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IGF 2018 - Day 1 - Salle VIII - WS436 Gender Issues and Democratic Participation: Reclaiming ICTs for The Humane World

The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the Thirteenth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Paris, France, from 12 to 14 November 2018. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the event, but should not be treated as an authoritative record. 

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>> MODERATOR: This is not working anymore.  Is it?  That's great.

So it is ‑‑ so it is finally fixed.  Okay.  Excellent.  Thank you for ticketing it.

Thank you for your introduction.  Would you like to introduce yourself?

>> Yes.  I work with a non‑profit in India, point of view at the intersection of gender sexuality and technology.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you.  Okay.

>> I'm Facebook's public followcy director for South and Central Asia and based in New Delhi and I hope to be a voice of the region in this particular session.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you.

We have another panelist.  I work at Dell technologies in the data storage field

>> MODERATOR: Great.  Thank you.

Yes.  Please.  Yes.

>> Okay.  Can you introduce yourself in a few words?

>> SOPHIE VIGER: Sure.  I will try to be understood, I'm the magic director of a school that's been created five years ago, invented by a French telecom tycoon, one of the four companies in France.

>> It is not the presentation.  Your English, it is excellence.  Thank you.

>> I'm Isabel, I work with a French University.  It is a very old school, we have a lot of engineers, we have not so much women

>> I'm a journalist.  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: Great.  Thank you.

I think what we'll do, we'll start with some perspectives from activists, Civil Society groups working in India and Pakistan to address issues of gender violence online and other issues related to gender disparity

To share some views on the challenges, and then perhaps we can have ‑‑ because we have a representative from Facebook here, you can respond to how private sector actors are trying to address these very complex and difficult problems so we can start with Asad.

>> Asad:  I'll try to finish, it is about to be an inclusive discussion.

Very good.  I'm a journalist, primarily.  Like I said, one of the the things we have found ourselves, it is research into online participation methods.  When we started this new journal or website, it is trends monitor, and what we do we try to assess political hashtags in Pakistan and see the participation or try to assess the nature of the participation.  We have recently found out that the political hashtags are kind of overflowed by fake accounts, and these fake accounts essentially are used to in one way or another create a certain political fair narrative from one political party or another.  Or even the forces working against the political discussion in Pakistan.  This has led us to believe ‑‑ by the way, this whole ‑‑ this whole exercise specifically focused on targeting journalists online, women politicians online and C, anybody who talks about generally in a progressive manner about politics in Pakistan

We found out that this ‑‑ it is very easy to actually hijack a certain discussion online on to a third Facebook or create a narrative online.

We have been able to generate some evidence for it

Now the question for us is, which is an open question I'll leave for this discussion today, what do we do about it?  One way of going about ‑‑ it is a popular ‑‑ which it a popular sort of solution in Pakistan, India, I'm sure other countries, that the government takes over this, let the government handle this.  We have seen in countries like Pakistan that when the government steps in, they come in with a very strong regulatory mechanism.  Often these mechanisms are used in any way possible against people who are politically expressing themselves online, so on.  Then government doing something about this clearly is out of question.

Then what do we do about it?  The only solution, reasonable way that we have, again, this is something that we need to open for the discussion here, the only reasonable way is that we encourage the platforms to do something about it.  Then who is going to make the accounts mimic the account, be accountable?  Who will ask questions when it comes to big data or these issues?  Then there is a Civil Society organization such as in Pakistan that we see that they need to be strengthened and they need to perhaps work in tandem with groups like Facebook and Twitter to make sure that there are certain amounts of encouragement happening for these groups

I'll stop here.  Like I said, it is ‑‑ instead of having answers, I have questions for the panel.  I'll be happy to sort of contribute to whatever discussion which happens.  Thank you

>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Asad.  From what I understood that you said, the problem or the challenge to put it simply, is that online spaces can be easily hijacked or made exclusive or non‑inclusive reflect active of the power in the society that's reflected online and the technology which is meant to empower and to give people a voice ends up not doing that

In particular, you're talking about political discussions in Pakistan and then them being difficult for women to be involved in because they're pushed out.

We turn to you, is that a similar experience in India or a different dynamic at play?

>> I want to partially talk about a group of young women in India who are between the ages of, say, 16 to about 21 and come from low‑income families.  What we're finding actually, the policy on the public discourse around access focuses very much on getting everybody online but then it stops there.  What we're seeing is actually in these families which are low‑income families and their phones are shared, right, these are all people who are using ‑‑ who are mobile first, they're very, very little into internet or laptops and all of the information, it is on mobile phones, where this is happening more and more, there is a real distinction between the kind of access that young women are being given to the internet and young men.  If there is a family where there is a brother and a sister, you know, the girl ‑‑ and it is a shared family phone, the young women gets much less time on the phone, she's constantly questioned like every hour like who are you talking to.  It is sort of becoming like a way to monitor her and sort of surveil her in a family sense.  I think what we really want to talk about is that it is not enough for us to think about access and political participation until the person gets access, we have to really think about how different genders are using the internet and what freedoms they're being given and I want us to think beyond online violence.  So much of the discussion is just around online violence.  Let's talk about the day‑to‑day discrimination, the day‑to‑day freedoms that women have to use the internet, it is something that we feel is really something that needs to come in the policy discussion.  So really talking about restricted access, restricted use, what is meaningful access, what is the freedom to use the internet in these kinds of settings.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you.  I think that's very interesting because it is such a much more nuanced discussion of access which we hear about the multiple barriers or the multiple challenges that women can face due to traditional, societal community roles that they play and how that's reflected online, and as you say whatever the solutions are, it will have to be sensitive to that

Before we go to you for the discussion of a different context altogether, a different approach, I was wondering if you have any reflections on what Facebook or perhaps more generally the private sector can do and should be doing as well as what they are doing to address this fact, that there are multiple barriers and what does it mean to really provide meaningful access that's empowering to women and what role can the private sector do to ensure that?

>> Yes.  I think as was said, the biggest barriers for women, there are different types of barriers.  If you look at the mass segment, the first generation, and in our region at least what we're seeing, there is a local language content to be available on the internet, but mostly the fight is about access to resources in our society.  There is a huge amount of resources, if you buy a data plan, you give it to the boy, not to the girl and to the families of girls.  It goes traditional access barriers out there.  It is a consideration that, again, it is a combination, both economic and social reasons.  In order to sort of elevate some of these problems, what I think the private sector is doing is making a lot of effort in that area and investing in a lot of digital literacy and safety training, making sure that people understand how you can be safe online and what are the kind of hygiene practices which young people must follow online.  There is a concerted effort, a good linking of arms by the internet sector in terms of making sure that local language content, other material is available.  That's one part

The second point, it is essentially what I also talked about, it is a range of #, targeting ever women that are active in public life or have a big public role in media, politics, making sure that they're not subjected to online hate speech.  There are a lot of actors that we as Facebook are taking in terms of implementing community standards strictly, making sure that we have a network.  In our region, we have partners and Civil Society flagging these incidents to us and then enforcing against types of hate speech that target women and we have various ways of understanding what are fake accounts, what are the activities there on the platform and systematically there is enforcement to take down fake accounts on our platforms, Facebook.  As you know, we have to represent authenticity and we have to represent yourself on the platform.  A combination of tactics in terms of local community engagement as well as political in terms of enforcing the community standards, it helped us in creating some sort of a productive way to prevent women from being attacked online

>> MODERATOR: Thank you.  I'm sure there are also challenges with implementing some of those approaches and maybe we'll hear a bit more about that later on

Before that, I would like to move to you and we'll come back to you.

>> Thank you.  Of course.

As I told you, we were founded by a community of men and men coming from the Digital Economy or journalists, whatever, and our primary field was France, of course, then it evolved to other actions besides, just not participating ‑‑ it is very difficult to speak with noise because we don't have mics.  Thank you.

(Speaking language other than English).

So it involves a second series of actions as well as in France and maybe Anja Kovacs will explain in a few words on how we evolved in the two years

>> Thank you, Sylvain

We're working on the presence and community of women on every stage and every level of society.  It is not a question here I think to say that not many women at high level positioned and decision making and policymaking around the world.  And about half of the population of the world.  It is not normal.

What we're promoting, it is a pledge at Jamaissanselles, many men are starting to sign, this is a voluntary approach and we do not seek people to sign our pledge.  That's the men themselves that are committed to this pledge.

I will read it, it is very short and straightforward.  There is too many panel discussions, roundtables, expert Committees, too many council meetings and debating in societies without women.  From now on, we'll no longer participate in any public major events at which topics relating to issues of common interests, society, politics, economic, science and strategies matters and will comment on and where there is no women present or as participants.  That's the base of our commitment.  This is just the tip of the iceberg.  When there is not many women on panels, it is because what?  Because event organizers or generally in society, there is no seat for women at high position or IT position.  If they are not seeking for them, they are not many in high position, and if they're not many in a high position, it is because there is a hiring decision, a hiring process that isn't ‑‑ that aren't adapted to this kind of issues.  And in the tech world, there are not enough women, there are 30% women in the tech industry, that's not enough, at high position and sometimes it is even less than that.  This is why we have S o.  Phee to talk about the education and how to improve the participation of Women and Girls in studies and that's actually the goal of Jamaissanselles to improve the participation globally of women

Just to say that we have been selected as a French delegate for one of the seven commitment groups which have been put forward in the recommendation for the GA20 summit, and we worked with the international Committee to propose three recommendations on access for women in rural areas, financial inclusion, digital inclusion and participation in technical development regarding, for example, gender biases in the Artificial Intelligence.  That's a part of the work that we're doing and signing the pledge

>> Thank you, Sacha, explaining how you have this move into a real movement for gender diversity.

Could you explain how you are hoping to promote women empowerment in the tech industry specifically?

>> SOPHIE VIGER: I will try, but not only for women, but also for diversity.

This is a completely free computer training classes and accessible to anyone 18 to 30 years old.  It is a school where there is no requirement, there is no tuition fees, this is completely free.  This is meant to get IT talents and it is regardless of any background, social background.  The school is open 24 hours, 7 days, and it is the principle of open education going further in developing a system in self‑education and the system is named peer to peer learning.  There is no teacher.  We do not have any online lectures or anything like that.  Students are staying software development challenge and they need to create pieces of software.  To do this, the jobs, they are working together and collecting information to test and verify, to discuss, to receive information that's important or not, related or not, usually they can't do it enough.  They have to collaborate.  That's why we call it peer learning.  Students develop IT technical skills, but also adaptation, problem solving, collaboration, critical thinking, self‑learning, creativity, diversity handling and a State of mind to face the unknown.

For now, we're 4200 students in Paris, and 800 students in the Silicon Valley.  In the U.S., where you know computers are very expense save and we're working to find ways to get education and there is a lack of talent and for our conclusion, we have two instructions and job offers than our number of students ‑‑ two times ‑‑ we have outstanding offers from companies and we have given out 42 certificates.  There is a big success.  But, there is a but, we have only 15% of girls.  This is the same I think in other computer generated schools as Isabel could say also

>> And something important, it is free

>> Completely free.  Yes.  Thank you.

>> Excuse me.  IP Isabel, you are Chair on the future of work at techno I'm not sure that everybody knows what is tech now.  It is an engineer school ‑‑

>> Not only.  It is the largest French University and one of the oldest compared to the rest of them, and we have a lot of tech students, 30% of students are tech.

My point is not to talk about my school.  My point is to talk about my experience

I joined the internet in 199 # of, at that time, we were not so the few women, there were not so much men.  We were only a few people in this online conversation.  At that time, I thought because we were all starting a new technology we would be equal.  In fact, did not happen.  It did not happen, and I don't know why.  I don't know why men take the lead on the Internet and we stayed back, we were not as visible, less voice, whatever

People explain to me that women did not choose to go to tech school so they're not building the Internet.  The building, they're not building a voice, I still do not understand why women are not so much on the Internet.  Maybe it is because women have a perception of the world a bit differently from men.  They don't say it is from your ‑‑ I say we could have different perception because your place in the world is driven by something else and it is not the same.  Now, Internet is a man's world, you know it is a man's world and it is never safe for women.  That's another movement called me too.  This movement, it shows us that every women in life faces a dangerous situation.  So when you decide to go online, in a man world, you decide to face this situationing, you decide to face harassment online.  If you want to develop the number of women going online, you have to protect them online.  You have to make policy protection from harassment and protection with Certs, things like that.  The first thing with me, if you want women, you need a safe world.  This world is not safe.  Women will never change the conversation.

The second point, everybody always told me you're not competitive enough.  Men are more competitive than you.  They want to succeed more than you.  Okay.  That's right.  You could see in France, there is the World Cup.  Our cup of football, the World Cup, it is 84 years, you join the World Cup, you go, you support your team, your national team, it is all about men, only men.  So the national team this year, it is all men.  All.  That's it.  So when you allow this competition in our country, even if we support women to success, we value more of this sport than artistic sport.  So it is very difficult for women to find allies, it is difficult because in this world, there is not so much women.  You can make achievements as a women, you have to make a team with a man and that's an issue.  Some men, they take the risk to support a woman.  There is no obligation to support the women.  The women need that for success.  Let's say this world will not be the same without any women.  That's why they decide to take ways to say I will not attend a conference if there is no women at the table.  Sometimes ‑‑ I remember some meetings, they're just coming, could you join, there is no women, if there is no women, the conference, it will not happen.  It is like invited, it is because I'm the only women that could speak about something that only men could speak about in the mind of the others.  That's my point.    thank you.

>> You should have mentioned there is something a little bit difficult to understand, why girls are doing particularly well in high school, in math, in science, so they're competitive, and that is a problem because there are too few of them that are accessing science and math or engineer school after high school

>> Maybe it is because of education.  I what I know about girls that join the engineering school, first, they join, they're afraid to join the men's world.  There is 80, 85%, even 90% of the students, they're men.  They knew that there would be harassment in school.  They know it.  Every engineer school has to face that.

Because it is dangerous ‑‑

>> Sexual?

>> Sexual, whatever.  Whatever.  We're not ‑‑ yeah.  Yeah.

>> (Speaking off microphone)

>> So you must be very courageous to do that.  You know that the had men will not accept you, you know that there is ‑‑ they act tribal.  It is a game.  In the games platform, it is men‑driven, it is all the way that they see the women, for young girl, if you would like to play digital games, she could not imagine to join a school where you learn to code because the environment, it is like in the video game.

>> MODERATOR: We have another panelist to provide her perspectives on.

I want to ask you, you have heard now different perspectives and the challenge of inclusive access and what it means to be using the internet as a women or participate in these discussions in a way that is really inclusive, and that's very challenging for a number of different reasons, including massage any, including any unequal power relations more generally so that women don't feel safe online and you heard responses of how that's challenged through campaigns like Jamaissanselles and even work like you're doing at the G20 it and through education, supporting further education in science and technology.

Are these solutions or ways that you think ‑‑ things that you think would work in Egypt?  What are the particular challenges?

>> First, I have a comment from my colleagues, actually the African IGF was held last week, it had many, several men panels.

I thank the previous panelists, when it comes to your participation

When it comes to women, we have a filtration.  In many countries, women are being told that still education is not for you, it is a man thing.  They have a perception, even if they have a bug, they don't give it to the man in the home.  That's the first phase.  Even when they are engineers or technologists they may give up their career and just be in the family life.  We end up with a lack of expertise from women and with very few talented women in the market.

(Audio issue)

>> An example of why we need women in engineering and design.  I had heard the example in the last IGF, there was a women hoping to be a doctor.  She was a member in a gyn and there were specific hours for women.  When she swiped her card ‑‑ (audio issue)

That's an example when it comes to ethics or engineering.

(Audio issue)

>> In decision making dialogues and when it comes to private sector.  I'll talk about some other issues

We have community called women in action it is providing women to women mentorship and activities for women.  It is not based in Egypt, it is a global community.  You will see the same community in other offices.

We have a team called the University relations team which works with University students and professors.  We offer technical courses for students and we even organize some graduation competitions and last year, there was an all women team and that was a great thing.  It is a continuous process of improvement.  If we have more women in tech, we'll get a safer internet, we really will have a more inclusive internet

Thank you

>> MODERATOR: Thank you for sharing your perspectives and also for some concrete examples of how things can change

I want to ask if any of the panelists want to respond to the points made by other panelists?  Otherwise we can open up to the rest of the audience and anyone else that's here.

>> I just wanted to make a small point, that I largely agree with everything that's been said, but I think one of the other issues that we're finding with women's participation in online spaces, it is that many women, because they have been told that technology is not for you, technology is for you in a way, in a smaller sense, actually they don't feel a sense of belonging in this space.  I would actually say that a lot more safety, it is very important, that first a women has to feel that they belong in this space, right, and again I'm not necessarily talking about women right in this room who might feel a sense of belonging, but really many women who come from lower‑income families, et cetera, who are not being given this technology.  We're finding in our workshops in India that before we go to some of the issues like safety, violence, harassment, all of which are very, very important, that first we have to sort of somehow explain that you are not a bystander in this space.  You also belong here.  We're seeing this in a lot of WhatsApp groups.  WhatsApp is the most popular social media platform in India.  For instance, if there are groups of journalists not in English, but say in our local languages, and so there is a WhatsApp group with many more male journalists and a few female journalists.  The women will just not say anything in that group I fear.  They are always just listening or like bystanders or witnesses, they're not, like, active participants in that space.  I feel we have to think about that as part of the whole gender   picture

>> MODERATOR: I wonder if there is anyone in the audience that has experience of that as well, or ideas or is part of trying to bring solutions to ensuring that women in particularly low‑income settings feel like the internet is for them, and it is not just interesting or whatever, it is actually really going to help them with what they would like to achieve in their lives and be a tool for them

Yes?

>> AUDIENCE: An excellent discussion.  I congratulate you all on that

A point on why girls do not join STEM education is also because of textbooks, the way that the textbooks have been written, especially mathematics and science text   books.  They are written in a way that they are not biased towards the male and women are learners and men are spacial learning and these books are written in a spacial way wherein it should be or should have been written to cater to, you know, a gender equal audience.  These books were created a long time back.  We need to reform the education system in terms of textbooks as well.

Another point that was talked about is very relevant in India, I work with young girls in India, I wanted to ask, I had a question, how do you ensure that, you know, these women don't feel ‑‑ these young girls don't feel like their bystanders?  I often feel because women are not respected in political discussions, like you see the drawing room discussions we have in India, women often, is not allowed tore on the the perspective is not entertained and often had ridiculed even.  How do you step up?  Personally I have experienced this within my family as well, which is very educated family, where when I spoke about my feminist views I was told that this might create problems in your future.

I'm presuming it was about getting married to a man.  Obviously I would like to marry someone who is not sexist.

How do you ensure that at a very young age we would step in and sort of, you know, inject that driver for gender equality

>> MODERATOR: Maybe that's a question for you, and I was wondering if you think that movements, campaign initiatives like Jamaissanselles or other voluntary approaches could provide not a solution but be a part of the solution in that context

>> Absolutely.

You know, I think what you have asked is a very relevant question.  The answers go beyond technology.  Right.  We have to start at a young age by ensuring that girls feel public spaces are for them, and that they can participate in public discussions and political discussions, et cetera, because otherwise what happens is all ‑‑ at the age of 14, this girl has been told no, this public space, it is not for you, you have to stay in the home, et cetera.  It is very difficult then when lessons are like this to suddenly change it when the mobile phone comeser right?  At the same time I will say that just like the experiences you have shared you are also seeing in India that you can start the empowerment process with technology or with the mobile phone.  Right.  That itself can trigger off sort of empowerment offline as well.  It works both ways, yes.

>> MODERATOR: Do you think the Jamaissanselles movement would work in India, do you think men would take up the mantle we won't go to any panels without women, similar initiatives?  Do you think it would take off or is the time not quite yet?

>> I think it would take off.  Why not?  Increasingly, like in India also we have on Twitter, there's a lot of conversation about particularly technology conferences where it is assumed that only men have the expertise to talk and there is actually a list online talking about women and other genders that can participate in these panels, et cetera.  I think this is very much a consideration in India.

I also want to say in the same way that, you know, me too, it is a force at the global level.  The last few months we have had a big me too India movement, women are questioning sexism we saw sexual harassment, massage any, et cetera.  In a connected world, you learn from each other.  You see things that work in other countries and you say hey, maybe we can maybe use this in our country as well.

>> There is a movement, it is a habit that women are now having in offices, it is when we are interrupted by a man and there is a woman who has a voice, and they interrupt the men and take back the ‑‑ to the women who were speaking first.  This is a good thing.  It is starting.  What you said, you have experience in the world and you can add it in your own countries.

>> MODERATOR: There are a number of different examples.  It is great to the have the conversations.  You learn of them or are reminded of them.

Yes, I'll come to you.

>> I would like to add something about the panel which is called how can ICT make the world more humane.  This is about humanism, we're talking about how to live together, how to work together, how to have a better participation of women and minority Villano Qiriaziable or not, that's not the question, but for better living together and I think we need a change of mindset, a global change of mindset about many topics around the world because we have a lot of them.  Gender diversity, gender equality, it is one that we can act together, not only men taking participation of it, but working with women.  We have a women counsel in our organization also and interpreters, executives from companies, we're working directly with enterprises and companies to implement internal and external conduct and ways to have better hiring processes, better carrier promotions, et cetera.

We're working now with ‑‑

>> Your partnership with Microsoft, that could be interesting

>> We're working with Microsoft France on this.  We have worked with them, it is a charter that they decided ‑‑ it is basically saying that we're not organizing or taking participation in any panels or event without women.  That's internal meetings or external even.  There is a female presence at meetings.  I think that's one of the actions we can take with the enterprises.  We have also about 30 French councils around the world that took the pledge, men and women, that's a mix, and as many as 50 parliaments and senators.  I would like to add something, that we need to mentor young boys too.  That's ‑‑ that's ‑‑ we need to mentor everybody on this topic.  You have to ‑‑ as a boy, you have to learn how to live together.  That's what I said before.  We are not ‑‑ you are not special or in any way different, but we're the same way, building the same thing, we're living together.  That's the thing.  That's ‑‑ that's ‑‑ our mindset, it is humanistic actually.  It is to improve the life in the world actually.

>> Maybe Sophie can say a word ‑‑

>> I have a question ‑‑

>> Yes.  Go ahead.

>> (Person speaking off microphone)

>> AUDIENCE: I'm working with the UN women on a project, gender innovation.  (No audio)  from Morocco, from a conservative family, going through many experiences in this field, I have learned that we cannot wait for all this, you know, biased ideologies to end so that girls and women can take the steps further.  No, we cannot do this.

We cannot wait for young boys or, you know, brothers, fathers, whatever to take a step further.  I think we need to give more visibility to women.  We talked about this yesterday, like for the Noble Prize winner, she got a Wikipedia page just after ‑‑ right after she got the Noble Prize.  Although she was doing a very great job, but she wasn't visible on the online space.  We couldn't hear from her.  We couldn't see her fight.  We couldn't get inspired.

There are many supporters all over the world, many fighters, but they're not visible.  I think we need to give them a chance to speak up.  We need to show that you can come from a low‑income family, you can come from the global space, you can come from wherever you come, you can do a great job.  It is up to you.

>> Thank you.

I think we're here today to envisage solutions.  How do we do that, for example, if someone has ideas in terms of improvement from the Civil Society, from government, for NGO, et cetera, how do we do it in practice?  How do we have this improvement and make, for example, this Noble Prize, for example, the Noble Prize, if she's a woman, she would have a Wikipedia notice before having a Noble Prize.

>> I believe that female experts need to be content creators.  Women are not really good with marketing themselves or their success.

>> I can't believe that!

>> Women, they don't take credit for their work.

Women need to take credit for their work and market for it and create content about it.

The Noble Prize winner needed to market for herself and for her work before even winning.  When women feel belong to this online space and will feel safe when they come online

Thank you

>> MODERATOR: So we have got two questions, I think three.  We'll take them one by one.  I think that the question that you asked about what are some solutions and what are the roles of different stakeholders in addressing these issues, like we have heard quite a few initiatives that some private actors have taken, like Microsoft, to changing hiring processes, signing up to do that.  Those are some examples, if you can think of, share any other, that's interesting to hear as well.

We will take your question, your question, and then other questions.

>> Can you hear?  My name is Nichole Patterson.  I'm from the Caribbean.  She leads it, and with a women's economic imperative.

In response to what can be done exactly as a colleague from India youth group has spoken about, we were speaking about it yesterday, some of what we have been doing in the Caribbean region, very small compared to a lot of the other regions here is engaging girls in hackathons.  That gets them in that space because what we're speaking about the, the girl, the senior level of high schools and University, those that are moving to go into that pipeline to go into the industry, of course we need to be doing it much earlier in terms of their engagement in STEM as well, but what that has done, that's built ‑‑ this is a bit more ‑‑ we have been doing it for two years so far, that has built a wave of them as content creators.  Even out of that, we have one school in Trinidad and Tobago specifically that's developed two initiatives, mobile apps actually, one is in response to gender‑based violence and the other one is in response to, you know, ‑‑ one is in terms of cyberbullying.  Both have attracted the attention of Inter‑American development bank and Microsoft in the region.  I think the key thing is the STEM engagement, but not more than STEM just in the textbooks, but engaging the goals in addition to the fact that the boys are already there in hands‑on type initiatives.  That's where we're seeing that there is a significant difference, and we're doing it with the ITU international telecom union as well.  Through that, we're hoping that will push out across the region and Ohio's with UN women

>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much for sharing those experiences

We have also a comment, a question from there.

>> AUDIENCE: Thank you all panelists for your insights.

I come from Uganda.  We talked about online participation, the panelists have mentioned that.  When we talk about women's online participation, I think we should not only look at women from low income families or countries, it cuts across.  I'll talk briefly about in Uganda, they're trying to see how women participate in online spaces.  The women, they're active online and the experience, it is really ‑‑ one has said, for me, I don't Google myself.  She knows there is a lot of negative talk.  That limits our participation.  Another one said for me, had when they go online, it is work.

She knows the backlash.  Those are the dynamics in online spaces.  One of the issues that came out, and they were wondering how we viewed that online social support so that women are not pushed offline, are not pushed to offline spaces not only those who have content, but others that can't afford and they have the platform and they have the capability, but the dynamics, they're ‑‑ they have first thing to go offline, first thing for women journalists, anyone else online, they want to engage substantively online and they're forced to go offline because of negativity, the toxic nature of online engagements.  How do we garner that support through different methods and coalitions to make sure that women that have at least owned the space, who have tried to belong to a space as we have mentioned are not ‑‑ they're not ‑‑ they first go away, even the little knowledge, the little space that they have obtained, it cannot be taken away from them.  Yes.  That was my comment or suggestion

Thank you

>> AUDIENCE: Thank you very much for that

I'm from Uganda

I want to contribute that the solution, it was asked for.  I think one of the ways that this problem can overcome women participation, we need, like, in private initiative organizations that are actual in the defense of women interests online.

For example, what about a platform that creates digital pages or something like Wikipedia but mainly for women that are extraordinary across regions and across countries because it is not limiting on people that may not be women or may not be interested in women affairs create those pages.  If those pages are created, those platforms are created, then people will learn about their existence sooner and more women will be inspired?  What about having an organization, that for example, achievements of women that are recorded and expressed, Facebook, I had a pass on here, they have said can we have an organization and the response, it is ‑‑ it is ‑‑ that's also being done across all social media, how can we optimize women voices?

Also, my friend from Uganda talked about women, that's very true, we need to understand the nature of women, you have seen pictures of some women, singers, others,, others are deleting, from ‑‑ can we have an organization that ‑‑ can we have people who will respond on behalf ‑‑ some women, they make others very vocal.  For those that cannot ‑‑ for those that are not willing to defend themselves, can we have people to gather facts and come to the defense both online and not online defense of women who are under attack.  The fact is that as long as these attacks are affecting the participation of those participating in the online platt father‑in‑laws, they're not being answered, it has a chilling and another affect.  Again, this will legitimatize the participation of women

>> MODERATOR: Would you like to react?

>> I just want to ‑‑ there is a vision to improve the visibility, to improve access to women, whatever, but we have to help women get online we have to clarify, it is online intimidation, we have to protect them.

The French First Lady is facing a lot of hate when she's going out, when she's speaking online.  She's the First Lady.  Could you imagine younger girl, political girl, less protected?  It is impossible to be visible if you are under attack online

>> The problem is, how do you react?  You have the problem of an entity, you have processes ‑‑

>> You are helped by Microsoft, by Twitter, by Facebook, you make alliances for that, you do a cause.

>> (Person speaking off microphone)

>> People are offending women rights.  There should be a neutral third‑party that equalizes this, that if there is anonymous attack on women, then they should break into that.  There should be limitations, a as long as they're necessary and proportionate, I think that's a very necessary ground for limiting this

>> Yes.  I think that the conversation is interestingly turned from what can private actors do,ish what role does education have to play to what are some of the legal, regulatory frameworks that are conducive to supporting women online

If anyone has something to reflect on ‑‑

>> Sophie had something to say, in a previous school she had a women‑driven ‑‑ it was 80%, woman?

>> SOPHIE VIGER: I will try.

One thing, I want to be positive, because I think that changing the ‑‑ I think I'm meeting one of the biggest computer conferences, it is really not usual, I'm proud to be one of the first, and if you put a girl leading a school, it changes things, because first thing I did in the school, it was to be concerned about how girls may be welcomed in the schools.

The school before, I just ‑‑ one thing, it is very important, the girl doesn't want to go to a school, a place where there is only men.  They're really afraid about that.  You have to change things.  It is very simple just to say to girls so we save a place for you

>> You mean quotas for example?

>> Quotas, yes.  I know, some people don't agree with that, but I think it is a good thing.

>> In politics in France for example, we had to ‑‑

>> In the school, we have ‑‑ how do I say ‑‑ you apply to the school, then you have online test, then after you can come to a coffee ‑‑

>> A collective conference

>> A collective conference, something like that.

>> (?)

>> Then you can have ‑‑ I don't know if you know about all this, it is a ‑‑ it is an immersion period of four weeks, after that, you can go in the school.  It is very, very hard.

I just asked to my staff to say, I had a very ‑‑ how do you say the word ‑‑ I had a communication for.  That.

From now, we'll say 50% of the places of the collective conference will be for women.  Just to say that ‑‑ just to do that, so girls think, okay, you're thinking about me, you're setting a place, and I won't be just ‑‑ you know, when you come in a place, you're the only girl, you say, okay, did I do something wrong?  Am I in a good place?  So just this little thing.  Before I start with 80% of women, and just because they knew that there would be the majority, it changed, they knew that they would be chosen, everything like that, so just sometimes doing little things to say that you're welcome.  And also because I lead the school, I say to all my staff, if I see any one time something like misogyny, something like this, yeah, it is going to be a real problem for you.

>> Okay.  What that says, is how important it is to have leaders and people in positions to make decisions like that to actually commit and basically put their foot down and say, you northerly, this is how it will be and taking that action, it is important for making a change

You wanted to make a point

>> Very quickly, three points:

I feel like me too has shown us how to build a supportive community online.  Each women supporting another women was speaking out and Tweeting on Facebook, form media.  I want to say that this responsibility to create a welcoming space, a safe space for all genders to feel comfortable, the responsibility cannot only be on us as users.  I really feel the platform has to take some responsibility and I'm a part of the Wikipedia community, and when we realized that Wikipedia, that there was a very big gender gap and I was on the board a the that time.  We took a lot of steps that may not have all been perfect, but we acknowledged the problem saying yes, we have to do something about it.  I don't think that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, whatever happens, big or small, will have a platform, you have the users, you figure it out, I don't think that's acceptable at all.  I think platforms have to take responsibility for this.

I think that's pretty much it.

Oh aanonymity.  That's what I wanted to say!  Again, we work with a lot of people who are bisexual, gay, lesbian, trans, queer and aanonymity is very important.  For many that we work with, they're not out to their families in offline spaces.  It is only because of online spaces that give them aanonymity that builds them a community.  This is a tool that could be used for good or used for bad.  I'm not comfortable with asking we take away aanonymity online.

>> That's an interesting point, how it is used as a tool is reflective of the broader structures in place and addressing those broader power inequalities is about much more than attacking one instance that will be used in a specific way.  It is a much more complex issue and I think being aware of that the is going to be important so we don't actually end up harming the people we're trying to support in the attempts to address the issue.

We have two other questions.  I'll go with you first.

>> AUDIENCE: I work with the Council of Europe in the anti discrimination department and behind the innovative youth campaign to empower young people to speak out against hate speech.  Our experiences, we have campaigned on sexist hate speech too and what I experienced here, it is that hate speech, there is always a discretion around freedom of attrition, hate speech, this whole gray area, what's interesting, it is that debate about should things stay up or not, it really gets contaminated when it comes to women because then sexism, sexual harassment, all those things come in and it is a much more multifaceted discussion.  We do need to go back to this really splitting these two things.  The discussion about is something failing for expression or hate speech, when sexism comes in, it becomes something else.  I think that the Council of Europe's work on the instanbul convention on domestic violence, it has indicators there on what could be done to address sexual harassment online and sexism and this should be taken up through legislative measures and we need to go back to the companies and look at assessment protocols and we're in the ongoing discussion on what's hate speech and what's not, it can be sharper when it comes to hate speech directed to women.  And that's complex and many women in politics for example don't suffer from hate speech but they suffer from sexist hate speech and that's different.  We need to be here when it comes to gender equality, we have to have gender equality in hate speech if I may be so crude

>> Exactly.  Its very important to get those questions right.

So ‑‑ yes.

We have to be wrapping up in 10 minutes

>> AUDIENCE: I'll try to be as concise as possible.  Happy to follow‑up from this comment about platforms taking responsibility

I work for the danish Institute of Human Rights and we do a lot of Human Rights impact assessments in relation to companies in general, often more related to supply chain.  I think just a week ago Facebook came out with a report on how they were complicit in hate speech, we have talked about Pakistan, the platt formats, you talked about platform responsibility and is that a way ‑‑ obviously it does not solve participation itself, but with regards to hate speech, sexist speech, massagany on these platforms to actually have companies to take ‑‑ to do impact assessments, Uganda, anyone coming in line, in France, with the First Lady, and then do you think that is not a solution to solve it all, but that actually should the Institute of The companies, should they do assessments and human impact assessments and see what is the ‑‑ you know, what is the consequences of my platform?  I would like particularly to go to Pakistan and India, if you have any responses to this

>> Yes, we can go straight ‑‑ actually, you know, we're talking about gender parity here, so maybe we should go to you too.

>> Thank you, just to complete from my colleague from the Council of Europe, I also am and head of gender equality there and we're currently preparing a recommendation to all Member States on sexism and combating sexism, and it includes the draft, the draft includes a section on the Internet and we want to be able to provide this text, it will be unique text that addresses combating sexism, and so I have a section on the internet and we want to be able to find the Right balance, of course, where the responsibility should be with the governments in legislating, in order to protect spaces online for users without, of course, stifling the great potential also that the Internet represents.  Particularly also to find that balance, that responsibilities of private enterprise are dually taken into account so that they can operate, but within certain lines that will respect dignity and encourage participation of girls and women

>> Before we run out, I would like to bring the question of Artificial Intelligence.  Excuse me, it is really important, we wrap up in a few minutes with S acha.  We havic talked about the present war but this next war is Artificial Intelligence and we're already seeing the gender gap on that too

>> SACHA QUESTER-SEMEON: We talked a bit about the use of the technologies and the Internet.  We have to put some ethics in how to choose what works, how the platform, how it is built and what is the intention.  Everything is about big companies and business driven, like Facebook, Amazon, et cetera.  When Amazon uses AI algorithm in the hiring process where they have the data, they're not seeing many women in the job offers because of the data centers.  We need to be vigilant on this.  How do we feed the machine?  What is the intention, the mission?  Not only AI but on every process in building infrastructure and platforms.  It is irrelevant for why we are here, it is ‑‑

>> Absolutely.  It is a ‑‑

>> Do you think that we're building a more Artificial Intelligence right now, a male, a male‑driven technology

>> (Person speaking off microphone)

>> Thank you for that intervention.  I think the example of you gave a system not recognizing a doctor as a women, it is one of many examples.  There needs to be a response that is inclusive of women which would, you know, allow for sustainable long‑term solution to this issue

>> Just warrant to add something that we're launching today a pledge aimed at the Internet Governance organizations and other targets, we're saying today reporters without borders and I think the intent, it is just ‑‑ it is just a start at an Internet Governance organization and NGOs to say that there will not be organizing a conference on important government projects or issues without any women.  They're lunching thated to

>> MODERATOR: I can do a brief summary of of the discussion so far, but I would like to go to ‑‑ there was a question directed to you as well on whether or not you think that intermediaries osh platforms should adopt Human Rights impact ‑‑

>> Are we building a male AI system but also primarily a system which does not does not see ethnicity, gender, does not see any of the underlying nuances which are very common in the local society communities, so on

Another thing I wanted to quickly respond to your question, one thing that we have seen in Pakistan, it is to interactively and Facebook, of course, to focus on this more, to actively taking off some accounts in a political debate in Pakistan.  It was a heated sort of religious undertoned debate calling for a lot of hate.  One thing in discussions like this, we usually tend to miss generally, it is not the hate speech, but the incitement to violence specifically.  And in online spaces incitement and digital ones

In many studies in Pakistan and I'm sure others as well that we have seen, that digital violence, it has a very, very high likelihood of converging in physical violence.  Particularly with women.  We have seen this multiple times.  With the impact, this is a very important thing for me as well, there is a campaign going on in Pakistan actively inviting violence against people.  We have seen them take over the account of the lead person doing it.  There were thousands of other fake accounts running and doing the same thing.  Eventually the trend, the conversation which was happening, the violence which was being insighted remained there.  So the action, it is now something we need to take care of.  Was that action enough?  Do we need to sort of take more stronger action?  If we do that, then whatever boundaries we need to take care of are?  Are we saying in our conversations then that the Right to be anonymous should not exist?  So this is the kind of violence perhaps as a student I sort of, you know, I try to learn more from this kind of conversation

>> MODERATOR: We do have to end now.  We have 2 minutes left.

I think this conversation can definitely continue after this session, of course.  Although we have heard so many of the challenges that are being faced, I think one thing that's come up for me, how similar some of these challenges are across different countries from Pakistan, India, Caribbean, even France, we're hearing similar challenges but really interesting initiatives and ideas that could cross boundaries and I think what's also been interesting to hear is just the recognition of how the responsibility to address these issues so that women not only have access, meaningful access, content creator, designing algorithms, all of that, that responsibility is going to fall on a number of different actors, and it does, and to be specific there are examples of Human Rights impact assessments for platforms, leaders taking a role, you know, committing to having a certain number of women in positions of power, grass root campaigns and then we had heard about what Facebook is doing, also regulatory responses, Council of Europe, for example, I know that's very specific and perhaps there is something that can be drawn from there and other regions.  There are a lot of things we can take away.  I hope that this conversation will continue afterwards.

>> Just may I add one more thing?

>> Please

>> This question of gender gap in the science and tech environment, it is intimately linked to the question of harassment online, physical harassment, I think it is striking the various testimonies we have had today

>> MODERATOR: Absolutely.

I'm sorry we couldn't take all the questions.  I think that shows how interesting the conversation was and how engaging it was hopefully for all of you.

I would like to thank all the panelists, also all of you for your participation.  A quick round of applause for you.

Thank you. 

 

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