(No: 91) Technology, Economic and Societal Opportunities and Women

Go to Report
Workshop Theme: 
Access and Diversity
Theme Question: 

This workshop relates to the IGF main session theme of Access and Diversity’; empowerment of women and Internet governance.

Concise Description of Workshop: 

Technology has afforded all segments of populations around the globe with new and unique opportunities. However, some of these come with the need for changes in policies, or increased investment, to enable the full opportunities to be achieved, such as around encouraging studies in sciences or technology. As more aspects of life are increasingly mediated by Internet and information communications technologies (ICTs), access to the Internet significantly contributes to all, in particular women's rights to freedom from discrimination and exclusion and their right to political, economic, cultural and social participation. For women, access to information and the Internet creates opportunities for economic growth, job creation, and social benefits, such as ease in health care and education (e-health, e-education). Yet, opportunities afforded by the Internet in particular around social benefits often face challenges within their own policy and regulatory frameworks. This interactive workshop will explore 3 dimensions from the perspective of a range of stakeholders as well as the particular development opportunities: 1. Women and economic empowerment: For example, issues around micro-lending; online services and businesses; job sharing and ease of commuting. 2. Enhancing (or strengthening) women's rights through access to information and the Internet, including use of technology to address issues of abuse or technology related violence. 3. Policy and regulatory conditions that stimulate access to the Internet and information. For example, encouraging ease and cost effective use of technology/the Internet across schools and health facilities.
Draft agenda

  1. Exploring the policy and governance issues (45 minutes)

Interactive discussion with the panelists
- women and economic empowerment (micro-lending, online services and businesses, job 
  sharing and ease of commuting)
- policy/regulatory conditions stimulating access to Internet and information (cost effective
  technology use, Internet in schools and health facilities)
- enhancing (or strengthening) women's rights through access to information and the Internet,
  including use of technology to address issues of abuse or technology related violence
- policy changes needed to help exploit and maximize opportunities for women to excel in
  different environments
- technology access vs women's rights to freedom from discrimination and exclusion
- ICTs and economic, social and educational opportunities for women
- social benefits and challenges related to policy and regulatory frameworks
Interactive discussion with the participants

Organiser(s) Name: 

This co-sponsorship of this workshop will be consistent with the multistakeholder principle. The workshop will include representatives from business, governments, the technical community and civil society. Geographic diversity will be represented. See descriptions of anticipated speakers above.

The workshop co-organizers are business; the International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) BASIS (Business Action to Support the Information Society) initiative, the Government of Kenya and the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) representing civil society.

Ayesha Hassan/Constance Weise - International Chamber of Commerce
Alice Munyua - Government of Kenya
Chat Garcia Ramilo - Association for Progressive Communications

Previous Workshop(s): 

At the IGF 2011, ICC BASIS jointly organised two workshops; the ICC BASIS/Government of Kenya workshop report on “Mobile and cloud services for development” was submitted and can be found here: http://www.intgovforum.org/cms/components/com_chronocontact/uploads/WSPr... [1]

Secondly, ICC BASIS, in partnership with the Internet Society, organised a workshop on “Improving the IGF: how can we get the most out of IGF improvement processes” available at:http://www.intgovforum.org/cms/component/chronocontact/?chronoformname=WSProposals2011View&wspid=258

IGF workshop report 2010:
1) ‘Implications of Cloud Computing’: http://www.intgovforum.org/cms/component/chronocontact/?chronoformname=W...
2) ‘Open forum on ICC’s data protection and privacy work and products’: http://www.intgovforum.org/cms/component/content/article/102-transcripts...

IGF workshop report 2009: ‘Internet Governance: Economic- Recovery and Growth’: http://www.intgovforum.org/cms/index.php/component/chronocontact/?chrono...

IGF workshop report 2008: “Digital convergence beyond technology: socio-economic benefits, SMEs & public policy": http://www.intgovforum.org/cms/2008-igf-hyderabad/event-reports/72-works...

IGF workshop report 2007:
1) “Managing security issues: authentication at the transaction level”:  http://staging.iccwbo.org/advocacy-codes-and-rules/special-projects/basis/igf/
2) “Multi-stakeholder Policy Development: lessons from actors engaged in existing institutional processes”: http://www.intgovforum.org/cms/rio_reports/WS_27_Short_Report.pdf

IGF workshop report 2006: “Building human and institutional capacity for meaningful participation in Internet governance issues”: http://www.intgovforum.org/Workshop_reports.php [1] http://www.intgovforum.org/cms/components/com_chronocontact/uploads/WSPr...

Submitted Workshop Panelists: 

* Antoaneta Angelova-Krasteva, Head of Unit, Stakeholders, DG CONNECT, European 
   Commission (confirmed)
* Alice Munyua, Ministry of Information and Communications, Kenya (confirmed)
* Yara Sallam, Manager of the Women Human Rights Defenders Program, Nazra (confirmed)
* Theresa Swinehart, Executive Director, Global Internet Policy, Verizon (confirmed
* Moderator: Erika Mann, Head of Global Public Policy, Facebook (confirmed)
* Substantive rapporteur: Shawna Finnegan, Project Assistant, Internet Rights and Human 
   Rights, Association for Progressive Communications (APC) (confirmed)
* Lead discussants: Grace Githaiga, Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet), Kenya; P. Usha
   Rani, Director, Institutional Building, SERP of Government of Andhra Pradesh

Name of Remote Moderator(s): 
Raquel Gatto, Member of the IGF Remote Participation Working Group, Director at Internet Society Brazil Chapter
Gender Report Card
Please estimate the overall number of women participants present at the session: 
The majority of participants were women
To what extent did the session discuss gender equality and/or women's empowerment?: 
It was one of the main themes of the session
Please include any comments or recommendations you have on how to improve the inclusion of issues related to gender equality and: 


  • Hold workshops on “ICT and women”-related issues regular workshops at every IGF
  • Hold workshops on “ Rural women and ICT”, “ Capacity Building and Rural women”, “Role of community-based organizations in Internet use” at every IGF
  • Include a roundtable of women’s issues at every IGF
  • Provide an opportunity for rural women to participate and share their views in IGF


Reported by: 
Shawna Finnegan (Association for Progressive Communications)
A brief substantive summary and the main issues that were raised: 

This was a successful workshop, engendering an interesting discussion among the panellists and the audience on a number of issues, such as:
- Internet-related economic, cultural, political and social opportunities for women, and existing gaps
- online threats faced by women human rights defenders
- how women's rights can be enhanced through the Internet (empowerment, abuse, and technology-related violence against women)
- freedom of expression

Conclusions and further comments: 

In order to enhance women's economic empowerment and their rights through access to information, the following policy and regulatory conditions stimulating access to the Internet and information emerged:

  1. Provide training and support to encourage community women's leadership on Internet access issues for addressing issues relevant to their daily life.
  2. Education and capacity building for girls and women on ICT skills as well as addressing socio-cultural norms that act as barriers are critical components of access – one which the private sector can play an important role in, in collaboration with civil society.
  3. Further and sustained multistakeholder dialogue on strategies for women's leadership and active participation on Internet-related activities and empowerment.
  4. Emphasize the economic development opportunities when discussing women's empowerment and access to the Internet with government.
  5. Work with government to develop legislation that provides specific protection for WHRDs and Internet activists threatened in online spaces.
  6. Programmes and recommended solutions to address issues of access and empowerment for women and girls must take into account multiple dimensions – economic, political as well as importantly, social and cultural issues.
  7. Building on initiatives that companies like Verizon, AT&T and others currently undertake.
Additional documents: