Women in Digital Rights Movements
Image Source: Body and Data
This year’s global theme, “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change,” (promulgated by UN Women) calls for the involvement of the experiences and insights of women and girls in the development of technology. With the aim to close-in gender gaps, the campaign hopes to mobilise beyond initiatives that focus on women–it seeks to overturn institutions and narratives that dictate the status quo.
In the recent months, EngageMedia worked with women who are critical voices in the digital rights movement in Asia: Kyal Yi Lin Six, a documentary filmmaker who recently directed It's Time to Talk; Shubha Kayastha of Body & Data, an organisation that focuses on intersection of gender, sexuality and digital technology in Nepal; and Chinmayi SK of The Bachchao Project, a community that tackles solutions to issues on gender and technology in India.
Women's Digital Rights in Nepal
“The Internet has become a big thing now in Nepal which wasn't the case 3 years ago and so it's important to look at these online issues from feminist & queer perspective, ” says Shubha, feminist activist in Nepal and co-founder of Body & Data.
According to Shubha, as internet penetration is increasing in Nepal, there's a dire need to address issues that concern women, queer people, and marginalized people specially on access& freedom of expression online.
The Nepal government has been introducing new laws & policies around information & communications technologies which directly impacts Nepalis' right to privacy & freedom of expression. As a feminist organisation, Body & Data focus on just access to technology and information, as well as control over resources. They also believe that individuals should have the autonomy to choose & decide what kind of information they want to access & what kind of medium they want to choose to express their opinion. Shubha reiterates, “while we're talking about digital rights, we should not forget about individuals' agency and autonomy over their own data, over their own body.”
Fighting for Women's Digital Rights
In the absence of inclusive online infrastructure and policies for women and queer people, Kyal Yi, Shubha and Chinmayi have worked towards mobilising women and their communities to advocate for women's rights online.
Envisioning a just and gender-equal society, EngageMedia reiterates its unwavering commitment in fighting for women's rights online & offline.
Happy International Women’s Month!
Watch out for releases celebrating these women (among many others) in the coming days.