The Internet and Citizenship: Applying a Gender Lens

18 November 2009 - A Best Practice Forum on Other in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt

Agenda

This theme will have 3 vantages of inquiry.

How is citizenship on the Net - what may be understood in terms of 'netizenship' and promoting free access and openness/publicness - gendered? How does the present Internet paradigm and emerging trends impact inclusion of women, especially marginalised women into the public sphere that is being shaped by the Internet? What is the truth about the Internet and non-hierarchical access? What kind of gender norms are reflected in the way power structures work on the Net - whether with regard to blogs or chats or e-lists etc? How does the governance regime mediate and shape power on the Net? What are the gender dimensions of the 'invisible' dimensions of the Net (for instance, the .xxx debate a couple of years ago highlighted the way domain names are a political issue.) In particular, what is the dialectic between openness and gender online?

The second question would be, how does Internet-mediated trans-local nature of reality change meanings of citizenship? Gender literature analyses the complexities of women's citizenship in relation to post-national realities. What kind of Internet architecture is needed to enable women to be 'global' citizens?

The third, which is highly relevant to the citizenship for a majority of women in the South would be - How does the Internet mediate enjoyment of full citizenship within national contexts? How does citizenship get redefined with the Internet within national contexts? How does it resituate the citizen vis-a-vis the state and the market? What does this mean for women's citizenship? What kinds of gender norms underscore Internet architectures with regard to promoting women's citizenship in different country contexts?

Speakers are as follows:

1. Radhika Lal - Senior Policy Advisor, UNDP

2. Olga Cavalli- Government of Argentina

3. Gloria Bonder - UNESCO Regional Chair for Women, Science and Technology, Latin America and Steering Committee member UNGAID

4. One representative from the APC Women's network

5. Two representatives from the IDRC Gender and Citizenship Research Network from Asia

Moderated by Anita Gurumurthy, IT for Change 

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