In April 2014, the Association for Progressive Communications’ Women’s Rights Programme (APC WRP) organised the first global meeting on Gender, Sexuality and the Internet, which produced the Feminist Principles of the Internet (FPI) framework. Since then, APC WRP has organised and collaborated on several global, regional and local meetings to collaboratively reflect on and interrogate shared concerns such as the changing landscape of movement building due to digitally networked technologies, online gender-based violence, digital expression of sexuality and gender identity, and other challenges and opportunities presented by current technologies.
Between November 2019 and April 2020, APC WRP held an evaluation of this work on movement building in the digital age. The evaluation, led by independent consultant Sheherezade Kara, sought feedback from feminist internet meeting participants, including the impact of the convenings on participant's work and activism, their evolving relationships with digital technologies, and the challenges in taking this work forward. Through a survey and interviews reaching 82 people across regions, the evaluation revealed a circuitry of people engaged, committed and eager to take the work forward in their own contexts, but with limitations connected to resourcing, network building and infrastructure.
We are grateful with all the thoughts, experiences and ideas of the people that took the time to share feedback with us.
Highlights of the report
- 90% of survey respondents found the global, regional and local meetings shifted their understanding of movement building in a digital age.
- 87% of respondents told us the convenings strengthened their ability to engage with the internet as a feminist issue that links to their activism and context.
- 82% of survey respondents found the FPIs to be “useful” or “very useful.
- Nearly two thirds of survey respondents engaged with the FPI website (https://feministinternet.net/) every six months or more often.
- 78% formed new collaborations from the meetings.
- 82% indicating they shifted their politics or practice in how they engage with digital technologies and the internet in their work.
- 73% of respondents wanted to see better representation, with just over half wanting better inclusion of people from LGBTIQ communities.
- 97% of respondents to the survey indicated they would like to participate in more APC WRP convenings/initiatives,
Based on this feedback, we will continue to hold spaces for people to come together, to share, explore, play and imagine. In the coming years, we intend to hold more local, regional and issue-based conversations. But WRP is encouraged by the willingness to develop the network beyond WRP-held spaces. We will be exploring ways to develop the network’s infrastructures, to encourage collective ownership and strengthen lines of communication between networkers.
Donors advocacy for feminist movement building in the digital age
According to the evaluation, feminist infrastructures, digital safety, political analysis, knowledge production and sharing, sustainability and self/collective care are central topics for feminist movement building in the digital age. Respondents to our survey indicated that access to resources and funds were one of the top challenges for digital activists/activism. WRP recognises ongoing donor advocacy as a priority to support our collective work. Based on the findings we encourage donors across sectors to partner and to pool resources to create new funding streams for feminist movement building in the digital age. These are our our commitments and asks to donors:
APC WRP encourages donors to think creatively around funding modalities to support the intersectional and multidisciplinary nature of movement building in digital age.
APC WRP will continue to invest in donor sensitisation, by meeting and sharing resources and research with donors on the changing nature of movement building in the digital age.
APC WRP is working toward a future where activists and techies across sectors are able to confidently and expertly engage with the cross-cutting issues in feminist movement building in the digital age.
To strengthen the interdisciplinary nature of this work, it will be necessary to reach out across the different spaces that women human rights defenders, internet rights experts and technologists occupy, and to bring people together.
APC WRP asks donors to consider the technologies they are purchasing, investing in and promoting, and to support open-source alternatives that enable privacy and promote and protect human rights.
Calls for funding need to explicitly include movement building in the digital age and the issues therein. Funding criteria need more flexibility in reaching activists, technologists and organisations that are otherwise excluded from bureaucratic or overly formalised funding streams.
APC WRP remains committed to working closely with donors to expand the collective understanding of and responses to movement building in the digital age and making a feminist internet. We look forward to working with you on the next steps of our shared vision!
Prepared by Sheherezade Kara (independent consultant). Cover collage by Flavia Fascendini
Tuesday, September 1, 2020
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