Report by Mark Kaigwa et al: “The “Dada Disinfo: Technology-Facilitated Gender-Based Violence (TFGBV) Report,” prepared by Nendo and Pollicy, outlines the pervasive issue of TFGBV in Kenya’s vibrant but volatile social media ecosystem. The report draws on extensive research, including social media analytics, surveys, and in-depth interviews with content creators, to shed light on the manifestations, perpetrators, and impacts of TFGBV. The project, supported by USAID and conducted in collaboration with Pollicy, integrates advanced analytics to offer insights and potential solutions to mitigate online gender-based violence in Kenya…(More)”.

In the Land of the Unreal

Book by Lisa Messeri: “In the mid-2010s, a passionate community of Los Angeles-based storytellers, media artists, and tech innovators formed around virtual reality (VR), believing that it could remedy society’s ills. Lisa Messeri offers an ethnographic exploration of this community, which conceptualized VR as an “empathy machine” that could provide glimpses into diverse social realities. She outlines how, in the aftermath of #MeToo, the backlash against Silicon Valley, and the turmoil of the Trump administration, it was imagined that VR—if led by women and other marginalized voices—could bring about a better world. Messeri delves into the fantasies that allowed this vision to flourish, exposing the paradox of attempting to use a singular VR experience to mend a fractured reality full of multiple, conflicting social truths. She theorizes this dynamic as unreal, noting how dreams of empathy collide with reality’s irreducibility to a “common” good. With In the Land of the Unreal, Messeri navigates the intersection of place, technology, and social change to show that technology alone cannot upend systemic forces attached to gender and race…(More)”.

Counting Feminicide: Data Feminism in Action

Book by Catherine D’Ignazio: “What isn’t counted doesn’t count. And mainstream institutions systematically fail to account for feminicide, the gender-related killing of women and girls, including cisgender and transgender women. Against this failure, Counting Feminicide brings to the fore the work of data activists across the Americas who are documenting such murders—and challenging the reigning logic of data science by centering care, memory, and justice in their work. Drawing on Data Against Feminicide, a large-scale collaborative research project, Catherine D’Ignazio describes the creative, intellectual, and emotional labor of feminicide data activists who are at the forefront of a data ethics that rigorously and consistently takes power and people into account.

Individuals, researchers, and journalists—these data activists scour news sources to assemble spreadsheets and databases of women killed by gender-related violence, then circulate those data in a variety of creative and political forms. Their work reveals the potential of restorative/transformative data science—the use of systematic information to, first, heal communities from the violence and trauma produced by structural inequality and, second, envision and work toward the world in which such violence has been eliminated. Specifically, D’Ignazio explores the possibilities and limitations of counting and quantification—reducing complex social phenomena to convenient, sortable, aggregable forms—when the goal is nothing short of the elimination of gender-related violence.

Counting Feminicide showcases the incredible power of data feminism in practice, in which each murdered woman or girl counts, and, in being counted, joins a collective demand for the restoration of rights and a transformation of the gendered order of the world…(More)”.

Gender Reboot: Reprogramming Gender Rights in the Age of AI

Book by Eleonore Fournier-Tombs: “This book explores gender norms and women’s rights in the age of AI. The author examines how gender dynamics have evolved in the spheres of work, self-image and safety, and education, and how these might be reflected in current challenges in AI development. The book also explores opportunities in AI to address issues facing women, and how we might harness current technological developments for gender equality. Taking a narrative tone, the book is interwoven with stories and a reflection on the raising young children during the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes both expert and personal interviews to create a nuanced and multidimensional perspective on the state of women’s rights and what might be done to move forward…(More)”.

India’s persistent, gendered digital divide

Article by Caiwei Chen: “In a society where women, especially unmarried girls, still have to fight to own a smartphone, would men — and institutional patriarchy — really be willing to share political power?

In September, the Indian government passed a landmark law, under which a third of the seats in the lower house and state assemblies would be reserved for women. Amid the euphoria of celebrating this development, a somewhat cynical question I’ve been thinking about is: Why do only 31% of women own a mobile phone in India compared to over 60% of men? This in a country that is poised to have 1 billion smartphone users by 2026.

It’s not that the euphoria is without merit. Twenty-seven years after the idea was first birthed, the Narendra Modi government was able to excavate the issue out of the deep freeze and breathe it back into life. The execution of the quota will still take a few years as it has been linked to the redrawing of constituency boundaries.

But in the meantime, as women, we should brace ourselves for the pushbacks — small and big — that will come our way.

In an increasingly wired world, this digital divide has real-life consequences.  

The gender gap — between men and women, boys and girls — isn’t only about cellular phones and internet access. This inequity perfectly encapsulates all the other biases that India’s women have had to contend with — from a disparity in education opportunities to overzealous moral policing. It is about denying women power — and even bodily autonomy…(More)”.

Building Responsive Investments in Gender Equality using Gender Data System Maturity Models

Tools and resources by Data2X and Open Data Watch: “.. to help countries check the maturity of their gender data systems and set priorities for gender data investments. The new Building Responsive Investments in Data for Gender Equality (BRIDGE) tool is designed for use by gender data focal points in national statistical offices (NSOs) of low- and middle- income countries and by their partners within the national statistical system (NSS) to communicate gender data priorities to domestic sources of financing and international donors.

The BRIDGE results will help gender data stakeholders understand the current maturity level of their gender data system, diagnose strengths and weaknesses, and identify priority areas for improvement. They will also serve as an input to any roadmap or action plan developed in collaboration with key stakeholders within the NSS.

Below are links to and explanations of our ‘Gender Data System Maturity Model’ briefs (a long and short version), our BRIDGE assessment and tools methodology, how-to guide, questionnaire, and scoring form that will provide an overall assessment of system maturity and insight into potential action plans to strengthen gender data systems…(More)”.

Destination? Care Blocks!

Blog by Natalia González Alarcón, Hannah Chafetz, Diana Rodríguez Franco, Uma Kalkar, Bapu Vaitla, & Stefaan G. Verhulst: “Time poverty” caused by unpaid care work overload, such as washing, cleaning, cooking, and caring for their care-receivers is a structural consequence of gender inequality. In the City of Bogotá, 1.2 million women — 30% of their total women’s population — carry out unpaid care work full-time. If such work was compensated, it would represent 13% of Bogotá’s GDP and 20% of the country’s GDP. Moreover, the care burden falls disproportionately on women’s shoulder and prevents them from furthering their education, achieving financial autonomy, participating in their community, and tending to their personal wellbeing.

To address the care burden and its spillover consequences on women’s economic autonomy, well-being and political participation, in October 2020, Bogotá Mayor Claudia López launched the Care Block Initiative. Care Blocks, or Manzanas del cuidado, are centralized areas for women’s economic, social, medical, educational, and personal well-being and advancement. They provide services simultaneously for caregivers and care-receivers.

As the program expands from 19 existing Care Blocks to 45 Care Blocks by the end of 2035, decision-makers face another issue: mobility is a critical and often limiting factor for women when accessing Care Blocks in Bogotá.

On May 19th, 2023, The GovLabData2X, and the Secretariat for Women’s Affairs, in the City Government of Bogotá co-hosted a studio that aimed to scope a purposeful and gender-conscious data collaborative that addresses mobility-related issues affecting the access of Care Blocks in Bogotá. Convening experts across the gender, mobility, policy, and data ecosystems, the studio focused on (1) prioritizing the critical questions as it relates to mobility and access to Care Blocks and (2) identifying the data sources and actors that could be tapped into to set up a new data collaborative…(More)”.

“My sex-related data is more sensitive than my financial data and I want the same level of security and privacy”: User Risk Perceptions and Protective Actions in Female-oriented Technologies

Paper by Maryam Mehrnezhad, and Teresa Almeida: “The digitalization of the reproductive body has engaged myriads of cutting-edge technologies in supporting people to know and tackle their intimate health. Generally understood as female technologies (aka female-oriented technologies or ‘FemTech’), these products and systems collect a wide range of intimate data which are processed, transferred, saved and shared with other parties. In this paper, we explore how the “data-hungry” nature of this industry and the lack of proper safeguarding mechanisms, standards, and regulations for vulnerable data can lead to complex harms or faint agentic potential. We adopted mixed methods in exploring users’ understanding of the security and privacy (SP) of these technologies. Our findings show that while users can speculate the range of harms and risks associated with these technologies, they are not equipped and provided with the technological skills to protect themselves against such risks. We discuss a number of approaches, including participatory threat modelling and SP by design, in the context of this work and conclude that such approaches are critical to protect users in these sensitive systems…(More)”.

Can Mobility of Care Be Identified From Transit Fare Card Data? A Case Study In Washington D.C.

Paper by Daniela Shuman, et al: “Studies in the literature have found significant differences in travel behavior by gender on public transit that are largely attributable to household and care responsibilities falling disproportionately on women. While the majority of studies have relied on survey and qualitative data to assess “mobility of care”, we propose a novel data-driven workflow utilizing transit fare card transactions, name-based gender inference, and geospatial analysis to identify mobility of care trip making. We find that the share of women travelers trip-chaining in the direct vicinity of mobility of care places of interest is 10% – 15% higher than men….(More)”.

Big data proves mobility is not gender-neutral

Blog by Ellin Ivarsson, Aiga Stokenberg and Juan Ignacio Fulponi: “All over the world, there is growing evidence showing that women and men travel differently. While there are many reasons behind this, one key factor is the persistence of traditional gender norms and roles that translate into different household responsibilities, different work schedules, and, ultimately, different mobility needs. Greater overall risk aversion and sensitivity to safety issues also play an important role in how women get around. Yet gender often remains an afterthought in the transport sector, meaning most policies or infrastructure investment plans are not designed to take into account the specific mobility needs of women.

The good news is that big data can help change that. In a recent study, the World Bank Transport team combined several data sources to analyze how women travel around the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area (AMBA), including mobile phone signal data, congestion data from Waze, public transport smart card data, and data from a survey implemented by the team in early 2022 with over 20,300 car and motorcycle users.

Our research revealed that, on average, women in AMBA travel less often than men, travel shorter distances, and tend to engage in more complex trips with multiple stops and purposes. On average, 65 percent of the trips made by women are shorter than 5 kilometers, compared to 60 percent among men. Also, women’s hourly travel patterns are different, with 10 percent more trips than men during the mid-day off-peak hour, mostly originating in central AMBA. This reflects the larger burden of household responsibilities faced by women – such as picking children up from school – and the fact that women tend to work more irregular hours…(More)” See also Gender gaps in urban mobility.