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This assessment tool seeks to provide step-by-step advice and concrete recommendations for those wishing to develop a gender approach to cybersecurity policy. Building on APC's previous work on a human rights approach to cybersecurity, online gender-based violence, and cybersecurity and gender, ranging from research to advocacy, this document is part of a framework we have designed to support policy makers and civil society organisations in developing gender-responsive cybersecurity policies.
This framework also includes two other documents, and we recommend that those using this assessment tool consult them before putting the principles and processes we outline here into practice:
A literature review that explores how cybersecurity as a gendered space has been addressed in research.
A document identifying norms, standards and guidelines that cybersecurity policy makers and advocates can draw on when seeking to promote a gender approach within national or multilateral cybersecurity discussions.
Drawing on the Cybersecurity Capacity Maturity Model for Nations (CMM), this assessment tool offers a method of analysis based on the stage of maturity of national policies in each country. Its focus is on the first three stages of maturity – what are called the “start-up”, “formative” and “established” stages – given that these are the most important stages where policy can be influenced. It also adapts a tool for assessing national cybersecurity strategies from a human rights perspective developed by Global Partners Digital (GPD) as part of its analytical approach.
The recommendations made here are necessarily general and need to be adapted to be meaningful to particular contexts so that the transformative power of a gender approach to cybersecurity can be realised. While our focus is on the policy development process at the national level, the principles of the approach can also be applied in regional or global multilateral cybersecurity forums and discussions.
We hope this framework proves useful for policy makers and civil society actors, among others, who wish to build resilient, meaningful and relevant cybersecurity policy frameworks in their countries.