A feminist internet

  • Objective(s): To provide an awareness raising opportunity for participants about the challenges faced by women in online spaces.
  • Length: 40 minutes
  • Format: Session
  • Skill level: Basic
  • Required knowledge:
    • None required
  • Related sessions/exercises:
  • Needed materials:

Leading the session

Part 1 – Raising Awareness

  1. Start the session by asking participants - What some common messages or ideas they have heard about women and technology? What are the prevailing attitudes regarding women and technology in their country(ies)?

  2. Ask participants to brainstorm some of the obstacles that women often face while trying to access and use technology, or participate actively in online spaces. They can do this all together, or in small groups – the choice is yours. Write down the obstacles that the group comes up with on a large sheet of flipchart paper.

  3. Once the brainstorming and discussion has completed, share some of the following global statistics with participants - if possible, also try to include specific country or region-focused statistics relevant to the context of participants:

    • Internet penetration rates are higher for men than for women in all regions of the world - the global Internet user gender gap is 12%.
    • 60% of the cases of technology-related violence against women were not investigated by authorities.
    • Of all the Wikipedia editors online globally, between 84 and 91% percent of them are male.
    • Women occupy 27% of the top management jobs in media companies and 35% of the workforce in newsrooms.
    • Women in tech are paid at least 28 percent less than men with the same education, years of experience and age.
  4. Divide participants into small groups and ask them to reflect on the data shared - What are the implications of these statistics for the lives of women, and for shaping the Internet as a common space for all of us to inhabit freely?

Part 2 - Feminist Principles of the Internet

  1. Now introduce APC’s Feminist Principles of Internet, as an exercise to reflect on what is needed to build:

    […] a feminist internet that works towards empowering more women and queer persons to fully enjoy our rights, engage in pleasure and play, and dismantle patriarchy.

  2. Give each of the groups a set of the Feminist Principles of the Internet – this can be the actual document itself (downloaded from the site) or a handout with the text of the principles, which are divided into the categories of:

    • Access
    • Movements and Public Participation
    • Economy
    • Expression
    • Agency
  3. Ask each group to discuss how each of the principles applies to their own context, and to make a list of ways in which each participant can contribute to changing that reality of women and technology.

  4. Ask each group to present the principles they reflected on and their conclusions.