September 29, 2011 - 09:00AM
The following is the output of the real-time captioning taken during the Sixth Meeting of the IGF, in Nairobi, Kenya. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the session, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>> ANITA GURUMURTHY: Let me just tell you what I know about the role of the Dynamic Coalition.
I think that there are multiple dynamic coalitions based on different kinds of interest that are loosely affiliated to the kind of official process that happens in the IGF. The IGF itself and its official process has a series of dialogues, conversations, organised through panels, workshops, and all of that. And the Dynamic Coalition is part of that process.
I think one important thing to keep in mind is that if we wanted to as the Gender Dynamic Coalition make a statement at the closing session tomorrow, we could, which would be to address some of the emerging concerns we may have about access, about diversity, about improvements to the IGF, or about privacy, security, openness, or any such issue that we think is critical to table in relation to the wider debates that are happening at the IGF. That would be a good opportunity tomorrow to make a statement about what we have observed, perhaps thinking of compiling these cards that they have sent out. I don't know if that is something that is going to happen beyond the duration of the IGF, or it's going to be presented tomorrow at the last session; so in terms of the agenda profiling of those cards which talk about participation and the profile, based on gender, or the panels.
So, I think one decision to make would be to see if any of you here in APC particularly would be keen on making such a statement, and what the content of that would be.
I'm not here tomorrow. But if any drafting is done, then I'm happy to contribute to it.
The second thing that is of interest is also what we can do in relation to the IGF process at large, in relation to the next IGF, and in the interim from now to then, how our individual independent activities in our own organisations can contribute to a kind of wider perspective that we can feed into the IGF.
This can be something that we all do individually, and then come back and like the premeeting this year, we could actually online have an exchange and come to an agreement on things that we want to bring to Azerbaijan, or to the statements that the IGF invites before the official event happens.
So there is a last date by which you can give a position paper. You can give your submission.
So that would probably be an opportunity to say, well, from now to next year, we will, you know, go back and do these things, and from this will emerge our insights about what does security mean, what does privacy mean, what does anonymity mean and what openness in this space means, and from a gender perspective, this is what we would really like to add to the debate or bring to the table.
I think the efforts like Magaly pointed out in the past have been in that direction of trying to see if between every IGF that we meet and the next that we meet, if there is any possibility to come together as a group.
And it's difficult, because we have our own stuff to do when we go back. And we would all, we are organised in a loose way without committed resources and a committed agenda.
So the point of entry is, how does what we do independently kind of come together, and is there a way by which you give it a body, where we can somehow add all the pieces of each of our individual works to make it a larger picture, and represent what may be gender perspectives into the IGF process. I think, so we should probably speak about the ideas we have.
>> I was just asking if Dafne knows, from APC, if there is, was any intentions to have a public statement, or because I'm not part of APC directly, so I'm not sure, the gender report cards.
>> DAFNE: No, I don't know yet. But I think a report on the green cards would come, yeah, after. But I don't know if they are going to present it in the last session, or it will be after, you know, the IGF. But I can check that.
>> I think what may be worthwhile, therefore, I mean, and also seems to be more constructive, given that there is more ambiguity rather than clarity, is for us to at least talk about how we think the work that we will do, or we are doing, already can tie into how we have seen the debates in the IGF, so if we can kind of reflect about that, then we can probably plot how maybe three months down the line, we can connect again online, and see if there is a possibility to come up with a few areas of clarity that will shape the agenda of the gender caucus, provided of course we want to stay engaged.
I think part of the problem, Magaly will agree, is that different years, other than maybe a handful of us, three to four people, you know, even APC women, I think I have seen consistently the participation of three to four people, but beyond that as a wider network of civil society actors, there aren't too many people.
And it also depends on the money that people have, for instance, people like Heika who have off and on, she is a scholar and activist from Germany, she comes and she is able to be part of it sometimes, and then she goes away.
So it is a difficult area, because the debates are so scattered and sometimes so dense, and sometimes couched in the whole language of the technical things.
So, I think what would be ideal is for us to say, okay, this is what I'm doing, and here is what I connect it to at the IGF. Maybe if through that, we can develop a conversation, which means giving some time to that eList or that space through the next few months, and then we can come back and take it somewhere.
Otherwise it's just a, we meet and then there is another group that is meeting next year in the name of the coalition.
>> AISHA: For me, it's been very interesting, being part of these discussions, to understand some of the debates around issues of protection, especially in terms of child pornography and how that intersects with sexuality, because this is a very new topic for me. With our work with the Violence Is Not Our Culture campaign, we are looking at culture not only as a source of disempowerment and a barrier, which it certainly is, but also is a source of empowerment and how can communities, especially from a gender perspective, re-claim aspects of culture and tradition that are positive.
I was in a session yesterday that was looking at issues of vulnerable people, vulnerable communities, and their access to ICTs. And I found the framing of that a little problematic because vulnerable communities was everyone, all women, all children, all migrants, all poor people. There was many interesting perspectives. But I thought, even from the organizational perspective, it was about protection. How do we protect vulnerable communities online, and who is vulnerable in what ways.
The issue of child protection came up, and I had shared that one of our campaign partners in Senegal last year had for the first time for them made the connections between FGM, which they work on, and using the Internet for empowerment.
So they had gone in and trained school children, boys and girls in a local school around how to use the Internet for finding out information about what laws nationally and internationally protected them against FGM, how to create an online petition, how to sign other online petitions and how to E-mail their members of parliament.
This was really interesting to me, and the actual name of their project was called, children protect themselves against FGM, and I thought that that was very important. The little snippets that I've heard here and there have been very much about how do we protect vulnerable groups, and women get subsumed into children and other people like this.
I think if we can look at how people can empower themselves, whether it's children, whether it's women, whether it's sexual minorities, I think that turning the debate on its head might be helpful, and something that I know that me and my colleagues could maybe help inform.
>> ANITA GURUMURTHY: Yeah, I think this kind of construct of the connections between what we believe and how we connect to the debates that we are allowed to discourse, we see around in the space, is what the statement of the gender caucus typically is on the last day. So this would be a useful entry point. The gender caucus can place on record its concerns about the connection between women's rights and Internet, that's made time and again and repeatedly around discourses of disempowerment rather than of how rights is not about protection, but rights is really about an active agency that women can exercise to claim their space to be equal participants in this public sphere or this public space that the Internet is.
So to actually say that while concerns about protection may be valid, in view of the fact that there is an invasion of privacy, there is a threat to women's safety, that the wider debate about women's rights cannot be confined to that extremely narrow band of protection, because it completely obfuscates, eclipses women's access to this public space. This can be perhaps one of the things. Jan is here.
>> I think it's important for us to also register our name and our organisation, because I think it's going to a document, and so when we talk, it's useless if we don't state our name and our organisation. Let me start it by saying, although you know me, I'm Jillen and I'm from the women's legal and human rights bureau from the Philippines.
One particular question that I would like to pose particularly in relation to this discussion, is are we comfortable in using the word "gender"? What does gender means for us? Because I think in the Philippines, we have a discussion or debate in terms of sometimes how gender try to make our issues on feminism very subtle, and if we are really targeting women; so we use women's caucus, I think that is so on, we have to discuss what do we really want.
But if we want to include let's say other genders, and I'm not talking of male and female, and that is basically one confusion that we have in this debate, that when we talk of gender it's just male and female, and excuse me, it's not; of course, we know about that. In the Internet Governance Forum it's basically a heterosexual, I mean male and female.
And we have to be very clear when we speak of gender. So I'm proposing if we want to focus more in the southeast Asia and we do it as women's caucus, because the women's movements is very vibrant in southeast Asia. It is a group of the women's movements. Then there is another group, LGB DQI, their own issues also, and then we meet as a group I mean.
So that's one.
My second question, so I'm just going to pose a lot of questions, is if we are going to use women or gender, what does, and connect it Internet Governance, what it means to us. What is Internet Governance to women? I can only speak on behalf of maybe some women, but not the gender, because it means I would be representing other gender identities which I think I won't be able to do it.
One particular issue that we are raising and even in the gender report card that APC is trying to propose is the participation, but it's basically representation, I mean attending, and we are not even talking of meaningful participation and representation.
I think it's very clear right now in terms of the turnout of this discussion that meaningful participation and representation in the IGF is really not that I mean very strong, or not strong at all. It is really among us, convincing ourselves. If we really would want to promote this kind of let's say discourse or debate, I think we also have to do some, I mean to mention by Anita from India, sorry, I have to say that, you have mentioned -- hail India! (chuckles) that we have to, in a way, ensure that we are doing meaningful representation in our issues, we are asserting in all the debates, and we are not just confined in discussing all this thing in our safe space.
This is a safe space for us. We should be able to integrate all our women's issues, our rights issues, in all the plenary sessions in the main event.
It's basically dominated by men, dominated by those in the private sector, who doesn't even understand our issues as women. And as Aisha mentioned, when they speak of vulnerable groups, they try to make it convoluted with all those, I mean child, I mean we are not even affect -- we are half of the population of the entire world, so there should be an assertion, but there should be a discussion among women.
Then when we influenced, my last point is on strategies. I think it's also important that if we are really for these women's caucus or gender caucuses, we also have to organise ourselves. I think round table discussion like this would work.
But I think there is also an expectation in other women's groups also, from others that are from other identities and so on and so forth, to at least, I mean to be very strategic in a way. It is not just grabbing the space, although I do understand what Magaly from Brazil is saying, that we have to grab the space when we have it; that is why we are asserting now, that even though we are not too much but we are still trying to do this.
But I think when we grab the space, we have to be very strategic at the same time, how this particular space can contribute or feed to the other session, and feed to the overall framework of the IGF. It is a challenge. It is going to be a challenge, from this day forward, and so on, the next day. Thank you.
>> ANITA GURUMURTHY: Quickly for you guys, we decided that we will open it up, because in terms of the consistency of the people in the Gender Dynamic Coalition, there has been so much fluidity that we can't assume that all of us know the historical continuity.
To that extent, we just said let's have a very brief history of how it evolved, from Rio when we got a room and all of that, and also to acknowledge it has been difficult probably outside of the APC women's group to have diverse people constantly being able to attend and being able to participate and shape a women's rights agenda, because various things, including the fact that there may not be time, may not be resources to attend all the IGFs and all of that.
So, to say that for tomorrow, if the coalition may have space to make a statement, what could that include; and second, to see if, from going on from here, to the coming IGFs, is there a possibility for us to link through our own work, because that is the most logical way we can shape the debate.
Find the connections between the themes of the IGF, from access to diversity, to openness, privacy, security, the larger issues of the nature of the IGF, its structure, its future and all of that, so that from the standpoint of our individual locations and our work emerges a connection to some particular debate we want to influence.
So, these were the two things that we said we would start with. So we have been sharing what we have seen in the past few days, that may be pertinent to a discussion in the coalition.
So you have each heard Jillen. And I just spoke about the whole, the overhang of the protectionist language that comes about whenever you mention women's rights, and vulnerability seems to be the dominant way by which we characterize women's location vis-a-vis the Internet, rather than also looking at how empowerment, and the fact that the space of the Internet can be equally empowering, and she gave the example of a campaign in Senegal.
And this bring to it the whole relationship between how cultures can be reclaimed as empowering spaces, and the relationship between cultural discourses around FGM and many other debates. And the example of Senegal was located around an online campaign which sought to bring women together, to actually say that they can do something, they can write to members of the parliament, how do you, building the capacity, how do you prepare an online petition, how do you participate in framing that political debate and empowering, re-claiming the Internet, as also being active agents shaping that political debate.
So that was the example. I don't know if I did justice.
>> Absolutely, thanks for summarizing. But to clarify, that it was specifically with children who were learning to re-claim their rights and use online tools, which I, in Senegal.
>> My name is Solome. I'm from Portugal.
>> Okay. I've been part of some of the sessions, and looking at what may be the connections. I think that when you attend a session, and it's framed in the language of, let us say, the improvements to the IGF, which is one of the sessions I attended yesterday, or you attend a session on connections between Internet Governance and development, IG4D, which is the main panel, I think all of this somehow connects to debates around the global power relations between countries, the inability or the barriers that may be there for members of developing countries to come into a Forum like this, and also influence the debates. Of course, it's logical, right? If you are not in the space, you cannot influence the debates.
And the various layers of exclusion which are too subtle, and sometimes in the rhetoric it's not there. In the rhetoric everything is inclusive. It's multistakeholder. Civil society is sitting with Government, is sitting with private sector, ostensibly being able to dialogue. Dialogue itself presupposes a conversation with an equitable situation.
And therefore, I think that some of the things that the gender caucus should concern itself with, should also be this kind of, and we do it very well, I mean, the unpacking of the rhetoric which seems to be so good on the surface, which seems to be so all inclusive, so, you know, so perfect in terms of the multistakeholderism.
And I think that to problematize that is very important, because from a feminist perspective, that is what I think all of us are, I mean trained and committed to doing, how do you see exclusions operating? Because even when you talk about the diverse women's movements, the conversation in Asia as also the global south and other regions is that exclusion is not one thing; that you are welcome is not enough. There has to be more.
And therefore, the label of multistakeholderism may not just be enough to ensure that debates become therefore inclusive. And I was at one of these workshops yesterday where a gentleman made a very interesting point, that in a democracy, and of course he cited some political scientist, and the name escapes me, that in democracy the majority will make decisions, not because the majority deems it fit to design on behalf of everybody, but that it is all based on certain basic principles, ethics, and whenever an issue is raised by the minority, even if the majority makes a decision, it is the power of the constitutionalism, the fact that there is something bigger than that majority, that is what counts.
I think in the IGF space, that constitutionalism is not clear.
So in our countries, we fight legal battles. We fight battles to say, let us get this policy out. Let us have this law out. Where does it say in terms of women's civil and political rights, does it say women have a right to vote? An equal right to vote. Does it say women have an equal right to education? That constitutionalism then governs the way in which different Governments, right wing, left wing, middle wing, whatever, they interpret, and then of course there are possible redressals, ways to go and challenge it.
I feel that the constitutionalism of the IGF is just a vacuum, and it's highly suspect, in the sense that there are no, people go round and round in all the workshops discussing how they could get closer to it, and there is a deep, somewhat, I feel, naive faith that going round and round itself will give rise to some principles three years down the line, you know.
So I want, I think that one of the things we need to do is to unpack that.
The second thing is something that I would like to do, and I would certainly love for having conversations around this, is when we talk about openness of the Internet, what is the meaning of the openness? That is something that I think would be very useful.
And I mean, my organisation and I would love to really look at that, because for me that is a very important bottom line principle, which is not just threatened by, you know, at the national level by cultural interests, and oh, the men don't have access because the family doesn't allow the girl to go to a public access point, or laptop is purchased for the brother but not for -- I don't think it's only at that level, but openness is also architecture in terms of private sector control, state control and all that.
I think to talk about and develop proper case studies around openness, to actually elucidate what that actually means, of course, there is multiple entry points. One could talk about privacy security, while improving the debates around protectionism. One could talk about that privacy has not been protectionism. You cannot conflate the two.
I think openness is also an important debate and would be useful for the women's movements, because the openness, the Internet is something we should value. It is like the politically equivalent to keep the political space Democratic in the national public sphere. I would think that the analogy to the Internet space would be to keep it open, in the sense of keep it open at the network architecture level, and to keep it public in terms of its public policy aspects.
>> Hi, would you like to come and join us? We are having a Gender Dynamic Coalition. You are very welcome to come forward and join.
>> ANITA GURUMURTHY: I want to answer Jillen's point. If anybody else wants to answer, it's fine. Magaly, you want to answer about the women's caucus, gender caucus, because she raised the point. I can provide clarification. Others can too.
Chat and Jack have been part of this debates for years. They will also be, but my take on this is like this is the history of the association of women's movements, with the World Summit and information society has been, it came in this decade, when the whole concept of women's rights and women's movements and all of that had been rather co-opted in the UN debates, and it was with great difficulty I think during the WSIS that a caucus was formed. And within that, the naming itself was a very contested thing, and they desired to keep it open because they felt that anybody who wants to talk about gender equality should be in this caucus.
In my opinion, it was a big mess, because partly there were also women representing multiple interests, including private sector interests, and all of that.
But therefore, to be still, what is relevant for us to know is in 2005, when we went to Tunis, and 2003, Geneva, 2003 Geneva, women's movements are there associated with the process. Actually some of them walked out from Asia because they felt that the process was highly depoliticized, and they said it's not working, multistakeholder model of gender caucus is not working. But there were many other strategic reasons.
Obviously you need to keep up the flag. That is very basic minimum. And the second thing is that huge money has been invested by UNFM, and they couldn't see that process not taken to closure. It was an accountability issue.
So it continued with the same name. After there was this WSIS, two kind of mandates emerged. One was to have a global alliance for ICT and development, IGF is mandated to look at a particular solution to the global governance of the Internet, and the naming has just been a historical thing.
It was decided to call it a gender caucus because the establishment has, in the powers that be, recognize only that. I mean, they just say, okay, gender, they recognize that. There has been no women's lobby in the sense of, when you say programme and modularize women, women from Asia, for instance, there has been no discourse around that at all.
And far too few people take interest in this domain, in the whole domain of Internet Governance, but not us as individuals but organisations. Only when you have a ground swell and critical mass of interested organisations, the ones that go to Osian are the ones that go to world social Forum, are you going to see a difference.
We have tried I think with APC to bring together people, to talk to them in accessible ways, but that the political import of why we should be here is lost. Only when that emerges, and some of us perhaps may have the guts to stand up and say, we are not going to be part of this, we are the women's voice and it's not that, or we might say we will be part of the gender D.C. and still speak women's rights language. We subvert that space.
That kind of thing has to happen, because I empathize with your position. I feel like that, that I can't speak for multiple genders. My work and my position are not nuanced enough. I have the limitations of my perspectives. I can speak in terms of the representational politics of a certain context, which is too small. The problem remains. We still go along with the problem because there is no critical mass.
Every year we clarify to people like you what it is, whatever. And there is that flicker of hope, that women will be able to, women as in women's movements, will be able to influence the IGF some day. It somehow seems opportunistic maybe because we come here, we do this talking and we don't organise after we go back. But that is sad.
>> Shall we introduce ourselves quickly, so we know who is here? I think it will be best. I'm Jenny from APC.
>> I'm Jan from APC.
>> I'm Aisha from Women Living under Muslim Laws.
>> I'm Solome from ISLOC Portugal chapter.
>> Dafne from APC.
>> I'm Magaly from Brazil.
>> I'm Jillen from the Women's Legal and Human Rights Bureau from the Philippines.
>> I'm Rosa from Bangladesh.
>> I'm Kenny Savina from Union of Tanzania Press Clubs.
>> My name is Abu Carlson, also coming from the Union of Tanzania Press Clubs from Tanzania.
>> I'm Jo Ann Lemure from Tanzania Organisation for Youth Sports.
>> My name is Anita. I'm from an NGO called IT for change in India.
>> I would like to pose more questions.
I know that there are a lot of, even in the international criminal court, they have a gender group also, but it's just that, I mean thank you for the clarification, Anita. But I think in this kind of discussions especially if we have a very clear objective in terms of how we will influence the IGF, sometimes we have to be really strategic, especially if our voice is very small.
When we speak of let's say gender equality, I mean what do we really mean by that? I mean, of course we have lots of meaning in the books and all these things. But what do we mean by gender equality in the aspect of gender or rather of the Internet Governance Forum?
Then my, the same with the women's rights, I mean, in terms of how it was, how it has been abused by the politics, and the women's rights discourse, I think the same goes also with the word gender. That is why I'm saying these things, because if not, then I would, there would be no people or there would be no women's groups trying to question that discourse on gender, because gender has also been abused in many ways.
For example, we have few men here, and I hope that they also share the same sentiments, but in this gender caucus, if let's say a man will come here and say he would be bringing his multiple discrimination or, and then so how do we, I mean, I really don't know, I mean, how do we prioritize, how do we strategize, given that this is one of the only way that we have or space that we have to discuss this very particular issues on women.
Sometimes when we have this, I know you have a lot of history or her story on how the gender caucus was created.
But maybe as we go along, with the IGF, maybe we have to also think of ways how to improve it better, and how we could really represent the voices of the marginalized groups particularly of women. That's all.
>> JENNY: This has been my first IGF, although I have attended some of the WSIS, I think two of the WSIS processes.
I think what has struck me is how the issues that we deal are just not represented. I found it quite remarkable. I think if we are going to think strategically, I agree that we need to have some kind of definition as to what we mean by gender. Do we want to call ourselves a woman's caucus? If so, why? Where is our strategy going to be? I think even at a very basic level, to look at making sure that we have women speaking on issues, because we have women who know what the issues are, and for some reason there are very few women speaking on panels.
It feels like representation is the one issue. I think also being strategic about where, which sessions we go to in order to raise our issues, and I think definitions, I assumed that there would be an understanding of human rights from a woman's rights perspective, and maybe because I was being naive and not thinking that we are in a space that is not that inclusive, not that inclusive.
I think also that there is a lot of dealing with technical issues, and when those are dealt with there is no thought about human rights links to the technical issues, that the whole thought is not with the approach. We need, there are a lot of women techies, to bring them here, to make sure they are represented. The issue about the protectionist debate, some very nice young people here, but they have been brought here for a purpose.
There is a lot of strategic thinking from people who don't share our agenda. We need to be quite clear about how are we going to approach that.
I think issues of representation are huge. Another point, as I'm thinking of a strategic place to perhaps discuss how, this is a separate issue, how are we going to continue trying to get women's rights groups involved in issues of women's communication rights, particularly around the IGF, because it seems like we need our struggle here strengthened in many ways, and perhaps even -- yeah, I mean, that's it for me.
>> Good morning, everyone. My name is Beryl from the Kenya Human Rights Commission. First of all, I want to say thank you to APC because it is APC that brought to our attention the IGF. And so I just think that one of the ways in which you can, to answer your question, one of the ways in which you can bring other women's rights organisations into IGF issues is also to spread the word. A lot of times people don't get to know what is happening, because no one is advertising. No one is announcing them.
But through word of mouth or these days through E-mails, we get to know what is happening around the world. So anyone who has information, share information. And I think that way, we can go forward.
So thanks to APC for having brought this to our attention, although much later on also another organisation brought it to our attention. So I think we just take responsibility and take care of other partners and coalition members. Thank you.
>> Hi, everyone. Eva Calaki from the Kenya Human Rights Commission.
>> I think most of what I'm going to say has been covered by everybody else, but I'll repeat. This is my third IGF. One thing I notice this time, there definitely appear to have been some shifts around the discourses of protection. I'm hearing much less talk about child protection this time around than I'm hearing about vulnerability.
I think that's an interesting shift, because I think it was in Egypt, there was very little talk about vulnerability and more talk about child protection.
The thing though that is common, as Anita and others have said, is the framing around vulnerability from the perspective of protectionism and it's patronizing and paternalistic, and there has been no talk about women's agency at all.
I was in the regional dialogues, the regional report backs yesterday, and there was absolutely no mention of women's rights or women's concerns or anything apart from one input from the South African IGF.
That was telling, that, but it wasn't surprising. I think that this -- sorry, I need to go back to the other points. I think the points that again Anita is raising around deciding what of the areas that we want to look into more specifically, and then again to drill down to what that means for us, like area of openness, like when we are talking about privacy and security and safety, because often the sense is in these context, they don't mean the same thing as they mean to us. The only way that we can begin to even express what it means to us is if we spend time thinking about it, and also the importance of documenting and sharing in a way that, that is as a strategy, because, and I think that is one thing that kind of people working on child protection have been very successful at, as in terms of inserting it as a key and political agenda, because there has been lots of documentation around it.
And then also just to say over the last two years, I think, at every Gender DC meeting, we have been very enthusiastic and we have left and said, yes, we are going to, there is going to be moments, we are going to work on this. And over the years, it disappears and it comes back up about a month before the IGF.
So for us to be very careful in thinking about practically and realistically what can we do as a group, because there are some Dynamic Coalitions which are very organised, but I think my sense is that is because these are kind of focal points, like the Dynamic Coalition on Internet rights and principles has a very focused issue that they are dealing with.
>> I think the point Jan made about evidence building and the way that is really powerful in presentations, and what is also missing is that we are not sharing the tangible, practical, real and amazing work that we are doing, using technologies as women's rights activists. I mean, even being in a session around mobile phones, there is so much that is happening but people are not hearing about it here. The work we are doing around the link between violence against women and technologies, and this is I think in a way a kind of educative role to put it plainly, and we need evidence to share in order to be taken more seriously.
>> Maybe it's better now to hear the voice of a man in this kind of discussion here.
I have been attending almost all IGF, and I have been very much involved in national and regional IGF.
But I have never seen any discussion in the national and regional IGF about gender and women. Now I'm very much afraid that if we discuss the issues of gender and trying to see how we can improvise or how we can improve communication rights of women at the very high level, without trying to influence the national and regional IGF to discuss the same issues, we might be fighting a dinosaur, a very big animal that we cannot defeat.
I think it is our responsibilities as well, that to try to make sure that we influence national and regional IGF to discuss issues about gender. But those people who are very much marginalized should start talking loudly, and I see you women, and we of course who are marginalizing you should be rather support you.
So I appeal to you all here. I know you are coming from various countries, and in your countries, you have your national IGF. And you have your regional IGF. Please start discussing these issues at that level, and then come to the higher level, and on our side we shall try to influence our coordinators in the national and regional level to start discussing issues of women's communication rights.
>> I'm Kenny. Maybe to add on to what my colleague has just said, the discussion here is around gender and Internet.
Maybe it's important when we are talking about issues to do with gender and rights and things of that kind, also to look at the aspect of representation, because at the end of the day, like my colleague said, there are some groups in the society who are hoarding these rights. When I was just entering here, I was like to hear that in some situations if you are a parent buying a laptop, they might buy a laptop for a boy child and not a girl child. These are the parents doing so, and probably this could be the father deciding that it's important to buy a laptop for a boy child, not a girl child.
If we are to come up with a sustainable solution or conducive environment which is supportive to this kind of gender rights, I think it's important we look at the aspect of representation, that we have the responsibility holders, obligation holders, and the rights holders discussing together, so that those who are not providing that kind of right are also hearing and sharing together what they think could be the best solution to the prevailing situations.
This is my thought.
>> Just taking off, thank you for the comments from our male participants here. And I would like to go on with Anita's recommendation, in particular, in terms of if we will come up with a statement. I think it was very clear that one particular statement that we have in this IGF is our meaningful representation, I mean, women's meaningful participation here.
I do agree that there should be an assertion among women or even across genders for that particular space. But sometimes if there is no really space, it's really difficult to struggle. I mean, you already know what I'm saying. It's really difficult.
So of course, that is why we have to lobby. We have to assert. And I think we have to be very clear with our statement here. That is why I'm proposing that that would be our particular recommendation, a meaningful and substantive participation for women in the IGF, that it should be recognized in all the national, regional and even particularly in the international, in the Internet Governance Forum.
And I think, although I do understand that we are doing some work at the national and regional level, but I also agree, but I also believe that there is also a need to lobby here at the international level, because sometimes your voice is very small at the national and regional. That is why you have to come together here at the international level.
So your voice will be heard. So I think it's more of a strategy in terms of how you do all these multi level advocacy.
>> ANITA GURUMURTHY: I also think that for me, the substantive meaningful participation is, you know, we assume coming from the history of the women's movement that there is a shared understanding about what that is.
And the IGF is a peculiar animal, and the givens of the other World Summits, if you look at the UN summit on population in development or look at the Rio summit, I mean of the 2000s, that decade of the '90s, I don't think that those things hold good in some ways, which is why I said that our statement, whether it's made at the plenary tomorrow or generally shared charter of understanding of what the space is, should acknowledge what is this political space within which and in relation to which we are acting and want to act.
And so decoding the nature of the beast is very important. When you say meaningful substantive participation, for instance, if there is a representative of, a lady sitting on my table yesterday at dinner was, with whom we had conversation, was a senior management person from AT&T. And AT&T is one of the most powerful corporates in the U.S., and it is an ISP.
So what would her perspective, her substantive meaningful perspective be, is very different from what I would think is my substantive meaningful perspective around gender equality, even assuming that hers would be to strive within her industry, and I'm not discounting her efforts, and I'm sure that people like her are there in the world, who within their corporate context are really fighting a horribly slippery battle vis-a-vis the glass ceiling. And I completely respect and want to lend my might to that struggle.
But here I think, what does substantive meaningful participation and representation of interests, I think the word interests is important, and that the interests is a complex thing which has to be done in relation to the discourse, in relation to the political space, and that has to be from the standpoint of marginality, which we define in a certain way, at this historic moment, marginality today in relation to the communities we work and in relation to the populations we work is framed in relation to economic globalization, the fact that national autonomy in countries are losing the sovereignty, the fact that national policies are always being made in relation to increasing policies around global economics, the fact that at the level of communities there is huge amount of even conflict in the context of, I would say, civic wars conflict, the need for peace and peace dialogue.
So we really need to frame it from that standpoint, and bring to the table interests of these women, in relation to the Internet, what opportunities it might present for their voice, and what barriers there exist for them to be able to claim the space, including barriers in relation to the state market and nonstate actors.
I think if we have a kind of a shared understanding about this, is when we will also have a shared understanding around what the substantive actually means.
>> Fine. Maybe we discussed the issue of barriers while we want to design our statement at the plenary. When we discuss issues about barrier, let us start at the first family unit, and the first barrier is conjugal dictatorship, conjugal dictatorship, whereby a man is dictating on a woman, and that is why you see a man denying a woman her communication right. And these conjugal dictatorship cannot be fought through maybe physical or hardware issues.
Let us deal with the software of the human being, in the head.
So whenever we design something, let us handle the first barrier. The second barrier is the state dictatorship whereby state does not provide equal opportunities to men and women, discriminating women more than men. Here, we have to look into policies, budgets, do we have gender budgets, do we have policy that are quite gender inclusiveness, or rather can we have positive discrimination, whereby we put equitable amount of resources to one side of the unit, that is very much discriminated. And we can go as well as to the third barrier apart from the conjugal unit, national. Then we have multinational dictatorship. We can also come out with this issues that are in an international nature.
But the problem I am seeing here is the history, different history we are coming from. I have been to Philippines. I have a nice woman who is my friend in Philippines. She is a Muslim, fighting for Muslims' rights in Philippines. You will see that the context from which we are coming from is quite very difficult, and quite very different. So it is a little bit monumental task in coming out with one, in agreeing into one statement that this is our statement. Although it is quite very difficult, but let us approach, let us face the problem head on.
>> I'm not sure how much more time we have. But maybe it would help to hear from everybody one or two things that can be representative of a statement that is prepared, if anybody here can take the responsibility to anchor that process, not necessarily write out a statement, but maybe anchor the process, and put out a draft or at least indicate how it can look and others can jump in.
And also if we want really to keep at this effort of continuing to shape the agenda of the IGF from a more political understanding of women's rights, you know, what we could do here on, I mean, of course, eListservs seem to be some automatic response, but they are not the answer to how we can come back again. Maybe, I think it would be useful to hear from APC women what their plans for AWID are, and if that would be another useful point to take stock, and so at least there are some, between now and Azerbaijan, there is some way by which to take stock of what our work has been, how re reflect on emerging political issues at the national and global level.
To summarize, if someone can say they can take responsibility to anchor the process of drafting the statement, if we think we are able to do it, I don't think we should take it as some pressure but if it's a political necessity, and then we should do it.
The second is what may be a good way to coordinate, and if taking stock of AWID is a good midpoint.
>> I'm not sure about the statement. I think I'm a bit conflicted about it, because it will be done in quite a rush I think, and if someone would be able to take it on, I'm feeling, I don't know, Jan, how you feel about it. I just as an individual, I'm leaving tomorrow early. So I'm going to be very not able to.
But if I can speak to the point of AWID, we are planning to be there. We are going to be hosting a secure online communications workshop which we are doing in partnership with the NC and with women human rights national coalition. It's an ongoing process. So we will be there. And I know AWID takes communication rights seriously, so if there is a way, something we can focus on so we can bold some kind of energy around, maybe it is about women being classed as vulnerable or how we approach it or something that would hook us into the IGF in a meaningful way, and that we could use AWID as a place to discuss this; would there have to be a lot of work?
>> Are you also doing --
>> Yes, the one that's been accepted is on --
>> There is two panels. The first is around sharing the research on herratics, looking at the role of the Internet in sexual identity, sexual expression. The second one has, it's called privacy incorporated, what we are trying to do is really to look at kind of private sector corporations, implications in privacy, communication rights.
That is also coming out from the work that we are doing, looking at violence against women and sexuality. So I think it is quite a good anchor and quite focused while we will be there. About the statement, it is important that we do get one, with I think two things.
The first is to have something said in the closing sessions, that is number one.
And secondly, the statement that we would have to, with the kind of material that would come out of this meeting, I think it is important to, for it to be there, and maybe we need not to look at it as something that is going to be long and complex, but even if we just have the, like the key points of what we discussed here, and what our recommendations are.
So perhaps if someone can, so if all of you can, so I can, I won't be able to work on it next week, but I think the WNSB can take responsibility for that.
So, if you E-mail it to Jan at APCwomen.org, the formal draft, the formal kind of writing, we can take responsibility for, and then of course, share it with you so we can finalize it.
>> Statement here?
>> I'm talking about like beyond. Beyond here, yeah? But for here, I think we have to decide now what are the points, and how are we going to insert it.
>> Anita, Jan, would you be willing to be the focal point? And we can actually send you our bullet points, and just as you said, even if it's brief, it's quite fine. But I think if we could send it to you, since I too am not physically present here; otherwise I'm glad to be focal point, and send around my contact name. And so perhaps a couple of people here can take responsibility to write the draft, so someone does the first draft, and then quickly at some point it's shared, maybe first thing tomorrow morning.
>> I just realized I'm not here tomorrow either. Sorry.
>> Yeah, sorry, because different people entered in this room at different times, it might be hard for some of us who entered at last hour to grasp actually what has been discussed.
Maybe it would have been prudent to walk us through what are the main points which have been discussed, so that at least to have the bullet points, when people are thinking about coming up with a statement, can see these are crucial things which there need to be thinking around, just some of high level things which we think are important.
>> ANITA GURUMURTHY: Okay. If I can first tell you the purpose of the statement tomorrow, and then describe very quickly, the purpose of the statement is to feed into the formal IGF process a perspective from the Gender Dynamic Coalition, which is actually part of the IGF, formal IGF process, so it may be loose network of people who have been part of the conversation, but it is a Forum that is attached to the IGF.
So claiming a space at the plenary tomorrow will be easy, because it is possible and it's mandated within the IGF.
The second is, that there is no particular formula about representing women's rights and women's interests in that statement.
But yes, I think that there has to be shared understanding that we are talking about women's human rights, and however we interpret it in relation to Internet Governance, I could give you maybe one example. And I don't want to actually limit your imagination, but the example would be the IGF has some themes, so the themes from access to diversity to privacy, to openness, to security, all of that implicate women's rights in some ways.
If you want to speak to that maybe in some way, so the final statement will be a kind of digested interpretation of what all of us as a collective may send our E-mail to Jan; or if Jan is not here, may I request our friends from Kenya perhaps, would you be able to help with the process? Or you know, even present it? It's an idea. I'm not sure. Yes?
>> DOROTHY GORDON: Yes, my name is Dorothy Gordon. I'm from Ghana. What I understood is that we were doing a gender assessment of this year's IGF, reviewing how gender was represented in all the workshops, whether there were gender dimensions, the representation on the panels, etcetera.
That assessment is ongoing. So whatever statement is made at the plenary, the final plenary, should incorporate some elements of that. I mean, we should find out whoever prepared the report, and pull some elements from that report into our statement, because I'm sure there is going to be relevance issues there.
>> JENNY: Yeah, APC prepared what we call a gender report card, and we have asked as many people as possible who have been to sessions to answer a couple of three basic points, but I think it has, if we aggregate it, it will have very useful information.
So we can perhaps take on to aggregate as much as we can, before the submission happens.
>> JAN: Someone who is still going to be here is Chat, and she will be here the whole day tomorrow, so she could be someone who could -- and Dafne. Dafne is also here. So, yeah. And of course, Baro.
>> I have a question. Is it possible, because this is my first IGF, so I know the statement will come up after the IGF. So is it possible -- it will come out, okay, and it will also be, it will be raised during the plenary?
>> ANITA GURUMURTHY: Yes. I was just, that is why I was checking, if we could actually think of anybody who is here, rather than talk about Chat who was volunteered without her being here, to think of who could be -- if she is open to, of course, the statement is something that needs to be read out, and will be shaped by many people, so that should not be a worry.
>> Dafne will talk after this. Yeah, right.
>> MAGALY PAZELLO: So I think it was a very productive meeting today.
I think also, I was able to attract and bring more people to this different voices for this space, what is also good.
I'd like, you would like to say something? Because you were -- go ahead.
>> I would have loved to say something, but just like Mrs. Gordon, I just came in, and I didn't know where you started and where you stopped. So contributing is a bit, making an input is a bit difficult for me now. But I'm following.
>> DOROTHY GORDON: Yeah, maybe, you know, the problem is there are just so many conflicts this morning. But what is essential is for those of you who have been attending the IGF over the years, whatever statement is made should not be a repetition of exactly what was said the last time, or if it is, explain why we have made no progress, you know. We should be tracking this as a group, what the different statements we make are at the different IGFs, and I think for me it's good to make a statement at the final plenary. But what is more important is the work that is going to be done between the meetings.
And I don't know if you want to focus a little bit on that before we end up really, what is our plan for addressing the bigger issues, and I mean, this is a coalition, my organisation is not part of that coalition as yet.
But if there is something that we could do to support the work, we will be happy to do so.
I think as we speak, we are making a presentation at the gender and IT conference in South Africa remotely from Ghana. And it's one of the areas of our work. So we would like to get more involved with what you are doing.
>> I think we have -- thank you -- I think we can close this session. And then we can talk a little bit more about the statement, by now, in the small group. I think it's -- Anita, please.
>> ANITA GURUMURTHY: I was saying that we are sending out this paper where you can put your E-mail I.D. down, so that this process of dialogue between today and today on what the statement will be, so that it can be presented tomorrow, is a process we can plug into over E-mail.
So, I think those who are able to contribute to framing of the sentences, etcetera, can continue to work on E-mail. But we should actually have Dafne be the focal point, and Dafne can send out E-mail -- is that okay, Dafne? To everybody on the list. Then maybe Bero can coordinate with Dafne.
>> And Dorothy, just before you got here, we were talking about how do we sustain these conversations beyond today, and also beyond a list, because there is a Gender Dynamic Coalition E-mail list that exists, and the gender Dynamic Coalition is quite a loose network of people who are concerned and interested in the issues. So we can include you in the list.
And we also spoke about the AWID Forum in Turkey next year being an opportunity or moment for us to come back, because some of us who are here would also be in the Forum, so to use that as a time where we can do a kind of check, but I think so those are the two things.
>> DOROTHY GORDON: Yeah, thank you very much. If it would be possible, what would help me is if we look at the big issues, we probably have some organisations addressing some of those issues on using research and maybe practical testing, pilot testing in the field, etcetera.
But if there is some issues which we don't have people looking at, I would be interested to see where we could pick something up, because if we go to Turkey, we would want to look, we would want to present something substantive, you know. And so it should be something that somebody is not already working on, because we have very few months actually. So we can do something very basic and get into it.
But, you know, I'm coming from the discussion on the Internet of things, and that is very interesting from the point of view of, you know, if we just look at the traditional roles of women, and now every household device which is identifiable and privacy issues around that, I mean, are women aware of that? You know, that when they do buy a refrigerator which is going to tell them XYZ, and which they can programme from their office, that that information is not necessarily as private as they believe?
You know, there are many many issues coming up. I'm just giving that as an example off-the-cuff. But I think there are a lot of emerging issues that we really need to get into and define, and we will probably do that on the list. Yeah.
>> ANITA GURUMURTHY: Thank you, friends. And we hope there shall be a vibrant Gender Dynamic Coalition at Azerbaijan, dynamic Dynamic Coalition.
>> The next IGF apparently is Azerbaijan, but we thought of getting together at the AWID Forum in Turkey in April, women's international.
(Session ends at 10:18)