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Guest blog: Reprioritising #SectionJ: ICTs and women’s rights

Web Foundation · March 13, 2015

In this guest blog for the World Wide Web Foundation, Sara Baker from Take Back the Tech! discusses women and the Web.


Right now the 59th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is in full swing in New York. On this 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, governments and civil society organisations will be examining advancements made on gender equality in a number of areas. The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) is in New York advocating for the reprioritisation of Section J of the Beijing Platform, which focuses on media and technology.


Gender equality in internet and communications technologies (ICTs) affects more than the obvious areas of online violence and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. APC put together 10 points where ICT intersects with women’s rights, from access and agency to economics and ecology. Do you know how ICT training and access empowers women in rural areas to develop sustainable livelihoods and mitigate the harms of climate change? Are you aware that 90% of gender activists say their work would be difficult or impossible without the internet?

Unfortunately, the digital world reflects, and even exacerbates, the unequal power structures we challenge offline. Therefore, work toward gender equality cannot ignore the power that ICTs have in our daily lives. The internet can be a transformative space where people from all backgrounds have equal access to information, expression and opportunities. To tap that potential, we must ensure women’s access to and participation in the development of ICT infrastructure, spaces and tools. Additionally, we should focus on amplifying women’s voices in order to infuse media content and decision making with women’s lived experiences, challenging gender norms and developing policies that address how technology-based violence restricts women’s rights, such as privacy and freedom of expression.

While APC advocates at #CSW59 until March 20th, there is plenty you can do to make a difference no matter where you are:


Take Back the Tech! is a collaborative campaign to reclaim information and communication technology (ICT) to end violence against women (VAW).  It is initiated by the Association for Progressive Communications’ Women’s Rights Programme (APC WRP), both a programme within APC and a network of women throughout the world committed to using technology for women’s empowerment.


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