This post was written by Dianne Olivan, the Web Foundation’s Gender Engagement and Policy Officer.
In 2020, the Web Foundation launched its third phase of support for the Women’s Rights Online Network. Funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida), 10 organisations from Colombia, Peru, Paraguay, Nigeria, Ghana, Philippines, Uganda, India, Egypt, and Costa Rica worked to eliminate the gender digital divide.
This International Women’s Day, we look back on their success stories.
- In Colombia, Fundacion Karisma, a women-led digital rights organisation, conducted research [ES] on the experience of women and gender-diverse journalists in the workplace— finding that media agencies’ workplace protocols and policies are not gender-sensitive. In the end, they were able to engage with media agencies and institutions to explore how to implement results and recommendations from the study to provide a safe and thriving workplace for women and gender-diverse journalists in the country. In recognition of these efforts, Fundacion Karisma won the 2019 Index of Censorship Freedom of Expression and Digital Activism Award.
- Hiperderecho is a digital rights organisation based in Peru. They produced videos and infographics on the findings of the Gender Scorecard, a research methodology initiated by the Web Foundation in measuring the state of digital equality in a country. After organising workshops with journalists, Hiperderecho also completed a training methodology on handling online gender-based violence. Hiperderecho is a nominee for the 2021 GoodID Award for Accountability.
- Based in Paraguay, TEDIC, a digital rights and open technology research and advocacy organisation, conducted the study “Gender Violence on the Internet in Paraguay” (ES, EN). They also released infographics summarising the results of the study. As a result, they were able to establish strategic partnerships with fashion companies, social enterprises, and other creative organisations in Paraguay. TEDIC is a finalist for the 2021 EQUALS in Tech Award for Research.
- Paradigm Initiative (PIN), a digital rights organisation based in Nigeria, published a policy brief outlining the current context of online gender-based violence in Nigeria amidst COVID-19, the actors working on it, and legislation recommendations. They also hosted two roundtables, engaging with key officials from government agencies and civil society organisations. Paradigm Initiative’s recently produced film “Focus” won the Award of Merit under the Liberation/Social Justice/Protest category in the 2021 Best Shorts Competition.
- Based in Ghana, the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), the largest media development organisation in the region, published a mapping report on national policy documents in 2020, outlining gaps and recommendations on gender-related laws and regulations in the country. In 2021, they organised a national stakeholder dialogue with civil society and policymakers to share research findings and present recommendations on promoting and protecting women’s rights in the country.
- In 2021, the Foundation for Media Alternatives (FMA), an organisation in the Philippines working on digital rights research and policy advocacy, conducted three online discussions on the impact of cloned and fake social accounts on women’s rights; feminist cybersecurity; and the impact of the internet on the rights of women workers in the country. FMA also published a policy brief on Filipino women’s digital agenda and a policy overview of ICT laws in the Philippines and its impact on women. FMA is a nominee for the 2021 GoodID Award for Security.
- The Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET), a Kampala-based organisation working towards empowering women and girls via ICT, worked in close partnership with CfMA to conduct three multistakeholder meetings with civil society to discuss strategies for network-building and policy advocacy for gender-responsive laws and programs developing the ICT skills of women and girls. They also published a civil society position paper and a policy brief that was presented to ministries, policymakers, private sector actors, and other civil society actors.
- IT for Change is an organisation in India that works at the intersection of ICT and human rights through research and policy advocacy. IT for Change published the Feminist Digital Futures podcast, featuring scholars, activists, and leaders from the Global South. The organisation published essays discussing women’s experiences on the Web and on the Internet. IT for Change also organised a roundtable discussing platform capitalism.
- Tadwein Center for Social Gender Studies, an organisation based in Cairo, conducted research to examine the impact of digital platforms and innovation in order to amplify economic and income generating opportunities for Egyptian women. The study is currently on-going.
- Based in Costa Rica, Sula Batsu conducted a participatory-action research on the workplace experience of women working in tech. Sula Batsu continued the work that was started with the Digital Gender Gap Audit in Costa Rica (ES), whose results were fundamental to the development of the Gender Action Plan for the country. Under the fund, Sula Batsu has started gathering data to develop a holistic model to look at women’s participation in tech. Data analysis is currently underway.
In 2022, the Women’s Rights Online will reconvene in person to discuss and design the future of the Network. With old and new challenges amplified by the pandemic, we want to effectively identify the best set of strategies to form a policy advocacy and research action plan that will respond to issues concerning women and gender diverse people’s digital rights in the foreseeable future.
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