You are here

BPF Gender and Access


2018 BPF Gender and Access Objectives

Do alternative models of connectivity support the needs of underserved populations of women?

The United Nations Internet Governance Forum (IGF) Best Practice Forum (BPF) on Gender and Access is currently studying the potential impact of initiatives that support/develop alternative models of connectivity that directly or indirectly respond to the needs of underserved populations of women and gender non-conforming individuals.

'Alternative models of connectivity' refers to complementary telecommunication infrastructure models that not only speed up the pace at which unconnected populations can be supported with internet access, but also complement existing models in making communications accessible to all. Examples: Community Networks, Public Wifi, TV White Spaces, Zero Rating.

Upcoming Virtual Meetings

(Will be updated before calls)

Call for 2018 Inputs 

The call for inputs for #BPFGender2018 is now open. You can contribute through our survey, email, mobile messaging, or by connecting with us on our mailing list. You can also join us on regular virtual meetings. All details below:


#BPFGender2018 is hosting a survey for Alternative Models of Connectivity to invite contributions to our outputs for 2018. The survey is hosted on Google Forms as well as LimeSurvey. Complete the survey here:

The survey will remain open on both the above platforms till 15 October 2018.


You can mail your contributions or questions for BPF Gender and Access 2018 to [email protected].

Mobile Messaging

In 2018 the BPF Gender and Access will have a number for collecting inputs and sharing info via mobile messaging. The number is +5585998380136. You can add this contact on Whatsapp, Telegram or Signal.

Things you can do to connect through this number:

* You can send videos, photos or stories around the theme of the #BPFGender2018 "Alternative Models of Connectivity" (Examples: Community Networks, Public Wifi, TV White Spaces, Zero Rating.)

* Specific attention will be made to the following communities: non binary identities and LGBTQIA, indigenous women, youth women, women refugees, women with disabilities, migrant women.

* We will also have a broadcast-only channel via Whatsapp for updates. The channel will be configured in a way that only admins can view participants numbers, protecting your data. 

* If you wish to send your report with a pseudonym, it can also be an alternative. Do note that every report gathered may be used for the BPF final outcome.

Mailing List Sign-up

The BPF Gender and Access mailing list is open to all stakeholders interested in or with expertise on related issues.

Sign up at

Our call for inputs on the mailing list is here:

Background to BPF Gender

In the last three years, the BPF Gender has addressed the barriers faced by women and girls to access, use and make the most of the Internet, and has also investigated the challenges that women have to participate and get involved in Internet policy development and decision-making processes.

To be more precise, in 2015, the work of the BPF Gender looked at online abuse and gender-based violence, and in 2016 aimed to identify the different barriers that women face as regards Internet access. Last year, the BPF amplified this work by focusing on gather information about specific communities.

Like other intersessional initiatives, the BPF Gender has functioned in a bottom-up, multistakeholder, and community-driven manner to gather stories, experiences, and lessons. But, as gender is a key and broad thematic area not only for its study but also about the other central IG and Internet policy matters, the BPF Gender has also worked hard to integrate gender issues within other IGF’s work and within the framework of SDG5 on gender equality, including the CENB III.

The community formed around the BPF Gender has become genuinely active and strong during the years as it has maintained the commitment to addressing the topic both in a broader angle and in delving into particular emerging issues. In this context, we were able to host for the first time a main session in IGF Geneva only about Gender. Therefore, 2018 can be seen as an opportunity for strengthening, even more, the work that the BPF Gender has done and continuing supporting the efforts of our dynamic community.

We also see an opportunity to take the outcomes of previous years outside our usual audiences by sharing the best practices identified by the BPF in news spaces and forums as a way to stimulate and expand collaboration. In 2017, the BPF Gender started this path by engaging and bringing the work of IGF into other spaces, like APrIGF and Brazil IGF, and we think is essential to strengthen our actions.

About the 2018 Gender BPF

In 2018, we propose to further the work on gender and access, with a strong focus on the following aspects:

● Continuing the work done in 2017, by focusing on communities from which it was not possible to gather enough information as are usually far from the IG work. Women with disabilities, migrant women, and refugee women face several challenges to access the Internet, and this access could mean different things for each of these groups. Getting more information on this groups will give us different approaches to understanding gender and access as a way also to addressing SDG5.

● For those communities that the BPF has access to information and can get inputs from, further analysis can be conducted to study the way that alternatives ways of connectivity, like community networks, public wifi, free basics and TV White Spaces, have on empowering women.

● For both previous aspects, identifying women leaders and stories of women that have changed their lives through access, will contribute to putting together best practices that encourage women to take leadership positions.


Outreach Plan and Multistakeholder Engagement in the Work

● Take the findings and outcomes of the BPF Gender to spaces and foras in and outside the IG ecosystem (e.g., W20 – G20 Women Engagement Group) to present the work that has been done and identify synergies of work.

● Continued collaboration with EQUALS Global partnership to which the Gender and Access BPF community has already made contributions in 2016 and 2017, with focus on non-replication of efforts (contact with the EQUALS Access Coalition leaders) and to amplify messages. The BPF Gender has been invited as a data partner for EQUALS.

● Strengthening the integration of gender topics within the IGF’s work.

● Engagement with relevant DCs and other intersessional activities such as the DC on Gender, DC on Innovative Approaches to Connecting the Unconnected and Phase III of the Connecting the Next Billion.

● Engagement with national and regional internet governance policy processes and initiatives, such as NRIs and ISOC Special Interest Group on Women.

● Outreach and engagement through various online platforms as identified as strategic (e.g., survey, twitter conversations, webinar)



Preparatory Work
2018 BPF Gender and Access Meetings Summary Reports:

Contact Information

United Nations
Secretariat of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF)

Villa Le Bocage
Palais des Nations,
CH-1211 Geneva 10

igf [at] un [dot] org
+41 (0) 229 173 678