Women's rights at the 2014 IGF

All sorts of members of the internet community got together for the 2014 Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Istanbul from September 2-5. There were hundreds of workshops and meetings and side events, and even an entirely parallel Internet Ungovernance Forum, challenging the dominance of governments and corporations at the IGF.

Over the years, APC’s Women’s Rights Programme (WRP) has actively participated at the IGF in order to raise questions, issues, and linkages between feminism and the internet. Participation of gender advocates at the IGF has grown every year and this year’s WRP delegation included 23 feminist and queer activists from India, Indonesia, Uganda, Argentina, Malaysia, Lebanon, South Africa, Kenya, Dominican Republic, Turkey, Jordan, Pakistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Philippines, New Zealand, and the Czech Republic. This is in addition to many feminist allies from across the four sectors of internet governance. Here’s a list of gender and sexuality events that took place at the #IGF2014.

Pre-event: Sex, rights and internet governance

This pre-event brought together sexual rights activists, women's human rights defenders and gender equality advocates at the IGF to discuss emerging issues in the intersections of sexuality rights and Internet rights. The program covered strategies for engaging gender issues with the IGF's thematic tracks. This included a presentation of an evolving set of Feminist Principles of the Internet for discussion, as well as a session for IGF participants (including diverse stakeholders) on how to engage multiple stakeholders to bring these discussions on women's rights and sexual rights into the discourse on internet governance.

Dynamic Coalition on gender and internet governance meeting

The Gender Dynamic Coalition meeting discussed the outcomes from key processes and discussions on internet governance leading up to IGF 2014 – including 2013 IGF Gender Report Card findings, WSIS+10 results, and NetMundial to assess integration of gender issues and concerns. The meeting also launched the new Feminist Principles of the Internet which is a working document produced from a meeting of over 50 women’s and internet rights activists in April 2014. Panelists and attendees together developed thinking and analysis around the contentious issues of gender, sexuality, and the internet, including online violence against women, ‘harmful’ content, ‘hate speech’, and sexual expression. It also planned for integration of internet governance issues at the post-2015 development agenda and Beijing +20 discussions led by UN Women for the 2015 Commission on the Status of Women. This produced a set of recommendations for follow-up activities and future contributions to internet governance issues.

Speakers:

Olga Cavalli, Government, Argentina
Titi Akinsanmi, Policy & GR at Google, South Africa
Nnenna Nwakanma, Africa Coordinator for World Wide Web Foundation, Ivory Coast, TBC
Bishakha Dhatta, Executive Director of Point of View, India
Kamel Manaf, Lead Researcher for EROTICS Indonesia, Indonesia
Moderator: Jac sm Kee, APC, Malaysia

Transcript available here

Promotıng platform responsıbılıty for content management

Digital technologies and the internet offer tremendous opportunities for the creation and distribution of content, enabling users to express themselves and reach their audiences in unprecedented ways. At the same time, the advancement of digital technologies relating to identification and rights management has brought to the market increasingly efficient and affordable solutions to deal with potentially illegal material. However, due to the complexity of the contextual assessments required to determine the legality of such material, these solutions are far from perfect. For this reason, it is crucial that technical solutions be deployed in conjunction with safeguards preventing their abuse, and ensuring the respect of due process, privacy and freedom of expression of the parties involved.

Increasingly, these safeguards depend on the terms and conditions adopted by online platforms, and the procedures through which they operate. Therefore, it seems appropriate to shift the discussion on intermediary liability to a focus on “responsibility”, in order to promote human rights-compliant procedures to content management.

This workshop brought together a variety of stakeholders to discuss the problems associated with content removal in two distinct scenarios: copyright infringement and offensive (including indecent and defamatory) content. While each of these scenarios presents peculiarities that may call for different approaches, they share in the need to provide a quick and effective remedy for potential victims without unduly restricting human rights. Ultimately, the workshop aimed to identify best practices that internet platforms can adopt to that end.

Speakers

Marco Pancini, Google
Konstantinos Komaitis, ISOC
Andy Chatterley, Muso TNT
Michele Woods, WIPO
Alexandre Palk, Digital Economy Section at French Foreign Affairs Ministry
Janine Moolman, APC Women’s Rights Programme
Claudio Ruiz, Derechos Digitales
Robin Gross, IP Justice

Moderators: Nicolo Zingales, Tilburg Law and Economics Center; and Joy Liddicoat, APC

Crowdsourced solutıons to brıdge the gender dıgıtal divıde

According to the 2013 “Women and the Web” report, on average across the developing world approximately 25 percent fewer women than men have access to the Internet. To address the gender digital divide, World Pulse is conducting “WWW: Women Weave the Web,” a campaign to crowdsource solutions, models, and best practices on digital inclusion and empowerment directly from grassroots women leaders from across the developing world.

Through World Pulse’s growing web-based platform, women are speaking out and connecting to create solutions from the front lines of today’s most pressing issues. With a focus on grassroots women, our programs nurture community, provide media and empowerment training, and channel rising voices to influential forums. Previous World Pulse campaigns have generated powerful changes, from influencing the appointment of a US Special Envoy to the Great Lakes to delivering testimonies on gender-based violence to the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

Their proposed IGF session presented an analysis of the hundreds of testimonies we have received from across the globe. They shared recommendations on how key stakeholders should focus their efforts to support women’s full engagement in the information society. The session generated a discussion and reflection with key ICT actors such as technology companies, international organizations, and governments on how grassroots women leaders’ recommendations can be made actionable within the internet governance framework.

Speakers

Leana Mayzlina, World Pulse
Iffat Rose Gill, ChunriChoupaal
Tiffany Coulson (remote), Academia/Civil Society University of Washington

Anonymity by design: Protecting while connecting

This roundtable was co-sponsored by Internet Rights and Principles Coalition and the Pirate Party Movement of Turkey. Tying into the theme of “Connecting Continents” and building on the youth panel from IGF2013 – Bali WS 55 “Online Anonymity,” this workshop brought together leading researchers, technologists, human rights defenders, private industry, and government representatives to assess the role of internet governance in supporting the development of a more secure and enabling online ecosystem.

This roundtable acknowledged anonymous online communication protects the extrinsic good of liberty, political freedom, self-determination, autonomy, dignity, power, and the ability to think and speak without censorship, surveillance, or retribution (Ermert 2009; Hosein 2006; Tavani 2011; La Rue 2011; Article 8: Right to Privacy Online in the IRP Charter). Anonymity is essential for voters, political dissidents, and whistleblowers to communicate without repercussion or retribution; “a safeguard against political oppression” (Hosein, 2006, p. 129). Online anonymity also protects people from violence offline, including vulnerable and marginalized populations.

This roundtable drilled down to the specifics of how anonymous communication is being used to uphold human rights, and how mass surveillance undermines them which includes protection from harm, safety from reprisal, freedom of the press, and freedom to engage in democratic participation (see: Human Rights Watch report “Witness:The Price of Mass Surveillance”). Case studies from several countries were presented, including the IGF host country of Turkey, Ethiopia, Malaysia, and others. The roundtable also included discussion of anonymity-enabling technologies and emerging projects, in order to envision and push forward a clear role for Internet governance to protect people, while connecting them.

Name(s) and stakeholder and organizational affiliation(s) of institutional co-organizer(s)

Marianne Franklin, Internet Rights and Principles Coalition (co-Chair), Goldsmiths College
Robert Bodle, Internet Rights and Principles Coalition (co-Chair), College of Mount St. Joseph, Miami University

Names and affiliations of speakers invited

Sophie Kwasny, Council of Europe, Europe
Robert Bodle, Mount St. Joseph University/IRP Coalition Co-Chair, USA
Charles McCathie Nevile, Yandex, Australia
Meryem Marzouki, Sorbonne Universités, Paris, Europe
Serhat Koc, Founding partner of Guneli & Koc Law Firm, member of Pirate Party of Turkey Movement, Turkey
Serhat Ayan, Journalist www.tknlj.com, Turkey
Ismail Hakkı Polat, Kadir Has University, Department of New Media, Writer at Bloomberg Business Week, Turkey
Ebru Yetiskin, Istanbul Technical University, Department of Sociology, Turkey
Harriet Kempson, Youth IGF Project

Moderator: Marianne Franklin

Online advocacy and women rights. Obstacles and successes

Women are increasingly turning to the Internet for growth and development opportunities, both socially and economically. While women constitute more than 50% of the active labor force, they still face serious challenges and barriers when it comes to employment, and other economic and social opportunities. Even though women as social entrepreneurs have succeeded in marking a footprint in some countries, women in the MENA region continue to lag behind when it comes to business start-ups and female led business ventures.

Women can be a strong economic growth engine, yet they have to overcome personal and societal challenges and barriers that may prohibit their entry and long term success. Women are using social media and on-line platforms to advocate for women entrepreneurial rights, seeking to increase women’s social and economic opportunities at the local, national and international level as well as to advocate for entrepreneurship awareness and to strengthen women’s entrepreneurial and professional skills.

With the growing number of internet users worldwide, advocates for women entrepreneurial rights are using the Internet itself to raise awareness, voice their demands, launch campaigns and create pathways for change.

The panel looked at how effective social media platforms are in advocating for women’s entrepreneurial rights in the MENA countries, examining examples and stories of successes in advocating online for women’s entrepreneurial rights and changes that were made in different societies, as well as the challenges that women still face in the entrepreneurial world in the MENA region (including Iran, KSA, and Egypt).

The session also elaborated on the role that technology and the internet are playing in empowering women and enhancing their growth and development in the business world as well as the obstacles that users are facing in accessing the Internet in the different MENA countries, addressing the important role of internet governance mechanisms and commitments to WSIS +10. The outcome report from this workshop will identify ideas for advancing awareness and opportunities for advancing engagement of women entrepreneurs within the region.

Name(s) and stakeholder and organizational affiliation(s) of institutional co-organizer(s)

Carole Chedid, The Women Alliance for Virtual Exchange – WAVE

Co-organizer: Salam El Waili, The Arab ICT Organization

Transcript available here

Author / Authors

Published on 08 Sep 2014

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