as the UN OEWG on ICTs, there are signs of agreement in some areas such as the need to close the digital gender divide and for more diversity in cyber security, on the importance of gender-sensitive and inclusive capacity building, and the need to address differentiated impacts of cyber threats vulnerable groups, there is still a need more guidance on what States should do to mainstream gender into cyber policy and norms. To fill this gap, APC developed collaboratively a framework to support policymakers and civil society in developing gender-responsive cybersecurity policy [https://www.apc.org/en/pubs/framework-gender-cybersec]. This framework provides recommendations with a focus on cyber policy at the national level, but the principles of the approach can also be applied in regional or global multilateral cybersecurity forums and discussions. Building on this framework and in a series of conversations APC and partners have been organizing at regional levels, with this session we seek to explore with the IGF community how the recommendations made in the framework could be adapted to be meaningful to particular contexts so that the transformative power of a gender approach to cybersecurity at national, regional and international levels can be realised.

Expected Outcomes

This session feeds into ongoing international and national cybersecurity policy advocacy efforts. Building on this session, APC will continue working to train and provide guidance to policymakers for the incorporation of gender perspectives into cybersecurity policies; strengthen civil society to engage in global and national policy spaces to advocate for inclusion of gender into cyber policies and norms; inform international diplomatic delegations engaging in cyber security negotiations.  With this workshop, we also seek to discuss the framework, its usefulness and gaps, and gather input for future work on this agenda and continue giving visibility to the differentiated impacts of cyber incidents on women and LGBTQI+. APC also seeks to identify and work with interested stakeholders from the IGF community to use the framework. This session will also seek to collectively identify future policy advocacy and research opportunities, including unresolved questions around an intersectional gender approach to cybersecurity norms/policy.

Hybrid Format: The design of the session will take into account that we all have a different pace of participation which depends on our technology and digital literacy, language, accessibility, internet connectivity, public speaking skills, etc. The pace of the will be adapted to both online and in person participants’ needs and contexts.  When planning the session, we’ll allocate time for all participants (both online and offline). Tools like surveys, shared pads and boards will be used to offer different spaces and ways of participation. Facilitators should always give more time than they think is needed for activities and exercises, taking into account the time it takes to mute/unmute, move to breakout rooms or move in the room, tech issues, etc.