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IGF 2018 Dynamic Coalition on Gender and Internet Governance

DC: 

Gender and Internet Governance

Panel - 90 Min

Subtheme: 
Description: 

This session aims to look at some of the emerging issues at the intersection of gender and internet governance and the cyberspace. This would include discussions around privacy in the age of big data, especially through a gender and sexuality lens, freedom of expression online for women, and queer persons in the current socioeconomic and political climate prevalent across the world, especially in the global south economies, and the right to be forgotten. Every year at the global IGF and at some of the other regional IGFs, Gender Report Cards are filled in for each of the workshops and sessions which take place at the Forum. Gender Report Cards are a mechanism used to determine the gender diversity and relevance of gender at workshops at an Internet Governance Forum. We will be presenting the results from the past year and discussing the main outcomes will help us track progress from one forum to another, and also determine areas which require more work, both from those in the Dynamic Coalition as well as others working at the intersection of gender, internet and technology. Not just this, we will also be presenting a study done by Baldeep Grewal on the Gender Report Cards from the past few years, which not just looked at the Report Cards themselves, but examines the treatment of gender and gender diversity in the workshops overall. This includes comparing information on speakers from the online schedule, and the Gender Report Cards, where again there was a disparity in gender diversity of the panels. One of the speakers, Nidhi Goyal, will be speaking about the intersection of disability, gender, and internet governance, bringing in some key points on meaningful accessibility and its importance at the internet governance spaces. The Dynamic Coalition on Gender and Internet Governance session will also be utilised to begin and carry forward dialogues on the emerging issues at the intersection of gender, sexuality, and technology. This includes several important topics like dataveillance through the lens of gender and sexuality, the right to be forgotten, and algorithmic decision-making and its influence on the cyberspace. More importantly, the session will strive to bring in perspectives and learnings from global south economies as well, where the situation can often be quite different from the other economies. The session will be structured as a conversation. The first part will have the moderators of the Dynamic Coalition on Gender and Internet Governance speaking a little about the DC and its work, and presenting the results of the Gender Report Cards study. This will be followed by a discussion on what are some of the emerging issues which we are planning to focus on, and invite speakers on specific topics. Each section will have a Q&A segment immediately after it so that the session is not just presentations but a discussion with all those who are present in the room (physically and remotely) at that point.

Organizers: 

Bishakha Datta, Point of View

Lisa Garcia, Foundation for Media Alternatives

Smita Vanniyar, Point of View

Speakers: 

- Chair/Moderator:
Bishakha Datta, Point of View, India

- List of speakers and their institutional affiliations (Indicate male/female/ transgender male/ transgender female/gender variant/prefer not to answer):

Baldeep Grewal, Universität Würzburg (female, Academia)
Laura Breton Despradel, ISOC-RD, Dominican Republic (female, civil society)
Valentina Pellizzer, Association for Progressive Communications, Bosnia and Herzegovina (female, civil society)

Report: 

- Session Type (Workshop, Open Forum, etc.): DC Session Workshop

 

- Title: Dynamic Coalition on Gender and Internet Governance

 

- Date & Time: Wednesday, 14 Nov, 2018 - 11:20 - 12:20
 

- Organizer(s):
Bishakha Datta, Point of View, India
Lisa Garcia, Foundation for Media Alternatives, Philippines
Smita Vanniyar, Point of View, India

 

- Chair/Moderator:
Bishakha Datta, Point of View, India

 

- Rapporteur/Notetaker:
Radhika Radhakrishnan, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, India

 

- List of speakers and their institutional affiliations (Indicate male/female/ transgender male/ transgender female/gender variant/prefer not to answer):

Baldeep Grewal, Universität Würzburg (female, Academia)
Laura Breton Despradel, ISOC-RD, Dominican Republic (female, civil society)
Valentina Pellizzer, Association for Progressive Communications, Bosnia and Herzegovina (female, civil society)

 

- Theme (as listed here): Human Rights, Gender, and Youth

 

- Subtheme (as listed here): Gender Equality

 

- Please state no more than three (3) key messages of the discussion. [150 words or less]

  • What does the study on Gender Report Cards from the past few years of IGF tell us about the gender and gender diversity in workshops as well as the treatment of gender as a topic in these workshops.
  • The need to understand emerging issues such as dataveillance, and algorithmic decision-making, and their influence in the cyberspace through a gender and sexuality lens, and strategies to address this.
  • The status of ICTs and women’s rights online in the Dominican Republic, and how can we use technology and apps to disseminate more comprehensive knowledge on sexual education.

 

- Please elaborate on the discussion held, specifically on areas of agreement and divergence.

Laura, from UNFPA, discussed sexual and reproductive rights in Dominican Republic, and the efforts of organizations such as Pro Familia and apps like  Planeapp to include young girls and queer adolescents in discourses around SRHR.

Valentina from the Women’s Rights Programme, APC, discussed the work of the EROTICS network (Exploratory Research on Information and Communication Technology) initially focused on India, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. Key takeaways from her talk included the increasing collection and surveillance of user data by governments and other non-state actors, which can be misused (“dataveillance”) to target women and queer persons.

The stronghold of national policies and religious groups on women’s sexual rights and sexuality was a common thread that ran across both speaker’s talks.

Baldeep presented a draft research paper on the Gender Report Cards (GRCs) at IGF. There was broad support for the view that the GRCs were a substantial step towards the inclusion of and engagement with gender at IGF. However, there are challenges that remain, such as inconsistency in reporting resulting in difficulty of comparisons of categorical results.

There was also vibrant engagement from various participants present and interesting issues were highlighted. For instance, Jac from APC pointed out that all Human Rights issues tend to be clubbed into one main theme while there are multiple different themes for technical issues. Professor K. S. Park from the Dynamic coalition for Publicness also elucidated how the Right to be forgotten is being misused by perpetrators of sexual violence.  

 

- Please describe any policy recommendations or suggestions regarding the way forward/potential next steps.

There was discussion around how defamation is used as tool to silence women in many parts of the world, as truth is not always held to be a defence. Consequently, a proposal was made to set up a small global working group to gather consensus and release a joint statement on the issue (related also to the above discussion on ).

The need to have a separate Sexual Harassment policy for the IGF was highlighted and efforts to concretize the same were also outlined.

 

- What ideas surfaced in the discussion with respect to how the IGF ecosystem might make progress on this issue?

The need to develop a new model of reporting was highlighted for the Gender Reports so that there can be a standardized manner in which analysis can be carried out across years. Another recommendation along the same lines was to collect statistics of women against total number of people present so the proportion of women could be analyzed. It was also noted that  To solve for the challenge of organizers not submitting the Gender Reports despite it being mandated, a suggestion that has been forwarded by Smita is to include the word “complete” (completed reports) in the mandate for submission of the Gender Reports.

 

- Please estimate the total number of participants.

25

- Please estimate the total number of women and gender-variant individuals present.

Gender is a self-identified social characteristic and this cannot be estimated without participants identifying themselves as women or gender-variant.

- To what extent did the session discuss gender issues, and if to any extent, what was the discussion? [100 words]

The main theme of the discussion was gender. Hence, please see responses to above questions for response to this question.

 

Long Report

 

- Session Type (Workshop, Open Forum, etc.): DC Session Workshop

- Title: Dynamic Coalition on Gender and Internet Governance

- Date & Time: Wednesday 14 Nov, 2018 - 11:20-12:20

- Organizer(s):
Bishakha Datta, Point of View, India

Lisa Garcia, Foundation for Media Alternatives, Philippines

Smita Vanniyar, Point of View, India

- Chair/Moderator: Bishakha Datta, Point of View, India

- Rapporteur/Notetaker: Radhika Radhakrishnan, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, India

- List of speakers and their institutional affiliations (Indicate male/female/ transgender male/ transgender female/gender variant/prefer not to answer):

Baldeep Grewal, Universität Würzburg (female, Academia)
Laura Breton Despradel, ISOC-RD, Dominican Republic (female, civil society)
Valentina Pellizzer, Association for Progressive Communications, Bosnia and Herzegovina (gender variant, civil society)

- Theme (as listed here): Human Rights, Gender, and Youth

- Subtheme (as listed here): Gender Equality

- Please state no more than three (3) key messages of the discussion. [300-500 words]

  • What does the study on Gender Report Cards from the past few years of IGF tell us about the gender and gender diversity in workshops as well as the treatment of gender as a topic in these workshops.
  • How data and information collected and surveillance by governments can be misused to target women and queer persons, and the need to include online expression through bodies in freedom of expression.
  • The influence of the Catholic church on the discourse sexual and reproductive health and the discourse around this in the Dominican Republic, its impacts, and how technology and apps are being used to disseminate more comprehensive knowledge on sexual education, including that for queer adolescents.

 

 

- Please elaborate on the discussion held, specifically on areas of agreement and divergence. [300 words]

One of the speakers, Laura, from UNFPA, discussed sexual and reproductive rights in Dominican Republic which has immense influence from the Catholic Church. One of the impacts of this is that abortion is forbidden in all cases including when the mother is in danger and sexual education is also not conducted in schools (only 10% of which are secular). Laura also discussed the efforts of organizations such as Pro Familia and apps like  Planeapp to include young girls and queer adolescents in discourses around SRHR.

Vale from the Women’s Rights Programme, APC, used the Feminist Principles of the Internet (FPI) analytical framework to discuss the work of the EROTICS network (Exploratory Research on Information and Communication Technology) initially focused on India, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. Key takeaways from her talk included the increasing collection and surveillance of user data by governments and other non-state actors, which can be misused (“dataveillance”) to target women and queer persons. Discourse around freedom of expression also needs to include expression through our bodies online, as our bodies are becoming data in cyberspace. Thus, the user needs to be at the centre of principles on data and privacy, which is echoed by the FPI and GDPR. These principles also need to be transformed into uniform standards through an organized effort.

The stronghold of national policies and religious groups on women’s sexual rights and sexuality was a common thread that ran across both speaker’s talks.

Baldeep presented a draft research paper on the Gender Report Cards (GRCs) at IGF. There was broad support for the view that the GRCs were a substantial step towards the inclusion of and engagement with gender at IGF. When the reports were kicked off in 2011, there was negligible engagement with gender in workshops but the introduction of the reporting has seemed to fulfil its intended objectives. However, there are challenges that remain, such as inconsistency in reporting resulting in difficulty of comparisons of categorical results.

There was also vibrant engagement from various participants present and interesting issues were highlighted. For instance, Jac from APC pointed out that all Human Rights issues tend to be clubbed into one main theme while there are multiple different themes for technical issues. A speaker from the Dynamic coalition for Publicness, Professor KS Park, also elucidated how the Right to be forgotten is being misused by perpetrators of sexual violence.  

 

- Please describe any policy recommendations or suggestions regarding the way forward/potential next steps. [200 words]

There was discussion around how defamation is used as tool to silence women in many parts of the world, as truth is not always held to be a defence. Consequently, a proposal was made to set up a small global working group to gather consensus and release a joint statement on the issue (related also to the above discussion on ).

The need to have a separate Sexual Harassment policy for the IGF was highlighted and efforts to concretize the same were also outlined.
 

- What ideas surfaced in the discussion with respect to how the IGF ecosystem might make progress on this issue? [150 words]

The need to develop a new model of reporting was highlighted for the Gender Reports so that there can be a standardized manner in which analysis can be carried out across years. Another recommendation along the same lines was to collect statistics of women against total number of people present so the proportion of women could be analyzed. It was also noted that  To solve for the challenge of organizers not submitting the Gender Reports despite it being mandated, a suggestion that has been forwarded by Smita is to include the word “complete” (completed reports) in the mandate for submission of the Gender Reports, and to ensure that all session organisers complete the reports, including for DC sessions.

There was also a suggestion from Lisa Garcia on developing cooperation with the DCs at the regional level as well, and not just at the global IGF level.

 

- Please estimate the total number of participants.

25

- Please estimate the total number of women and gender-variant individuals present.

Gender is a self-identified social characteristic and this cannot be estimated without participants identifying themselves as women or gender-variant.

- To what extent did the session discuss gender issues, and if to any extent, what was the discussion? [100 words]

The main theme of the discussion was gender. Hence, please see responses to above questions for response to this question.

- Session outputs and other relevant links (URLs):

Session Time: 
Wednesday, 14 November, 2018 - 11:20 to 12:20
Room: 
Salle VIII

Contact Information

United Nations
Secretariat of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF)

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

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