Sajia Afreen from Bytesforall Bangladesh and Take Back the Tech Bangladesh chapter participated Gender and Internet Governance Exchange (gigX) and Asia Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum (APrIGF) in Macau, China last June and July (2015). She writes this report.
Gender and Internet Governance Exchange (gigX):
If the question is ‘who governs the internet?’ you can’t name any specific person, company, organization or government. A multistakeholder network is involved in the process, which includes governments, civil society, academics, researchers, private sector and national and international organizations. This network develops and makes decision regarding the rules, principles, norms and programs that shape the use of internet. But for years women, girls and sections of civil society have been marginalized in these decisions making processes. Gender and Internet Governance eXchange (gigX) is a platform which enables equal and meaningful participation of women and girls in this decision making. These exchanges create scope for women’s rights, internet rights activists from different parts of the world to discuss the relationship between gender, women’s rights and internet governance. As the Coordinator of Take Back the Tech Bangladesh chapter (Supported by Bytes for all Bangladesh and Bangladesh Open Source Network), I got the privilege to participate in Gender and Internet Governance Exchange (gigX) in June, 2015 in Macau, China.
This year’s gigX took place in the Macau Productivity and Technology Transfer Center (CPTTM). Here I met with people who are working as the women’s rights and internet rights activists from different parts of the world. It was a great space for all of us to discuss and understand the concepts related to internet governance such as internet rights & human rights, privacy & security, technology-based violence against women, freedom of expression, Feminist Principles of the Internet etc.
gigX gave me the space to understand the parts of the Feminist Principles of the Internet: access, economy, expression, consent- autonomy- agency, movement and public participation. As the representative of Take Back the Tech Bangladesh I took the opportunity to give a presentation on the topic- ‘Consent, Autonomy and Agency: online violence’ from Bangladeshi perspective. Case studies of online violence in Bangladesh, Government initiatives, campaigns of Take Back the Tech Bangladesh have been discussed in the presentation.
gigX introduced some interesting group activities to us like ‘Gender Ladder’. We also did country wise group activity on the topic ‘Gender & internet access: regional perspectives’. Here I presented the factors and issues regarding gender and internet access from Bangladeshi perspective which elicited some important points. As online violence is one of the facts that affect access of women in internet, more research for statistics regarding this is a need of time now.
Asia Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum (APrIGF):
(APrIGF) is a platform that advances the Internet governance development in the Asia Pacific region. It was an honor to take part at APrIGF 2015 where the representatives of the biggest names of internet era including Google, Microsoft, ICANN participated. The emerging issues and priorities related to internet governance in the Asia Pacific region have been discussed here. Participating in gigX, the pre-event to APrIGF, enabled me to understand the topics discussed by the experts in APrIGF.
Honorable Information Minister of Bangladesh, Mr Hasanul Haq Inu also attended the APrIGF 2015 and delivered his speech at the opening ceremony and in the workshop regarding localizing internet governance. APrIGF gave me the opportunity to meet our honorable Information Minister and have a conversation about the activities of Take Back the Tech Bangladesh.
Overall the experience of gigX and APrIGF was a lifelong learning for me. I feel proud of having the opportunity to participate here as the representative of Bangladesh.
Knowledge is power. Proper knowledge with action steps regarding gender and internet governance can contribute to women’s social, economic and cultural empowerment in a country. I feel honored to participate in gigX and APrIGF which gave me power in forms of knowledge!