Feb 2019 21 – 22

Imagine a Feminist Internet: Research, Policy and Practice in South Asia

Negombo, Sri Lanka

What opportunities does technology provide to question and ultimately start changing gender norms? This two-day regional conference, organised by the Internet Democracy Project and Point of View, brings together more than fifty researchers, practitioners and policy makers from across South Asia for critical conversations that seek to answer precisely that question.

The gaping digital gender gap in South Asia is now widely recognised to be at least partly a result of prevailing gender norms in the region. The desire to tightly control women’s sexuality and sexual expression in particular is an essential element of the reproduction of systems of oppression that:

  • have led to restrictions on access to technology and online privacy for women and people who do not define their genders as singularly male

  • have put the blame on them for technology-enabled violence committed against them

  • have been used to justify censorship and new forms of surveillance

But this situation presents an opportunity as well as a crisis. For example, if women who express themselves on social media are targets of online violence in ways that men are not, this is partly because women’s expression online frequently is a threat to the status quo.

How, then, to maximise this potential? Or how to actively shift online norms to enable women, girls and other marginalised genders to actively participate in digital spaces with agency, autonomy, dignity, and ultimately, a sense of belonging?

AGENDA

Day 1 - 21 February

10:00 – 11:00 am: Introduction, agenda, logistics

11:30 am – 1:00 pm: GENDER NORMS IN THE INTERNET AGE: CONSTRAINTS AND OPPORTUNITIES

  • Ayesha Zainudeen (Sri Lanka) - AfterAccess: Gender and ICT access and use in South Asia

  • Lakshmi Lingam (India) Smartphones and Gender Fault lines: How are Girls and Women Navigating?

  • Pooja Pande and Suneeta Prajapati (India) - My Troll & I: Some non binary thoughts on women and the internet from deep inside the Indian heartland

2:00 – 3:30 pm: DON’T LET IT STAND I: UNDERSTANDING ONLINE VIOLENCE

  • Chithira Vijayakumar (India) - The Internet Is Really the First Place You’re Alone In

  • Jinat Hossain (Bangladesh) - The Tale of Gender Based Violence: Religiosity, Masculinity Construction and Using Internet Nexus Among Young Boys in Bangladesh

  • Ajinka Chandanshive (India) - Social Media as Battlefield: Caste Wars for Cultural Hegemony in Maharashtra

4:00 – 5:00 pm: DON’T LET IT STAND II: RESPONDING TO ONLINE VIOLENCE

  • Jannat Fazal (Pakistan) - The Cyber Harassment Helpline: Our story

  • Shubha Kayastha (Nepal)

5:00 - 6:00 pm: DATA AND ITS DISCONTENTS

  • Ambika Tandon (India) - Framing Reproductive Health as a Data Problem? Unpacking ‘Dataveillance’ in India

  • Anja Kovacs (India) - The Body as data in the age of datafication

Day 2 - 22 February

9:00 – 11:00 am: SEXING THE INTERWEBS

  • Sachini Perera and Minoli Wijetunga (Sri Lanka) - Sexy and they know it: Sri Lankan women on TikTok

  • Chinar Mehta (India) Hardcore Habit: Women Watching Porn Online

  • Samreen Shahbaz (Pakistan) - Politics of Piety: How young people in Pakistan are exploring, expressing and navigating sexuality, love and romance through use of technology

  • Bishakha Datta (India) - Guavas and Genitals: Obscenity, digital technology and the IT Act

11:30 am – 1:00 pm: UNPACKING PLEASURES AND CONSTRAINTS

  • Subha Wijesiriwardena and Shermal Wijewardene (Sri Lanka) - Gender, Sexuality and the Internet in Sri Lanka: A feminist reflection

  • Ashtami Rajan (India) - Exploring the digital space as a tool to consolidate and dismantle gender binary

  • Jaya Sharma (India)

2:00 – 3.30 pm: THE ARCHITECTURE OF AGENCY

  • Apoorva Bhalla (India) - Gendering Voice User Interfaces: Narratives from Urban India

  • Padmini Ray Murray (India) - How existing knowledge infrastructures keep women off the Web

  • Kruthika N.S. (India) - E-sports’ reinforcement of sporting gender divides

4:00 – 5:30 pm: Declaration and wrap up


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