Skip to main content

The Association for Progressive Communication (APC)’s Women Rights Programme (WRP), Sustainability and Environmental Justice Programme (SEJ), and Local Access Network Programme (LocNet) participated in the 68th edition of the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), an intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women, where the priority theme was “Accelerating the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls by addressing poverty and strengthening institutions and financing with a gender perspective”.

From 11 to 22 March 2024, APC’s participation in New York was centred on promoting and sharing its work in the field of human rights, most specifically the rights of women and people of diverse genders and sexualities. The occasion also served to share APC’s current work and focus on digital rights, including WRP’s experience on technology-facilitated, gender-based violence (TFGBV) and disinformation, and LocNet’s experience on community networks and feminist infrastructures. The meet included the promotion of the Feminist Principles of the Internet (FPIs) as a vital framework for women’s rights to interact with digital technologies from diverse perspectives and locations.

Moreover, as part of our coordinated efforts with different civil society organisations (CSOs) and UN agencies to include gender at the heart of the Global Digital Compact (GDC), it became one of our priorities to have multiple stakeholders convene and discuss how to encourage governments’ commitments to advocate a feminist GDC to protect, promote, and respect the rights and choices of women, including their economic agency.

APC’s main focus throughout its participation at CSW68 was shifting the argument of “strengthening of institutions” to questioning current power structures and reconfiguring the priority to place people and justice at the centre. This entails prioritising the needs, experiences and perspectives of individuals, particularly women and girls in all their diversity, while formulating guidelines and plans for development. It also entails always recognising and guaranteeing the inherent dignity, agency and rights of persons. In order to do so, APC’s programmes WRP, SEJ and LocNet co-hosted and participated in a range of activities. Some of them were:

The high-level parallel event, Collective action to address technology-facilitated gender-based violence: A call to action, which consisted of a roundtable discussion convened by APC, UNFPA, UN Women, The Asia Foundation (TAF), and the National Democratic Institute (NDI), together with the Government of Australia, the US Government and the Government of Canada. The discussion in this roundtable centred on generating collective action to effectively address and end TFGBV. It included the presentation of Feminist Internet Research Network’s (FIRN) current work on TFGBV and APC’s 20 years of experience on the matter. The input collected in this session was gathered and organised into a Call to Action document that will soon be published and shared for governments and institutions to adopt and follow.

Image from the session: Collective action to address technology-facilitated gender-based violence

The global South-led consortium, Our Voices, Our Futures (OVOF) that APC is part of, brought together artists, cultural groups and media representatives at the Blue Gallery in New York on 12 and 13 March through the event, ARTivism in Action, marked by two days of artistic expression and liberation where the art and work of structurally silenced groups from Uganda, India and Bangladesh, among others, were presented and shared with other feminist activists. 

Image from session: ARTivism in Action

Moreover, as part of APC’s efforts of placing gender at the heart of the GDC, APC co-organised the event, Women’s rights and choices in a digital world: Why we need a feminist Global Digital Compact, which took place on 15 March 2024. This event consisted of two sessions: firstly, a conversation throughout the morning with civil society representatives in order to generate key messages was held; and later that day, these were presented, along with how to integrate strategies to this effect directly into the GDC, to government representatives. In closing, plans were set to prepare, and share with the working group, an advocacy strategy based on the discussions to explore opportunities for joint events, learning sessions, joint submissions, social media campaigns and other collaboration opportunities.

Image from session: Women’s Rights and Choices In A Digital World: Why We Need A Feminist Global Digital Compact

Additionally, a parallel event, The philanthropy we need to power feminist tech for change, co-organised together with Numun Fund, took place on 19 March, where it was discussed how tech development is driven by a few companies concentrated in the global North. Funding feminist tech is a critical strategy towards countering this skewed distribution as it shifts power and resources to women and LBTQIA+-led groups and networks who are building and using technology for social justice in their own contexts. In this session, APC WRP and LocNet were able to share the impact of resources actually reaching those who are making and using tech at the frontlines, and offer alternative and innovative ways to think about financing digital innovation.

Image from session: The philanthropy we need to power feminist tech for change

As part of the interactive dialogue on the emerging issue of artificial intelligence to advance gender equality, APC was selected to present a statement about the challenges and opportunities of AI development and governance regarding the advancement of gender equality global goals. You can read the statement here.

Image from artificial intelligence to advance gender equality session

Finally, we celebrated the progress made by the Women’s Rights Caucus in terms of tax, debt and care in the agreed conclusions. We are worried about the pushback against gender-expansive language in some of the discussions and we share the increasing concern by the presence of anti-rights actors. Even though there were multiple acts of solidarity, rallies and events coming from different civil society and feminist organisations in solidarity to Palestinian people, APC Women’s Rights Programme believes that the CSW68 language discussions and agreed conclusions failed to properly address human rights injustices by not reflecting in their language the condemnation of foreign occupation and support of a permanent ceasefire, allowing the ongoing violence towards Palestinians derived from the occupation and settler colonialism imposed by Israel and backed by several Western states.

APC WRP believes it is fundamental to guarantee the inherent dignity, agency and rights of persons as well as keep at the forefront of all discussions the commitments standards and laws to cooperation, development, equality and peace that the international community has established. Considering these commitments, as well as all standards of international law, the lack of sanctions and repercussions to Israel’s actions in terms of disregard to human rights has created an international response that is insufficient, unjust and unacceptable. We extend an urgent and unequivocal international call to act on a different response, one that aligns with the values and objectives of our mission towards a humane and just world that places humans, not systems or institutions, at the centre of global affairs.


All images courtesy Karla Velasco Ramos

Karla Velasco Ramos is the policy advocacy coordinator of APC's Women's Rights Programme. She is passionate about community networks, internet governance, gender studies and human rights.