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BPF Gender and Access



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)


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Proposal to the MAG for 2018 Work


Preparatory Work
2018 BPF Gender and Access Meetings Summary Reports:


Additional Information


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