While the internet has been considered a space for empowering women and the LGBTQIA+ sector, it has also been a space for hatred, discrimination, and gender based-violence online against these sectors of society.
To help articulate concerns relating to tech-based discrimination and violence, FMA is part of a global project to spread awareness on the Feminist Principles of the Internet: a set of statements offer a gender and sexual rights lens on critical internet-related rights.
The FPIs’ five main principles are access, movements, economy, expression, and embodiment.
FMA has recently rolled out a series of workshops to spread awareness on the FPIs, mainly targeted towards young students in university. The workshops served as safe spaces for students to share their perspectives on the digital sphere through a feminist perspective.
Recent discussions on the principles revolved around the following:
On access. While internet and mobile access is widespread, many still do not have access to technology. Granting access is available, many individuals lack the knowledge and skill to properly and ethically use social media, which may result to hate and discrimination in such space.
The most common victims of oppression and violence online are women. Thus, it is important to educate and influence individuals to be gender sensitive in social media. This would also empower individuals to use social media as an appropriate platform and tool to solve contentious issues, like violence against women.
On economy. In the local context, online shopping has empowered women to contribute to society. However, online shopping also has its dangers, as it becomes a space for the exploitation of information, as online stores use customer information to sell to other online shops. Information released by the customers are used as a commodity for profit.
On embodiment. Information online may be used for the wrong reasons. Institutions, organizations, and individuals must be sensitive to how they collect and use information. Students also raised an important point on implementing an anti-harassment policy in the student body, whether offline or online.
FMA continues to spread awareness on FPIs as a framework to articulate gender issues online. For more information, please email us at info [at] fma [dot] ph.