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[COLUMN] How womxn in the Global South are RECLAIMING SOCIAL MEDIA to celebrate being queer

3 hours 5 min ago
In her third column, Samukelisiwe Mabaso explores how groups and people, artists and performers who are lesbian, gay, bisexual are using the internet and social media to spread messages about love, diversity, and acceptance. This includes projects like Coalition for African Lesbians, Gaysi, Ahwaa and others.

Image source: To Revolutionary Type Love. Artist/source: Kawira Mwirichia

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There is no opting out.: Indigenous women in Malaysia and questions of access

Thu, 09/07/2017 - 14:57
In this article, Serene Lim takes a closer look at how questions of access to the internet relate to the struggles of indigenous people and their movement for rights. Rather than the top-down imposition of connectivity, projects for access should align with their social context and as part of their right to sustainable development and right to equal participation.

There is no opting out. Internet connectivity and information technology are now embodied in our collective shared human condition, cutting across geographical boundaries and different spheres of our lives and identities. As governments move towards e-government, whether you like it or not, you are in a digital system of some kind or other even if you do not have access to the internet.

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Editatonas: “I edit, therefore I am”

Tue, 09/05/2017 - 08:34
Editatonas - are Wikipedia edit-a-thons that are exclusively for women. The reason for these events is to deal with the stark difference and lack of representation for women on Wikipedia as compared to men. This is also reflected in that only 10% of Wikipedian editors are women. Carmen Alcazar explores what editatonas do to change that.

Photograph of Editatona Mujeres Internacionales en la Biblioteca Vasconcelos, México by Wotancito. Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike License. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

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#NiUnaMenos: Politicising the use of technologies

Mon, 09/04/2017 - 09:45
Ni Una Menos (Not One Woman Less) is a popular feminist uprising originating in Argentina that spread across parts of Latin America, and then across to Poland, Spain and Italy as well. This article traces the origins of this fiery and defiant moment that became a hashtag and a movement, and how it links to technology and social media and to other movements across the world.

Photograph by TitiNicola, under Creative Commons License Attribution Share Alike from Wikimedia Commons.

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Zimbabwean Reflections on a Feminist Internet

Thu, 08/31/2017 - 12:26
In July 2017, an eclectic and vibrant group got together in Harare, Zimbabwe, including feminists in journalism, visual art, internet rights activism, digital security, movement building, as well as sex and sexuality rights activism. These are their reflections on the feminist principles of the internet and their value in their own context.

Image Source: Photograph by Fungai Machirori

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[COLUMN] Access and Beyond (5): How do we address the gender question?

Thu, 08/17/2017 - 08:59
In this last column by Chenai Chair following the gender implications of the research by Research ICT Africa on access, she explores how researchers and activists can proactively explore gender dimensions. Even as ITU figures point to a progressively increasing gender digital divide, there are steps to take to understand and address this divide.

Image Source: Research ICT Africa. Photograph by C Stork. Location: Mozambique surveys

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What do women’s rights have to do with the SDGs and the Internet?

Tue, 08/01/2017 - 05:31
The sustainable development goals explicitly mention gender equality, yet how will this be achieved and how is this linked to the potentially transformative role that ICTs could play. If the SDGs are going to use ICTs as a vehicle to achieve the goals then we need to use an intersectional and multi-pronged approach to ensure that women, girls and other marginalized groups are not left behind.

Short answer, everything

I recently attended the Sri Lankan Internet Governance Forum (IGF) where I spoke on a panel that discussed the linkages between the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Internet. My intervention was framed around two questions.

  1. Technology and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have been recognized as major drivers for achieving sustainable development and achieving targets across the SDGs. How are women and girls placed in this?
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Resisting Aadhaar, Resisting Islamophobia: A critical look at debates and litigation around Aadhaar

Wed, 07/19/2017 - 08:25
As the Supreme Court of India determines the contours of the right to privacy and who in Indian territory has it, Mythri Prasad-Aleyamma critiques many of the assumptions around the opposition to Aadhar. This critique is grounded in the differences of how surveillance and privacy are known and experienced by those who are vulnerable for varied reasons, but especially those who are migrants, Muslim or of lowered castes.

Queing up for Aadhar. Image source: By Biswarup Ganguly, 2012 from Wikimedia Commons. CC license Attribution.

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[COLUMN] Access and beyond: Gendered barriers to internet use

Fri, 07/14/2017 - 08:53
Gendered barriers to internet access can range from social and cultural barriers imposed within family or by partners to extraneous factors relevant to all - such as affordability of data and devices. In this column Chenai Chair examines the specificity of how access is different for women and men.

Image source: author

Connecting the next billion, is rightly so, an important issue in ensuring everyone has the choice to access the internet. Women, and in particular those with low levels of income and education, are more likely to be the unconnected. However, gaining access is one thing, but what are the challenges that limit men and women’s experience of the internet and present a barrier to access? In this penultimate article reflecting on the finding from Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Rwanda, we look at the gendered barriers to internet access and use.

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[COLUMN] How women in the Global South are RECLAIMING SOCIAL MEDIA to promote body positivity

Tue, 07/11/2017 - 09:54
In this column, Samukelisiwe explores how women in the global South have started using social media to make up for the lack of representation of black and brown women in mainstream media. Women of colour, people with disability, gender non conforming persons and others now use the internet to explore their image and their body, and form communities that celebrate different ways of being.

Image sources: Photograph(left) by Amanda Hirsch; Photograph(right) by Nicole Marie Edine. Licensed under CC Attribution

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Framing access and power at Stockholm Internet Forum 2017

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 10:46
The Stockholm Internet Forum 2017 focused their discussions on the links between access and power. In this article Shaikh Rafia Sarwar examines how access is linked to women's empowerment and particularly their economic empowerment. And whether the debate around access should focus on economic, cultural and social empowerment of women through and outside technology, rather than ensuring access to devices and internet via civil society projects.

Photo taken by author at SIF 2017

Hundreds of activists, advocates, journalists, researchers, donors, and just about everyone else converged into the second-largest archipelago in the Baltic Sea – the city of Stockholm – to discuss powe“r and access online. 10PM sun aside, this year’s Stockholm Internet Forum (#SIF17) for easy tracking of the event on Twitter) was stronger than ever before and saw its participants and panelists talk about some real hard and somewhat depressing questions.

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[COLUMN] Access and Beyond: Navigating mobile costs in communication

Thu, 06/15/2017 - 16:38
Africa is flooded with zero rating services such as Free Basics (Facebook’s zero rating scheme) and other subsidised data strategies. Do these schemes make internet more affordable and bring access to more people? In this column Chenai Chair examines whether ordinary people perceive such schemes as useful.

Photograph by Omaranabulsi under CC BY-SA 3.0 license

 

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[COLUMN] How women in the global south are RECLAIMING SOCIAL MEDIA to combat femicide

Thu, 06/08/2017 - 11:11
In this new column on reclaiming social media for addressing women's issues and feminist concerns, Samukelisiwe Mabaso begins by looking at the rising rates of femicide in South Africa (and other parts of the world). Various spontaneous movements led and powered by women have arisen and use technology and social media to amplify their voices and ensure their demands are met.

In May 2017, countless South African women took to Twitter and Facebook to share their harrowing experiences of abuse under the hashtag #MenAreTrash. The outpour of tweets and Facebook posts was sparked by the murder of Karabo Mokoena, a 22-year-old woman who was allegedly killed and burned by her boyfriend. Although the wording of #MenAreTrash has caused controversy, that will not be the focal point of this column.

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Tackling the gender digital divide in Africa

Thu, 06/01/2017 - 08:49
The coming of the digital age and of information technology promises that those 'left out' or excluded from development will be to access their rights and enjoy a higher standard of living. But what is the truth for African women - are the experiences of all 'marginal' women being lumped together and how far away is the promise of equal access and gender equity.

Republished from author’s blog Koliwe Majama

The emergence of the internet is touted as an opportunity for women in Africa to ‘play catch up’ after years of being ‘left out’ in the mainstream media.

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[COLUMN] Access and Beyond: Motivations for internet use

Thu, 05/11/2017 - 08:32
In this column, Chenai Chair explores motivations of internet use through the ResearchICT Africa study in Rwanda, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa. Business, local and global communication, social ties, and curiosity seem to be the main motivators. By understanding why people go online, we can better shape interventions for a connected society.

Field picture taken from 2011 survey: Source Research ICT Africa.

Do you remember why you went online for the first time in your life? This is my favourite question that you may not have yet thought about – but it reflects the  starting point in becoming a netizen.

This is the second in the series of columns on Access and Beyond that chronicles the research conducted by Research ICT Africa in Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa and Nigeria. In this column I focus on motivations for internet use.

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Working out access on our own: Community projects, gender and internet

Tue, 05/02/2017 - 00:00
As our cities turn smart and countries turn digital the gender gap in terms of internet access is disturbing. The lack of access directly relates to the loss of rights of women and minorities. Sadly there is a long way to go before we close this gap. Chinmayi S K explores projects that attempted in innovative ways to address the digital gender gap online.

Image from Rights Con Brussels 2017 website

Wikipedia describes internet access as “the process that enables individuals and organisations to connect to the internet using computer terminals, computers, mobile devices, sometimes via computer networks“.

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A place for all: On being diverse and inclusive @RightsCon

Fri, 04/28/2017 - 10:27
More than 1,500 business leaders, civil society advocates, policy makers, lawyers, bloggers, technologists, and users participated in RightsCon Brussels 2017 (March) and there were over 250 sessions related to human rights and technology. Serene Lim explores the ways in which inequity was addressed at the forum, and how exclusion and marginalisation were framed in various sessions.

Image from original work ‘Web Women Want’ by Willow Brugh. Licensed under cc-by-sa-2.0.

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The internet of Things: smart devices, quantified self, dolls and vibrators

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 10:28
If an object has a chip, it becomes smart, and by extension our houses become smarter - and so do our cities, hospitals, toys, phones. But what about the inventors, the creators, the owners, the users of all these smart and tiny things - are we becoming smarter? Reflecting on sessions in Rights Con 2017 in Brussels, Vale examines the ways in which the internet of things can lead to invasive datafication and surveillance, and violate internet rights.

Image by Namita Aavriti, courtesy Cayla the hackable doll

If an object has a chip, it becomes smart, and by extension our houses become smarter – and so do our cities, hospitals, toys, phones. But what about the inventors, the creators, the owners, the users of all these smart and tiny things – are we becoming smarter?

I am fascinated by the ubiquitous ability of internet technologies to animate things, transform them into hubs, bypass walls and diminish distances.

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10 ways to make Twitter work for feminist activism

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 13:25
How to bring the powerful agency and discourse of women's rights movements and feminism to the digital age of Twitter and other social media. Samukelisiwe Mabaso has researched on various movements across Africa and Asia that successfully and effectively use technology, and shows us ten ways in which to make Twitter work for feminist activism. Lets get in formation!

Audre Lorde. Image source

I decided to do a little exercise, I typed #feminism in Twitter’s search bar and the top tweet that came up was this comic that immediately spoke to me.

!{width:400px}http://www.genderit.org/sites/default/upload/brown_paperbag_comic.jpg((Screenshot by author.

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[COLUMN] Open software movements, open content, free culture: Where are the women?

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 11:31
The gender balance is far from equal even in progressive movements such as the free and open source software community, Mozilla user groups, and others. Despite all the rivers of ink that were written about the gender imbalance in these areas, the changes are slow to arrive.

In 2011 a study by GroupLens revealed the gender imbalance on Wikipedia, and there was an outpouring of articles in the global media about the notorious absence of women in the world’s largest virtual encyclopedia. At that point the Wikimedia Foundation set in motion an ambitious plan to try to incorporate more women. Above all, user groups appeared, making it their business to get more women involved as their main goal.

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