Ensuring Women’s Equal Participation in the Cyber Revolution – 60th CSW

#SocialSurfing 2015 with the support of Facebook

Along with Dr. Ranjana Kumari, the media and communications team of Centre for Social Research attended the 60th Commission on the Status of Women,held in New York from 15th to 24th March 2016.

Ensuring Women’s Equal Participation in the Cyber Revolution – This parallel event was hosted to discuss the concerns related to online safety particularly for the women and girls. With the virtual world becoming more real, the space has started affecting the users emotionally. Issues like impersonation, harassment, abuse, obscene messaging are increasing rapidly and demotivating the users from using the virtual space for other beneficial purposes like spreading awareness on causes, seeking support for the needy etc.

It is rather not so surprising that primitive and regressive ideas like patriarchy, racism, and other discriminating power structures are also being observed in the online world. Observing this scenario, Centre for Social Research initiated a programme titled as #SocialSurfing in 2015 with the support of Facebook. This programme went across 36 Universities in India and initiated the first ever dialogue with the youth on concerns related to online safety. Also, the concept of counter speech was explained to them to deal with the repeated harassment that anyone is facing in the virtual space.

At the CSW, where global CSOs were present to share their initiatives to fight for women’s rights, we hosted our parallel event to share our experiences from Social Surfing and talk to a global panel and audience about the cyber revolution and the minimal representation of women in the internet userbase.

Programme Agenda: The primary reason that has been the pull factor of discouraging a lot of users (specifically women) is the privacy, security and control of their information online. They do want to share but are unsure as to who all is the information reaching to. As it is estimated that 450 million new women users (Source: Women and Web) are expected to come online, it is time to identify, rectify and present Internet as a platform that empowers rather than an accessible tool for illegitimate activities.

Discussion on possible measures to encourage women to get online
Issues leading to minimal representation of women in the virtual space
Initiatives that have been taken up on social media for women empowerment


Here is a brief about our panelists:
Moderated by Ravi Karkara – ‎Senior Advisor Strategic Partnership and Advocacy To the Assistant Secretary-General/Deputy Executive Director, UN Women, New York

Dr. Ranjana Kumari
A renowned social activist and a prolific academician, Dr. Ranjana Kumari is the Director of Centre for Social Research as well as Chairperson of Women Power Connect. Dr. Kumari has dedicated her life to empowering women across the South Asia region, and is also a prolific writer of many well‐known publications.

Antigone Davis
Antigone Davis is Head of Global Safety at Facebook, where she works with internal teams at Facebook and with external safety organizations to ensure that Facebook remains a leader in online safety and that policymakers understand the steps Facebook takes to promote safety online.

Willem Van DerGeest
Willem van der Geest is Inter-regional Advisor on Macroeconomic Policy in the Development Policy and Analysis Division (DPAD) of DESA. Willem has provided macro-economic and trade-related technical assistance, advisory services and capacity-building support to over 30 countries in the East and Southern Africa, South Asia, South East Asia, East Asia and the South Caucasus.

Masih Alinejad
Masih Alinejad is an Iranian Journalistand Writer. Alinejad currently works as a reporter on popular satirical TV show OnTen on the VOA Persian Service and as a correspondent for Radio Farda. Alinejad is well known for her criticism of Iranian authorities.

Eileen Pennington
As the Associate Director of The Asia Foundation’s Women’s Empowerment Program (WEP), Ms. Pennington provides strategic guidance and technical assistance to staff across 18 field offices in Asia on efforts to empower women and girls, and integrate gender in programs, including those related to the justice sector, governance, conflict, gender-based violence, education, and human trafficking.