International Women’s day (IWD) is marked every year on March 8th, to celebrate women’s achievements in social, economic, cultural and political spheres. The 2022 IWD’s theme is #BreakTheBias.
KICTANet joins the celebrations and hereby highlights its contributions to gender equality on the internet, where its efforts are geared toward legal and policy initiatives that strengthen women’s digital rights.
What have we done so far?
KICTANet’s focus on women’s digital rights dates back to 2010 when we conducted a study on Women and Cybercrime: the Dark Side of ICTs and a second report on the same topic in 2013. We highlighted the extent of prevalence of cybercrime against women and the inadequate legal and policy framework at a time when Kenya was yet to pass the Kenya Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act, 2018.
In the spirit of securing women’s safety online, KICTANet has produced policy brief on creating safe online spaces for women and Trends of Online Violence against Women in Politics. During the COVID19 Pandemic in Kenya which highlights the challenges of women politicians as they interacted with their constituents online.
Our work did not stop here. Internally, we have designed programs and operations that have incorporated gender diversity. For example, in our flagship events – the Kenya Internet Governance Forum (KIGF) and the Kenya School of Internet Governance (KeSIG), we have deliberately brought in more women voices at both global and national levels to ICT policy development processes. The impact of this is evident as we have begun to see KESIG alumni running different internet governance initiatives at grassroot levels. The alumni are also spread out in the Global Tech Companies, Kenya civil society, the government and private sector Companies whose focus is ICT policy.
KICTANet is cognisant of some women who are not active on the web due to online safety concerns. Accordingly. It embarked on a digital literacy and safety programme and for example trained 25 women university students. The training armed young women with vital skills to safely and confidently navigate the digital spaces. Moreover you can access KICTANet’s comic strip on a safer internet for women, available in both English and Kiswahili. Notably, through valuable partnerships with DW Akademie, AMWIK and Siasa Place, KICTANet has been able to train and enhance women’s capacity to safely navigate digital spaces.
KICTANet has in addition identified the need to equip women with content creation skills in order for them to participate in the digital economy and unleash their creativity online. The Women @Web Content Creation Guidebook aids women content creators to sharpen their skills and better navigate storytelling through blogs, vlogs, podcasts and other social media platforms.
Looking ahead – KICTANet’s Programs for 2022
- In line with this year’s theme #BreakTheBias, KICTANet in collaboration with its partners is focusing on women\’s digital rights and security. Look out for our next projects on data protection and privacy from a gender perspective. We are currently developing more resources in the context of East Africa, to enhance women’s confidence and security in cyberspace.
- KICTANet will shed light on the inclusion of women from minority groups such as Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) and ethic minorities in the digital revolution.
- The Network will continue promoting women\’s voices from the counties through KeSIG and KIGF.
- Finally, this being an election year, KICTANet will be engaging women in politics as the internet continues to play an important role in election campaigns.
What other recommendations do you have for strengthening women’s digital rights online? Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin and give us your suggestions. #IWD2022. #WomensDigitalRights #BreakTheBias
Angela Minayo is KICTANet\’s Program Officer- Women\’s Digital Rights.She has previously worked as a legal and policy Researcher on Inclusion, Women and Freedom of Expression Rights on the internet. To relax she enjoys travelling and learning foreign languages. @minayoangela