Activism, fundraising and security online: facets of the feminist cyborg

By Flavia Fascendini Publisher: APCNews    

On December 3 and 5, a webinar on ‘Feminist Cyborgs: Activism, Fundraising and Security Online’ took place, hosted by the African Feminist Forum (AFF) and the Association for Progressive Communications (APC).

This webinar examined the idea of the feminist cyborg. The feminist cyborg is at home both online and offline, and her activism is reflected in her online life (whether it is through blogs, tweets and general online presence) as well as in what she does offline (working for a feminist organization, working with women’s rights organizations and social justice movements, or in progressive media).

The first of the panelists was Jan Moolman from South Africa, project coordinator of the Women’s Rights Programme at APC, who spoke on online security and violence against women in online spaces. You can read her presentation here .

Moolman mentioned that the internet and ICTs provide critical spaces and opportunities to exercise freedoms, claim rights, perform identities, take action, connect, and show solidarity. While more women’s rights organisations and individual women are using the internet and other ICTs, there are growing incidences of technology-related violence against women and general threats to safety and security, she said. The most common threats in online spaces include cyber stalking, sexual harassment, privacy violations and the manipulation of personal information including images and videos. These affect how we work, play, and love, Moolman pointed out.

She shared some stories such as She’s begging to be raped , Digital Security: Drop-in centre of Ugandan sex worker organisation raided , Danger and opportunity: ICTs and women human rights defenders , and Take Back the Tech! But know the risks first .

Jan also shared with the attendees some tips to keep online spaces safe, such as using https, TOR, increasing password safety, and thinking about the kind of images you are sharing with other people. She stressed that it is extremely important to recognise that context matters, as well as to know the tools you are using, to know the risks they entail, and to know your rights to defend yourself.

Next was Yara Sallam, Women Human Rights Defenders program manager for Nazra for Feminist Studies, who spoke about her experiences of activism in Egypt, and concerns around online activism. You can read her presentation here .

The third and last panelist was Spectra Asala, queer Nigerian afrofeminist writer and media activist, who shared her experiences of fundraising online to raise money to deliver training to LGBTIQ and women’s rights organizations in South Africa. You can read her presentation here .

Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah from the African Women’s Development Fund facilitated the webinar.

The webinar was repeated on 5th December with French translation. On that occasion, Francoise Mukuku from Democratic Republic of Congo replaced Jan Moolman and spoke on online security and violence against women in online spaces.

A live blog kept track of the most outstanding ideas and suggestions made by the panelists . You can also check the timeline for @GenderITorg and check the hashtags #takebackthetech and #afrifem to follow some of the conversations that took place via Twitter.

Useful resources:

Take Back the Tech
Tactical Tech’s Me and My Shadow
Connect Your Rights
Voices from digital spaces: Technology related violence against women

Other articles related to the event:

African Feminist Forum
I am An African Feminist Cyborg: Activism, Fundraising and Security Online
Crowdfunding for Activists: 5 Tips for Creating Successful Online Fundraising Campaigns .

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