Digital Debates

Civil Society Perspectives on the Emerging Digital World


Digital Debate 1: The Digital Gender Gap

In all countries, CSOs are committed to the idea and principles of social and gender justice. Every person should have equal opportunities and the freedom to lead the life they want, regardless of their biological gender and social background.

We know from history that even in an analogue world reality doesn’t match these aspirations.

Three eminent speakers discussed the digital gender gap from three different perspectives: Women in tech and CSOs, as employees, managers and entrepreneurs; Women as target groups for digitally-driven programmes by humanitarian and development organisations; and Woman as feminist activists and political advocates in the digital space.

From their respective perspectives, they reviewed with the audience what is happening with the digital gender divide and how the COVID-19 crisis has affected women and girls. Are we getting closer to digital gender equality? Are we doing enough to transform gender norms? How do we connect the right dots to scale up projects that will achieve meaningful change? We discussed these fundamental ideas on digitalisation and globalisation and whether civil society and CSOs are up to the challenge.


You can watch the recording of the debate on YouTube:


4 March 2021, 17:00 hrs. CET 

Digital Debates: Event Series

Every month, this event series will provide inspiring discussions for the civil society sector based on the constant change that digitalisation brings to our societies. Each debate will be a call to action for CSOs to take a more active role in shaping our digital future.

Barbara Iverson will moderate each debate. She teaches Interpersonal Skills and Intercultural Management at the CODE University of Applied Sciences in Berlin.

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Digital Debate Panellists

  • Geraldine de Bastion
  • Digital rights consultant and activist
  • Bio
  • Maja Kraljic
  • Web developer & Open source diversity and inclusion advisor
  • Bio
  • Kokoévi Sossouvi
  • Digital Financial Services Expert
  • Bio

Further Reading

This is what a feminist internet looks like

As civil rights groups in Indonesia increasingly come to rely on online tools for discussion and organisation, female activists in the country are struggling against relentless abuse and discrimination. Author: Antonia Timmerman.


Women in Digital Scoreboard 2020

Women across Europe are less likely to have specialist digital skills and work in this field compared to men. According to the Commission’s 2020 Women in Digital (WiD) Scoreboard, only 18% of ICT specialists are women and the gender gap is present in all 12 indicators measured.


Feminist Principles of the Internet

The Feminist Principles of the Internet are a series of statements that offer a gender and sexual rights lens on critical internet-related rights. They were first drafted in April 2014. A revised version was put online on the Feminist Internet website in August 2016. Currently, there are 17 Principles in total, organised in 5 clusters: Access, Movements, Economy, Expression, and Embodiment. Together, they aim to provide a framework for women's movements to articulate and explore issues related to technology.


Why do we need more biased technology?

There is no such thing as neutral technology. Technology is inherently biased, its creators reflected in the final product. With a tech sector dominated by men and motivated by profit, the result is gender-biased tech products and online spaces rife with abuse. From social networking spaces where girls and women can’t speak out for fear of harassment and abuse, through sexist voice assistants, to credit rating algorithms that discriminate against women - examples of discriminating tech abound.


Women’s Rights Online: closing the digital gender gap for a more equal world

The internet has long been celebrated as a force for greater equality — breaking down barriers for those previously held back by their geography, wealth, race, class and gender. However, longstanding inequalities in access to, and use of, the internet holds back its egalitarian promise. This report provides a global snapshot of the state of digital gender inequality and finds that even where women are closing the gap on basic internet access, they face a multitude of additional barriers to using the internet and fully participating online.


Relevance of gender in the policy area

The Digital Agenda for Europe was established with a view to stimulating economic growth while at the same time addressing social challenges through information and communications technology. In both cases, gender has particular relevance.


Claiming and reclaiming the digital world as a public space

This paper seeks to highlight the experiences and aspirations of young women and feminist activists in the MENA region around digital spaces, safety and rights. It explores individual women’s experiences engaging with the digital world, the opportunities and challenges that women’s rights and feminist organisations find in these platforms, and the digital world as a space of resistance, despite restrictions on civic space. Drawing on interviews with feminist activists from the region, the paper sheds light on women’s online experiences and related offline risks, illustrates patterns and behaviours that prevailed during the COVID-19 pandemic.