The Gender and ICT Program focuses on the intersection between ICT and gender rights and issues, including women’s use and access of ICTs and tech-related gender-based violence.
Feminist Principles of the Internet (FPI)
The Feminist Principles of the Internet (FPI) are a set of statements that provide a framework for women’s movements to articulate and explore issues related to technology. They offer a gender and sexual rights lens on critical internet-related rights.
Collated by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), the principles are a collective effort written by groups of advocates working in women’s, sexual, and internet rights in 2014 and 2015. The principles serve as a living framework that is constantly evolving.
There are currently 17 principles that touch on a broad range of issues related to the rights of marginalized genders online; as a whole, their purpose is to provide a framework for women’s and LGBTQAI+ empowerment, movements and realization of rights online.
In the Philippines, FMA introduced young feminist leaders to FPI, and challenged them to consider how they can contextualize and apply the principles in their own communities.
Reshaping domestic work in the Philippines through digital platforms
In recent years, the Philippines has seen a trend of the platformization of domestic and care work through small-scale digital platforms that offer on-demand cleaning services. These businesses cater mostly to condominium buildings in the business districts all over Metro Manila, and are comprised mostly of women working as third-party or independent contractors.
The nascent and informal nature of this system, as well as laws and policies that are still limited to traditional models of domestic work, give rise to new modes of employment and labor relationships that do not conform with the existing models recognized in law. As a result, workers in this new sector are often left outside the scope of existing social protection mechanisms.
FMA’s report report maps out this new ecosystem, analyzes the impact of digital platforms from the lens of social protection, and ultimately, offers policy recommendations that would create equitable rights and working conditions for domestic workers engaged in platform-mediated work.
Take Back the Tech Philippines
Take Back the Tech Philippines is a collaborative campaign to reclaim ICT to end violence against women in the Philippines, and around the world.
The campaign calls on all ICT users – especially women and girls – to take control of technology and strategically use any ICT platform at hand (mobile phones, instant messengers, blogs, websites, digital cameras, email, podcasts and more) for activism against gender-based violence.
Take Back the Tech! accompanies the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence (November 25 – December 10 each year) with daily actions that explore different aspects of violence against women and ICT tools.
In 2005, APC Women’s Network Support Programme (WNSP) developed research papers that looked at the connection between ICT and VAW, an issue that received little attention or discussion at that time. From sharing the findings with women’s rights and communication rights advocates in different spaces, APC WNSP found this to be a critical issue that compelled further attention and deeper engagement. Take Back the Tech! was initiated as as one of the ways of doing this, and sets out to:
- Create safe digital spaces that protect everyone’s right to participate freely, without harassment or threat to safety.
- Realise women’s rights to shape, define, participate, use and share knowledge, information and ICT.
- Address the intersection between communication rights and women’s human rights, especially VAW.
- Recognise women’s historical and critical participation and contribution to the development of ICT.
Gender audit of government websites in the Philippines
In a digitally-connected world, power resides within those who can make the most of ICTs. ICTs are a powerful catalyst for socio-economic development, facilitating the inclusion of sectors otherwise marginalized in other spaces, and provides opportunity for gender equality.
A website, for example, as an important component of e-governance, may help e-government systems better represent the needs of women when the latter is included in decision-making bodies that allow them to shape the agenda. But literature on gender-responsiveness of e-governance systems is scarce.
In the Philippines, FMA conducted a gender audit and research of 21 cabinet-level government websites in 2018 to address the gap, and found, among many others, that gender mainstreaming of the public sector is still weak, and provided policy recommendations to mainstream gender in ICT systems.
Funding Leadership Opportunities for Women (FLOW)
From 2012-2015, FMA worked on the issue of technology-related violence against women (eVAW) through the APC’s Funding Leadership Opportunities for Women (FLOW) project. The project built on the work of seven countries: the Philippines, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Mexico, Columbia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
At that time, an APC research study conducted in 12 countries through the MDG3 project revealed that the incidence of technology-related violence against women (VAW) was increasing. Cyberstalking, sexual harassment, surveillance, and the unauthorized use and manipulation of personal information, including images and videos, were the most common cases documented.
The project supported national activities within the countries through global campaigning, capacity building, research, and policy advocacy efforts. It enabled NGOs, individuals, policy-makers and state and private actors to develop a deeper understanding of and response to technology-related violence against women.