(apologies for cross-posting)

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*GENDER CENTRED: A GenderIT.org thematic bulletin*

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I. SMALL THOUGHTS AROUND…Women’s “J” Spot at the Beijing +15 Review





VI. CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: Rights . Violence . Technology

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Dear readers,

The last edition of GenderIT.org in 2009 brought you a snapshot of the laws and policy on ICTs and violence against women (VAW) in 12 countries across three regions. In this follow-up issue, we have prepared two cross-country overview articles for you, focusing on Latin America and Asia. They shows the importance of connecting the dots between women's rights, violence against women, and ICTs. In this context GenderIT.org calls on you to help us in a creative way to join the dots and link gender and ICT policy with women's realities in your countries. This edition of GenderIT.org also features an article by Kathleen Diga tracking expressions of gender and power relations between women and men in African Copyright and Access to Knowledge (ACA2K) project research findings.

We hope you will enjoy this edition,

GenderIT.org Team


Watch for updates as the GenderIT.org team and its partners' organisations follow the 54th session of the Commission of the Status of Women and the Beijing +15 review, from 1 to 12 March 2010. We will be blogging and tweeting about the event, tracking the journey of women’s “J” spot and the communication dimension of women's rights issues. Follow our tweets under the hashtag: #Jspot and engage in Feminist Talk on how to make communication rights a priority on women's rights agendas. .


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I. SMALL THOUGHTS AROUND… I wonder if we will find women’s “J” spot at the Beijing +15 review

by Jan Moolman, Coordinator of the APC WNSP MDG3 project

Maria Suárez refers to the “'J' spot” in an article exploring why Section J was not a priority issue during the 2005 Beijing +10 review.(Suárez, 2005)

Five years later, can we claim that women’s media and ICTs are supported? Or do circular ‘development’ debates continue to perpetuate the false dichotomy between ‘hard issues' such as access to water and housing and ‘soft issues’ including women’s rights to own, access, use and shape media and communication tools and platforms? Do we still feel forced into ‘choosing’ between the struggle to end violence against women or eradicate poverty and the struggle for our rights to freedom of expression, access to information, and to tell our own stories?

As Suárez argues, media and information and communication technologies (ICTs) play a crucial role in all of the critical areas of concern of the Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA). It makes sense therefore that our activism is intrinsically connected and that there is no need to ‘choose’. If this is the case, the question shifts from that of the need to choose, to one concerning, as Primo (2005) argues: how to “grow women’s or feminist solidarity around a political agenda that seeks to make ICTs a feminist issue”.

As women’s rights activists (ourselves included) and governments prepare to converge at the 54th session of the Commission of the Status of Women to review the implementation of the BPFA and share good practices so that obstacles and new challenges, including those related to the Millennium Development Goals, can be addressed, this question takes on significant meaning. We want to, together with other activists and partners whom we have had the privilege of working with and learning from over the years, find women’s “J” spot. Read the full editorial at: http://www.genderit.org/en/index.shtml?apc=f--e96386-1

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*Reaction to the Gender Findings from Africa’s Access to Knowledge Research*

GenderIT.org writer and a Research Officer at Canada`s International Development Research Centre, Kathleen Diga tracks the journey of the African Copyright & Access to Knowledge (ACA2K) research network to better understand the nature of African national copyright environments and their impact on equal opportunities for all citizens to access information, particularly in the realm of education. The author argues that the ultimate development goal of copyright law is to afford equal access to educational learning materials regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, disability or age. The law must be flexible in order to recognize existing or potential discrimination against vulnerable groups. For example income constraints are likely to discriminate against women more than men in efforts to access educational materials.


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*Cambodia, Malaysia, Pakistan and the Philippines: Cross-country Study on Violence against Women and Information Communication Technologies*

Asia is at the forefront of embracing new ICTs, and in employing them to promote democracy and human rights. From using SMS to coordinate public protests in the Philippines, to circumventing the firewalls of Burma and China, Asians have shown ingenuity in mobilising ICTs for innovative rights-based purposes. However, ICTs in the region have also been used to violate rights, through increased opportunities for censorship and surveillance; whether surveillance by the state, or by perpetrators of violence against women (VAW). GenderIT.org writer and editor, Sonia Randhawa, looks at the intersection between ICTs and violence against women, an area often overlooked in the discourse on ICTs and human rights, and compares the findings of four national reports undertaken in Asia by the APC WNSP as part of the project “Strengthening women’s strategic use of ICTs to combat violence against women and girls”.


*Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and Colombia: Cross-country Study on Violence against Women and Information Communication Technologies*

María Isabel and María Alejandra Davidziuk compare the findings of four national reports from Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia undertaken as part of the APC WNSP project “Strengthening women’s strategic use of ICTs to combat violence against women and girls”. They examine institutional and cultural barriers that must be overcome in order for ICTs to be as effective as possible in decreasing violence against women and girls, such as the lack of legislation or public policy linking acts of VAW and ICTs. However, the report also highlights examples of ICT policies in which different countries in the region have shown some progress.


To gain a snapshot of ICT and VAW law and policy read the full country reports:

*South Africa: Violence against Women and Information Communication Technologies*


*Uganda: Violence against Women and Information Communication Technologies*


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*Symbolic Violence*

The term of symbolic violence refers to forms of violence exercised not by the use of physical force but by non-physical and very often unnoticed actions (e.g. everyday societal rules that control women's lives and movement) that result in harm or suffering to its targets. It includes various modes of social and cultural domination in which dominant values of those in positions of power are imposed on others as norms, for example patriarchy or racism. It may take a long time for symbolic violence to be recognised as violence. This lack of recognition is how symbolic violence maintains its effect. However it is important to note that symbolic violence is real and harmful as any other form of violence. ICTs often reinforce symbolic violence. The most common way is in the promotion of stereotypical images of women as objects of consumption, pleasure and amusement for men.





Firewall is a software or hardware system installed on a computer that allows or denies traffic to and from the internet based on a set of rules. There are two basic policies in the configuration of a firewall. A restrictive policy, by which all traffic is blocked except that which is explicitly allowed. Permissive policy, conversely, allows all traffic except that which is explicitly denied. For example, the campaign the Take Back the Tech! which deals extensively with issues related to women's online safety and privacy recommends usaing firewalls (such as Smoothwall) as one way to protect your data and prevent unauthorised access to your computer.




To understand unfamiliar ICT or gender terms visit the Jargon section:


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The SOS Short Messaging System has been set up by the Philippines Center for Migrant Advocacy (CMA) to help overseas foreign workers (OFWs) in distress (SOS SMS). It is a 24-hour, 7-days-a week (24/7) text-based ICT service conceptualised and developed by OFWs and implemented in cooperation with various CMA partner NGOs worldwide. All an OFW needs is access to a mobile phone, and she or he can have a service with near-instantaneous, inexpensive, 24/7 reporting of OFW cases from practically anywhere.

Philippines Center for Migrant Advocacy: http://www.pinoy-abroad.net/

*Patricia Galvão Institute*

Founded in 2001 the Patricia Galvao Institute is a Brazilian social organisation that works in the area of communication and women's rights. Recognising the power of media to influence social and political change, the institute`s mission is to influence public debate on and improve media coverage of critical issues affecting women in Brazil through multimedia content production and media campaign development. In May 2007, the Instituto Patrícia Galvão organised a media campaign that encouraged balanced coverage of Pope Benedict XVI’s trip to Brazil, including provision of truthful information concerning sexual and reproductive rights. The Institute is also an active member of Women & Media, the Brazilian network of feminist organisations and women that works to enforce social control of women's image in media. The network engages in ICT policy advocacy and fights for the democratisation of ICTs.

Patricia Galvão Institute: http://www.agenciapatriciagalvao.org.br

Women & Media Network: http://www.mulheremidia.org.br/site/quem-somos/

To find out more about key stakeholders in the field of ICTs, visit the Who's Who in Policy section:


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*Rights . Violence . Technology - HELP US TO JOIN THE DOTS*

Policies, laws and development plans on emerging ICTs rarely take into account the reality of violence against women in its creation and implementation. Similarly, policies and laws on violence against women rarely take into account the dimensions of emerging ICTs. How have developments in information and communications technologies strengthened the efforts to end violence against women? How has it enabled violence against women to happen? Help us to join the dots. Draw the story of how violence against women and ICTs link in your spaces. Make a 16 images x 16 seconds Pecha Kucha presentation and share it with us.

The closing date for submissions is 17 May 2010, the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day. Shortlisted 16x16 presentations will be featured in June's GenderIT edition.

Read the full call at: http://www.genderit.org/en/index.shtml?w=a&x=96385

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*CopyLeft. 2010 APC Women's Networking Support Programme (APC WNSP)*

Permission is granted to use this document for personal use, for

training and educational publications, and activities by peace,

environmental, human rights or development organisations. Please provide

an acknowledgement to APC WNSP.

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