The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is a key, robust and relatively open multi-stakeholder platform created by the United Nations to discuss public policy matters related to internet governance. However, it has been a challenging space for women's rights and sexual rights advocates. In the fifth and final year of its mandate, women's rights are still being dwarfed as a critical issue to be debated in this arena, while sexuality issues although present, is not seen as a matter of rights. What is the role of the internet in defending and realising women's rights and sexual rights? What are our positions as women's rights and sexual rights advocates on how the internet should be governed? Join the debate from 14-17 September on!

Image: Some rights reserved by seiiti.arata

(The featured resources and articles have been selected from a number of materials produced and collected on internet governance process by the since the IGF began in 2006. Find more resources on previous IGFs here: )

Nurani Nimpuno: "it's been an increase of women participating" (audio)

Marina Maria from the APC's EroTICs team chats with Nurani Nimpuno, the IGF's MAG (the Multistakeholder Advisory Group) member from Sweden about the effort to improve gender balance at the Internet Governance Forum.
The MAG purpose is to assist the Secretary General in convening the Internet Governance Forums. The MAG comprises of 56 Members from governments, the private sector and civil society, including representatives from the academic and technical communities.

“The youth are good for nothing”: session on social exclusion

Nyx attended a session on social exclusion, where the portrayal of youth by a Kenyan MP, and his ignorance of what was going on even in the conference around him, caused her to reflect on youth and their engagement in governance processes.

Why we should get over facebook

Social networking sites and privacy formed the main topics in two sessions Maya attended - but she found that the discussions were not grounded in research, that users were absent from the debates and tired assumptions dominated the rooms. What's needed, she argues, are more workable proposals that take into account a variety of research and based on how people actually use social networking sites - not how it's assumed they use them.

Close Encounters

This is the third time Maya is attending the Internet Governance Forum and she has never really expected anything too extraordinary to happen here. She finds her expectations challenged when she meets with two representatives of the ICM Registry and IFFOR (the International Foundation for Online Responsibility) at a session on Sexual Rightsi, Openness and Regulatory Systems - who are interested in the work of the EroTICS team.

Reflecting on language and power

Looks at how power is played out in the language and terminology used in the IGF discussions, even when the theme of the discussion is "Internet governance and human rights: strategies and collaboration for empowerment".

The future of privacy: an internet governance issue

Will 'privacy' in ten years be different from what we know today? Many laws need to be reviewed in light of what we know about the internet. But also, two new rights emerged that were completely new to Francoise Mukuku. They incorporate the new dimensions that the internet adds to our lives: the right to accountability and the right to privacy from design. Users should be able to say: I may make these data available on the net today, but tomorrow, I do not want them to be visible, I shared with my consent then, but now, I do not want it visible anymore.

Internet Governance Issues on Sexuality and Women's Rights

The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) has been a challenging space for both women's rights advocates and for broader constituencies engaged in advocacy for gender equality and sexuality related rights. In the fifth and final year of its mandate, women's rights are still being dwarfed as a critical issue to be debated in this arena, while sexuality issues, although present, are not seen as a matter of rights. In preparation for this year's IGF, this briefing document highlights key issues on internet regulation that are relevant for gender equality and sexuality. It also brings to the debate findings from various research initiatives undertaken by APC and key partners, including a cross-country research initiative - EROTICS - that is being conducted in five countries: Brazil, India, Lebanon, South Africa and the United States.

Feminist theory, practices and actions can lead to innovative solutions on internet governance

Civil society entities, academic figures and government officials met in Sao Paulo during the first few days of July to participate in the first seminar of the preparatory process for the meeting of the Internet Governance Forum, with the aim of developing proposals to take to that forum next November. Amongst the presentations, the talk “Internet governance and issues of gender” by gender and ICT expert Magaly Pazello stood out. Gender interviewed her about the political challenges women face regarding access to ICT infrastructure, as well as the coming landscape as the IGF meeting in November approaches.

Mommy knows best, or perhaps the church, or maybe the school? A conversation on online content regulation

Who decides on what we should see and not see online? Should parents decide on behalf of their children? Or should it be the church? Or the school? Are women and children better left alone? Mavic Cabrera-Balleza, Senior Programme Associate of the International Women’s Tribune Centre and a member of the GenderIt blogging team at the first Internet Governance Forum (IGF) that took place in Athens, Greece from October 30- November 2, 2006 spoke with two other IGF participants—Caroline Wamala from Uganda and Itir Akdogan from Turkey on gender issues in internet governance and online content regulation. Following are excerpts from their conversation.

The contented and the discontented: internet content regulation

What does it take to regulate content on the internet? The apparently unruly character and development of the internet and accompanying technologies have been argued as defeating any efforts to truly govern how content is circulated in this space. Nonetheless, censorship and regulation is real. Here, Jorge Bossio examines various categorisations of content that enables their regulation, as well as strategies implemented in Peru, calling for greater individual responsibility and awareness in the constitution of harm.