The Internet Society Asia Pacific Bureau and the ISOC Delhi Chapter hosted a webinar on Diversity and Inclusion.
There was a key note address from Japleen Pasricha; a feminist, an activist, Founder and Editor-in-chief of Feminism in India followed by updates from ISOC Mumbai, ISOC Malaysia, ISOC Sri Lanka; ISOC Nepal, ISOC Afghanistan and PICISOC.
The webinar identified what diversity is and why we need diversity. The different social positions of people and the need to bring people at the margins to the centre in-order to have richer conversations and contributions.
It highlighted the technology gap between men and women, identifying tech spaces as male dominated with programs aimed at getting more girls and women into STEM.
The technology gap is reflected on the internet with less women accessing the internet.
In India surveillance, linguistic barriers, societal barriers like censorship and online harassment were identified as some reasons less women access the internet. Trolling, Doxing and revenge porn were also identified as reasons.
It has become hard to identify whether online harassment can be classified as harassment because it is done online, also whether calling one out for speaking their mind or not letting one speak their mind can be considered a violation of ones right to exist online.
Japleen concluded her key note with: “To make any space safe or diverse, have people from that community represented in that space”.
To have more women on the internet in order to make it safer for women and for women to reclaim the space to make it safer for each other.
Shveta from the ISOC Mumbai Chapter quoted a poem from Charles Bennafield in her brief:
“I’m diversity embrace me and we’ll journey far. I’m Diversity include me and we will reach the shining star.”
For PICISOC, I provided the update of the PICISOC board having recently elected 3 women into its key positions of Vice Chair: Anju Mangal, Secretary: Maureen Hilyard and Treasurer: Cherie Lagakali.
The PICOSOC board has formalized its code of conduct and netiquette documents for the mailing list and its members. This is to level the playing field and ensure discussions are relevant, inclusive and also to discourage bullying.
PICISOC is working to encourage and enhance participation by reintroducing PacINET, a networking event for Pacific Islanders in technology and training, have a Pacific IGF and Vanuatu will be having its first national IGF in May, 2019.
There were 5 PICISOC members who attended ICANN 63 and 2 will attend ICANN 64, one of which is founder of coco nets, a network of women in ICT in Tonga.
To view this webinar on LIVESTREAM: https://livestream.com/internetsociety/diversity/
Cherie Lagakali is a programmer, presently works as a Database Consultant for Rosie Holidays Fiji. She is a board member of the Pacific Islands Chapter of the Internet Society (PICISOC) and is a member of the Asia Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum (APrIGF) multistakeeholder working group.