Setting the scene at IGF without gender perspective?
The first Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is a forum for multi-stakeholder policy dialogue on how the internet is run. It was set up at the end of 2005 by the United Nations Secretary-General following a resolution made by governments at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).
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After the opening ceremony of the IFG, a first session entitled Multistakehoder Policy Dialogue / Setting the Scene was facilitated by Kenneth Cukier (The Economist). There were thirteen panellists of whom two were women: Lynn St. Amour, CEO of the Open Society (ISOC) and Karen Banks of the Association for Progressive Communication (APC).
Since only Karen Banks did not have a title attached to her name, such as CEO of important institution or governmental representative, I assumed, and it may be a biased perspective of mine, that the facilitator was at ease when he did not give her the floor when she wanted to respond to some questions posed by the audience. Naturally, other panellists did not have the same treatment.
Moreover, when the APC panellist raised a question, the facilitator reminded her that she is to answer the questions and not to ask questions. Do I need to repeat that other panellists were not treated like that? Even the representative of one Asian country known for its censorship on the Source: TechSoup Glossary and GenderIT.org">internetand human rights abuse, for instance, whose highly diplomatic statements on ICT and development were empty of substance, was kindly invited to repeat that several times.
It seems that it was all about power and, yes, gender too.
Eventually a question posed by the audience on gender and the ICT perspective in Internet Europa glossary">governancewas lost (due to an unidentified technical problem with facilitator). Then, somehow, grouped with the many last questions by the audience and then, by the facilitator again, the whole group of various questions was transformed in only one question that nobody from the audience asked. The question on gender and ICTs disappeared and nobody from the panel referred to it.