Going visible: Women’s rights on the internet
, November 2012
Leading up to the year 2015, the United Nations is planning a series of consultations to help shape the post-2015 agenda with support from Civil Society coalitions including the Global Call to Action Against Poverty, CIVICUS and the Beyond 2015 Campaign, which have been organising Civil Society engagement in post-2015 discussions.
This paper was developed by the Women´s Rights Programme as part of the global thematic consultation “Addressing inequalities – The Heart of the Post-2015 Development Agenda and the Future We Want for All”.
What is the “Going visible: Women’s rights on the internet” paper about?
Information and communication technologies (ICTs) create new scenarios, new ways for people to live, and these reflect real-life problems. Women need to assert their rights here with determination and without delay. Women may not have been an active part of policy-making conversations when internet governance started, but the rapid pace of change online means they need to participate now to ensure that the future of the internet is shaped taking into account women’s rights. For people who have little access to other kinds of publics due to the multiple forms of discrimination they face - including gender, age, class or sexuality - the internet can be a particularly important space to negotiate and realise their rights. For women, the internet is a vital public sphere due to barriers of access to media or political representation. Inequalities that women face in terms of economic power, education and access to resources also affect access and participation in shaping the internet, its debates and policy. This explains why the internet has become an increasingly critical public sphere for the claiming of citizenship rights and civil liberties, including women’s rights. For those who have little access to other kinds of “publics” due to the multiple forms of discrimination faced – including based on gender, age, economic status and sexual identity – it can be a particularly important pace for the negotiation and fulfillment of their rights.