Rafia is a tech journalist currently working as a research and communications associate at Digital Rights Foundation focusing on women's rights, internet governance, and digital security. She spends her weekends translating and romanizing languages.
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Framing access and power at Stockholm Internet Forum 2017
The Stockholm Internet Forum 2017 focused their discussions on the links between access and power. In this article Shaikh Rafia Sarwar examines how access is linked to women's empowerment and particularly their economic empowerment. And whether the debate around access should focus on economic, cultural and social empowerment of women through and outside technology, rather than ensuring access to...
Exodus of qualified women might be tech’s biggest problem yet
As many as 50% of women working in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) will eventually leave because of hostile male culture, lack of a clear career path and a sense of isolation, a 2008 Harvard Business Review study had discovered. Fast forward to 2014, same study shares that the reasons haven’t significantly changed. Most women interviewed for the study said that the...
“Because of the internet, I have been able to help women in Pakistan,” says blogger
Sexual information is scarce or, worse, misinterpreted in most of the developing countries. Access to information is even more difficult in a predominantly Muslim country like Pakistan, where the culture makes any kind of sexual talk a taboo. In that environment, a Canadian-based Pakistani illustrator and blogger is trying to change the game.
Violence against women online: What next steps intermediaries should take
In the response to abuse and threats that women face, are the technology big names like Facebook, Twitter and others taking tangible steps? In this article, GenderIT.org collaborator Rafia Shaikh explores the most outstanding points from a new research report developed by Rima Athar for the APC’s “End violence: Women’s rights and safety online” project on Improving Corporate Policies, which talks...
Violencia contra las mujeres en línea: ¿qué medidas deberían tomar los intermediarios?
Los grandes nombres de la tecnología como Facebook, Twitter y otros, ¿están tomando medidas tangibles para responder a los abusos y amenazas que enfrentan las mujeres? En este artículo, la colaboradora de GenderIT.org Rafia Shaikh explora los puntos más destacados de un informe de investigación elaborado por Rima Athar para el proyecto de APC "Basta de violencia: derechos de las mujeres y...
How crucial is anonymity for sexual exploration and promoting sexual rights activism
While the debate around anonymity rarely gets seen from a feminist angle, women go through this feeling of being watched online and offline every day of their lives. It happens so often and so persistently that it has increasingly become synonymous to the experience of being a woman. It is no wonder then that the Feminists Principles of the Internet vocally advocate that “It is our inalienable...
“A Facebook status can get you arrested faster than killing someone now”
In India, the largest democracy on Earth, 21-year old girl Shaheen Dhada was arrested for posting a status update on Facebook questioning the complete shutdown of cities for Bal Thackeray’s (rightwing leader notorious for inciting religious hatred and violence) funeral on Sunday, 18th November. Her friend Renu Srinivas was also arrested for “liking” the update which reportedly read: "People like...