Online Advocacy and Women's Rights: Obstacles and Successes

4 September 2014 - A Workshop on Other in Istanbul, Turkey


IGF 2014 sub theme that this workshop fall under

Internet as an Engine for Growth & Development


Women are increasingly turning to the Internet for growth and development opportunities, both socially and economically. While women constitute more than 50% of the active labor force, they still face serious challenges and barriers when it comes to employment, and other economic and social opportunities.
Even though women as social entrepreneurs have succeeded in marking a footprint in some countries, women in the MENA region continue to lag behind when it comes to business start-ups and female led business ventures.

Women can be a strong economic growth engine, yet they have to overcome personal and societal challenges and barriers that may prohibit their entry and long term success. Women are using social media and on-line platforms to advocate for women entrepreneurial rights, seeking to increase women’s social and economic opportunities at the local, national and international level as well as to advocate for entrepreneurship awareness and to strengthen women’s entrepreneurial and professional skills.

With the growing number of Internet users worldwide, advocates for women entrepreneurial rights are using the Internet itself to raise awareness, voice their demands, launch campaigns and create pathways for change.

The panel will look at how effective social media platforms are in advocating for women’s entrepreneurial rights in the MENA countries, examining examples and stories of successes in advocating online for women’s entrepreneurial rights and changes that were made in different societies, as well as the challenges that women still face in the entrepreneurial world in the MENA region (including Iran, KSA, and Egypt).

The session will also elaborate on the role that technology and the Internet are playing in empowering women and enhancing their growth and development in the business world as well as the obstacles that users are facing in accessing the Internet in the different MENA countries, addressing the important role of Internet governance mechanisms and commitments to WSIS +10. One speaker will present challenges in Africa and Latin America as a contrast and comparison to similar experiences in the MENA region.

The outcome report from this workshop will identify ideas for advancing awareness and opportunities for advancing engagement of women entrepreneurs within the region.

Name(s) and stakeholder and organizational affiliation(s) of institutional co-organizer(s)

Carole Chedid
Civil Society
The Women Alliance for Virtual Exchange – WAVE

Salam El Waili
Civil Society
The Arab ICT Organization

Has the proposer, or any of the co-organizers, organized an IGF workshop before?


Type of session


Duration of proposed session

90 minutes

Subject matter #tags that describe the workshop

#women #advocacy #entrepreneurship #social media

Names and affiliations (stakeholder group, organization) of speakers the proposer is planning to invite

Azadeh Danandeh, Private sector/civil society, Iran, Women Alliance for Virtual Exchange (Wave) member
Hala AbdelKader, Civil Society, Egypt, WAVE member
Enam ElAsfour, Civil Society, Saudi Arabia, WAVE member
Jennifer Breslin, Intergovernmental,UNWomen
Erika Mann, Private Sector, Facebook
Andrew Mack, Private Sector, AMGlobal

Name of Moderator(s)

Marilyn Cade/Nermine Elsaadany

Name of Remote Moderator(s)

Hiam Mardini

Description of how the proposer plan to facilitate discussion amongst speakers, audience members and remote participants

The panelists will be given 35 minutes for short 5 minute overviews from each of the panelists. The next 55 minutes will be allocated for the participants in the workshop to contribute and interact with the panelists and experts.

Description of the proposer's plans for remote participation

Remote Participation will be welcomed from participants; a remote moderator will ensure that remote participants can join in the questions and dialogue with the panelists.

Background paper

No background paper provided

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