Best Practice Forum on Gender & Access
07 December 2016 - A Best Practice Forum on in Guadalajara,Mexico
>> MODERATOR: Good morning, how are we feeling today? So hello and welcome to the session that is aiming to have a conversation and share with you a little bit about the work of the Best Practice Forum on gender and access. That we have been doing for the past year. My name is Jac, I'm with the Association for Progressive Communications and I'm also co‑organising this BPF together with Renata. We have with us a really excellent lineup of discussants who have done a lot of work in this area and we are very excited to also hear what they have to say and share and engage with us in terms of some of the key finding from the BPF, and as we are talking the methodology as well, you will be able to see actually the amount of people who have actually also contributed to some of this work and we are quite excited about it.
Okay. So we have with us Claire Sibthorpe from SMA, as well as youth observatory, Louis Marie Hurel, we have Alison Gillwald from research ICT Africa, Ritu Strivastava as well as Peter Bloom, Mexico, and Doreen from ITU who may be replaced by Prita in a bit. Hopefully you can join us for a while. Okay. So what we will do is we will present to you some of the key findings and then invite discussants to engage with pieces of it as we go along and hopefully ‑‑ I'm bad with time management so I'm looking to Anri, please tell me. So hopefully we will have time to have a broader conversation about the discussion with everybody here because I'm sure you have a lot of input to give. So, Renata, do you want to introduce the BPF in the mandate.
>> RENATA AQUINO RIBEIRO: Hi, I hope you can hear me okay. I am Renata, I am from Brazil and with Jac and all of the wonderful volunteers here we are part of the BPF gender which is an intersessional work of the IGF. This means that we are a yearlong work. We focus on specific themes related to gender. The BPF started already started in 2015 with a focus on violence against women on line, and ways to, a roadmap of ways to fight against violence against women. And in 2016 our focus was gender and access, how to connect the next billion of people in the world having in mind that 600 million of those are women unconnected in the world, and we have articulated this work with national and regional initiatives. So Brazil IGF, LAC IGF, Asia‑Pacific IGF, and many other contributors.
It is a pleasure to have you all here today, and to show some of our work on our report which is currently on IGF review platform that you can all follow the intersessional work and comment and give your feedback. So thank you very much.
>> MODERATOR: Thanks, Renata. Anri would you share about how we came about this.
>> ANRI VAN DER SPUY: I'm Anri van der Spuy. I'm from South Africa and the rapporteur appointed to help this initiative last year and this year. Maybe I think Renata touched on this, just to provide context on how this fits into the IGF world, the IGF a couple of years ago decided to do intersessional activities with the aim of having more tangible outputs. One of the suggestions was to have Best Practice Forums on topics that were pertinent or are pertinent to the future of the Internet. And about two years ago I think Jac advocated for a more gender related topic in the IGF.
And last year as Renata with mentioning we had the first Best Practice Forum on gender and that looked at online abuse and gender‑based violence. A lot of you were involve in that process. We produced quite a substantive report at the end of last year and this report also to some subsequent folds on that. It is a different topic but it is related. So in general that's how it fit news the IGF. BPFs, Best Practice Forums are free to adopt their own methodology so that's an interesting part as lock as they ascribe to the normal IGF values of being multistakeholder and bottom up and inclusive. So in general, that's what we have tried to do as much in the past two years is to have as many participants from different regions and you will see through our methodology which is informal, we try to bring in participants at different stages of the process. So the best practice form rum this year uses a very similar process than we did last year in terms of having dedicated mailing list where we try to involve more people. We had a section on the IGF website. We still have the section where we provided regular updates and what the Best Practice Forum was doing. And I think one of the things that sort of keeps the momentum through the year is regular virtual meetings.
So every two weeks we had a meeting of approximately an hour where we discussed what we would be doing. So the process was really community‑driven and in the meetings we would decide what the next steps are, et cetera. Because a lot of people don't have the time to join meetings every two weeks we also have other processes to enable people to join at different phases of work. One of the biggest parts we have done last year and this year was to have a survey distributed to various mailing lists. We reached out to people directly to provide us inputs. This year we had 76 responses and for some people that might not sound like a lot, but in the IGF world that is quite a lot.
43% were from Civil Society which I think is probably to be expected considering the theme. We also had more from the technology sector this year. I think last year it was 2%, this year 12%. Still not enough. What is interesting this year is we had a lot of input from not only individuals but also companies and organisations working in the field. So foundation, learn Asia, et cetera. So that was great submitting reports, et cetera. So there was a lot more collaboration in different phases. The other interesting thing about the survey was the regional diversity and input came from Developing Countries which was great to us. 37% were from Latin America, 21% under Africa and it wasn't like all of those respondents were from one country. They were from diversity of countries.
This isn't representative at all, but it provides an interesting sort of sample of what's going on around the world in terms of this issue. In addition to the surveys, we also had case studies so poem who couldn't join the meetings could submit background information about initiatives they are running around getting more women on line, and that's actually ongoing. And we used something new this year which I think worked really well, and Renata was fundamental in launching that is having more participation at national regional IGF initiatives. So we organized a couple of meetings at I think it was Brazil IGF, LAC IGF, and one at APrIGF, the Asia‑Pacific IGF, sorry for the acronyms. That was great in sort of gathering stories from different regions and a lot of narratives.
So after all of these processes what we do is try to draft a report considering all of this input, and that report is then published on the IGF review platform. It was published about a month ago, the first one, and then we get comments, we collect the comments and analyze and incorporate them to produce the second draft. The second draft is currently on the IGF review platform so feel free to comment on that. We will incorporate those comments in the final draft. That's where we are at, thanks, Jac.
>> JAC SM KEE: As you can tell we have been busy in the past year and there has been a lot of contribution, a lot of the BPF communities who participated in this room who have not been named so far, but you can see the full list in the report. So why did we decide to address gender and access? As you can sell, BPF looks at particular topics and we decided that having a BPF on gender is critical. Why are we looking at gender and access? One is to make the link between Sustainable Development Goals and the work of the figure.
This is something you have also been hearing in different spaces throughout the IGF this year, and the SDGs, goal 9 is talking access to ICTs and goal 5 talks about the need to empower women, and within that goal C I believe is the one taken to ICTs towards empowerment. So that frames the question around this.
Gosh, my mouth went faster than my brain. I suddenly had to pause which means I have to slow down. I will slow down. So one is to make the link with SDGs and the other is to recognize that there has been a lot of good work done in this area. In the past, I think, at least ten years a lot has really been addressing the gender digital gap and this is an opportunity to both look at the work and sort of map out, okay, this is what is happening right now, let's try to aggregate them to some extent and let's see what the work that can be distributed toward the BPF toward this field and we decided to focus on two things because it's the one‑year period and it's a massive complicated universe.
We decided to focus on, one, looking at barriers to access, what could the barriers be specifically, as well as to map out initiatives that have been done to try and address some of the barriers to access, so to also try and map out what are the current initiatives and how the initiatives address specific barriers to access that we have identified. This is the work we try to do in this year.
And so as you were talking about access, what do we mean? We mean we are just talking about not just access for who, but access for what. So does access contribute to the improvement of women's lives and what does this mean? How can this actually translate into that piece? So if you don't see ‑‑ so one of the things we noticed in looking at the research and also in having this conversation is this notion of a value lag. So if you don't see the value of accessing the Internet to your lives, then even if you gave out free laptops, et cetera, you are not going to take it on. It's not going to matter to you. It's an additional thing you have to take on rather than something that is going to add value to your life.
So especially for women given the actual realities and context that they have is multiple responsibilities, not a lot of time, different kind of socialization expectation, this value lag becomes an important thing to think about. How do you then think about what does this mean? How do you actually pinpoint value to accessing the Internet? And it's an interesting area for further research, I suppose, in terms of identifying the factors toward this. And one more than thing about thinking about meaningful access and addressing the value lag as well is you flip the positionality of women not just looking at them as users of technology, but as active participants of technology. So you not only will think about, okay, I should spend some amount of my time and money into accessing technology, but also in terms of shaping and defending it, and that sort of matters quite a lot.
For example, in the research that we did in APC around on the issue of sexuality and the Internet, for a lot of people who have been discriminated on the basis of their sexuality, access to technology becomes an important thing because a very valuable thing for them in terms of their personal lives as well as their ability to participate in public life. So they look at access not just as a point of, okay, I need to be able to access the Internet for economic empowerment, for example, but then you also then become invested in defending and promoting and shaping the kind of Internet that you want, and that sort of bricks in the whole loop ‑‑ brings in the whole loop.
So one of the key findings, one of the main things that popped up in the BPF work is that context matters as with all kinds of research really context is a very, very important thing that affects and influences a variety of things in relation to access. This, of course, then presents a bit of a research challenge because as you are doing research in very specific context and trying to pull out the specificity of the context so between rural, urban, et cetera, how are you able to extrapolate this so you can learn best lessons or how are you able to compare between various factors? How does this, how do we address this in terms of trying to understand this issue more when actually context is at the heart of it. We have to start from context itself otherwise we will end up with a lot of missed assumptions in terms of trying to think about this this issue.
The other thing is that renal on matters. We ‑‑ region matters. We collected a lot of case studies and toys from various research from Anri from Latin America and Asia and some things are similar but some things are quite ‑‑ I want to encourage you to have a look at the reports and then comment the hell out of it. So please put in stuff. The other thing that we observed that is an important factor is also about age. So age differences not just in terms of young people but older women so the life cycle of ages and different challenges that present itself in interprets of barriers from young women itself to different ages in life.
And finally, one thing that sort of came up that we didn't go so much in depth into in the report because as we are having conversations about it, things do tend to come up is the point of access. So are we talking about community access or are we talking about individual access? And then what does this mean when you have these two different points? When you are thinking about solutions or you are thinking about trying to understand the problem? And this is where it becomes interesting also when you add agenda into it because of the kind of socialization and factors that matters at both points in terms of individual level as well as at community level and how do you encourage ownership, you know, ownership and control over the devices itself and the distribution, value, so on.
Okay. So a quick ‑‑ oh, this is the older slide. It doesn't matter, you can look at the report but what we wanted to show you was a quick‑over view on the survey just so that you can see how respondents look, which barrier did they see as most important or most significant and most impactful and so on? As we are trying to figure this out.
We looked at existing research that's been done, we pulled out factors and variables that has been identified. It's the right one. It's just me then. And then we sort of grouped them into different kinds of different categories. Let me see if I have it here. So one of the categories was culture and norms, the other was in terms of barriers, categories of carriers of access. Women's ability to participate in decision making roles in relation, in decision making roles, lack of capacity and relevant skills, availability of relevant policies, and availability of relevant infrastructure as well as availability of relevant content and applications. So these are the different factors and then we added another as well.
So from that in the discussions as well as in the survey findings, two things that came out quite strongly in this work and also in the conversations that we had in the regional IGFs and in the different workshops, the first one was really the criticality of the role of culture and norms. You can't really start to unpack the issue around gender and access without first paying attention to the issue of culture and norms because all of the disparity, I guess disparity in terms of access to the Internet sits in existing gender disparity of all other things so you can't really say why is there a gender gap and unpack the issue around affordability without interrogating disparate in terms of economic power income levels. You can't think about issues around capacities and skills without thinking about issues around literacy on gender itself.
So the good news is a lot of work has been done around looking and measuring gender disparities in terms of a lot of these different areas, some areas are easier to mention than others, income, education, for example. Some are more tricky. And it's also context space, variable, it interplays with different things so how do you then pinpoint into this and really measure this and think about this in a way that is useable?
So what we did in terms of the, in terms of the BPF is from the inputs that we received, we broadly and roughly categorized them into a few different areas. One is the area of gender roles. So what is the socialized role for women and men and how does this translate into prioritization over access to technology? How do you make decisions around this? So, for example, if access to technology is being seen as only valuable for things that you can do in the public domain, so employment, participation in politics, for example, and the public domains and domains of life is already very gendered so private domain belongs to women, household, care, bla, bla, bla, public domain is more masculine domain and the value to technology has been placed in the public domain then you will automatically have a gap that you will have to address in thinking through this.
And secondly, the thing, girls and women are also subjected to heavy social surveillance. Social surveillance in the home as well as social surveillance outside and how does this translate into access puzzles and questions, so one of the things that has been discussed quite a lot in Asia, for example, is the small villages, small informal governance structures in small villages where they have come up with even edict to say young women who own mobile phones, young women are prohibited from owning mobile phones so it's basically unmarried women because it will contribute to immorality of all kind of social furor and panic.
And if you own a mobile phone, you will get fined and if somebody reports you, they will get a reward. This is the context in which it's sitting on and this edict of sort of informal policy is expanding. And Governments are keeping silent about this. If the state keeps silent about something it is, therefore, complicit into the extrapolation of thinking about access.
So that's one. The second one is already expression and content. So something that somebody said in a disco tech two days ago is that access to the Internet is not just about access to infrastructure, but it's also about access to content. When you think about it from the norms and cultural perspective, what kinds of content is relevant to you? And as we are having conversations also with people who are providing community access points work that has to do with content as well, content generation for women and girls is limited to motherhood and beauty. So this reinforces stereotype and then the stereo type reinforces discrimination and the discrimination reinforces the whole notion around value and gender gaps.
Thirdly, again, the digital culture and the value lag that I spoke about earlier, so the masculine culture of technology, how do you prioritize it? Who is it valuable for? Fourth, multiple responsibilities and limited time. This is something we know about women so do you then spend additional time to build the skills, learn things, et cetera. And finally around capacity. So a story that came from the Best Practice Forum on one of the experiences that was shared is that one of the BPF participants shared about their mother.
So her mom has no confidence to really spend the time to learn and figure out and play with technology to try and acquire these skills. She really is afraid she might break something so she will wait whereas the father on the other hand has much more of an experimental approach to it even though they are of the same age. So this is where you see age and gender intersecting. So she will wait for the father and brother to finish using whatever it is and then it's her time to tinker. At a micro level it affects in terms of how affect at which point and whose access to technology that is?
This is someone that Fet said, you know how infrastructure really affects how we can organize and move in a room, no? So it also translates metaphorical viewpoint of Internet infrastructure. What kind of infrastructure do you have and it sort of predetermines what you can or cannot do in this room. I'm glad it is filling up. Come in, sit on the floor, share a Chair maybe and then maybe take a picture and show the Secretariat we need a bigger room next year.
There is more spaces at the side. So, Clare, GSM has done a lot of interesting research looking at culture and norms specifically, can you share a little bit about this?
>> I'm Clare, I'm head of connective women at GSMA. We look specifically at mobile because in Developing Countries that's the main tool that people are using to access the Internet. And we, for example, did a very big study which we published last year which looked across a number of countries, what was interesting is when we asked women and men, because we look at what are the differences, you know, what are their barriers? I lot of barriers were reported for the same around women and men around cost, access, but what we are seeing is that women are disproportionately affected by barriers because of social norms and I think our research is showing and it's well articulated by Alison's research that things like income and education are huge predictors as to whether you have access and use a phone. So there are structural inequalities between men and women that are driving the disparity and social norms because technology sit s? A social context.
So I will just give a couple of examples from some of our research to highlight financial autonomy and social norms so I mean there are a few general things that came out around women's lack of time, mobility, controls around their restricted controls around their access, but a couple of examples are so I will highlight, for example, one from India, when we did the study in India, we asked who made the decisions around mobile phone purchase, the hand sets and the credit, and in the study and in the group, the survey respondents, only 1% of women said that they made ‑‑ 19 of women. They made the purchase themselves. So of the women that are using their own income and money they are using, 61% said they had to get permission to spend money on a hand set or credit.
So this is quite this is sort of highlights the restrictions and it has an impact. So if you are not making a decision to purchase your technology device, it means you are often getting a cheaper device so you are not getting an Internet enabled device or you are not getting the same access that you would if you had more control. So this is sort of these sort of lack of financial autonomy in some of these issues has a significant impact.
And another example I will give is that when we did this research, the sort of third biggest barrier that came out for why women were not accessing and using mobile is safety and harassment. This came out stronger for women than men. This is issues around fear of handset theft, being, getting harassing calls from strangers, harassment on line. And these are, again, this is, felt more by women and we asked follow‑up questions where people were reporting that's acceptable that it's for men to check their phones. Men were reporting that they were checking wife's phones, but when we asked is it okay to check the man's phone, much less, and it was much less acceptable for that to happen.
So there is a lot of control, and it results in, it was resulting in some husbands and men restricting women or not allowing women to go on line because of concerns around them having affairs. They felt that these harassing calls that women were getting from strangers were because they were inviting them. At the same time in some of the interviews and focus groups men were saying if we call a number and a woman answers, we will keep it and keep calling. So this sort of behavior was restricting access.
We looked, for example, even in Kenya a year ago at some of what was being downloaded and interestingly, the number two downloaded application in Kenya was a call blocking service. This shows the extent that some of the sort of behavior is having and is affecting. So I would just agree with the comments that you are making that the reason some barriers affect women more is because it's affecting women more with women having lower income, lower education, some controls are being put on them by men and some men using the concern around safety as an excuse to prevent women from having access, for saying concerns around safety to visit an Internet access point or a mobile phone pop up point or to go on line for safety because they are protecting women in their family, so using that as an excuse to prevent access.
I would agree that this is definitely a very difficult, but a very important issue to look at.
>> MODERATOR: That flows quite nicely into the second barrier I wanted to talk about which is around threats. Before I go there, one of the things, one of the dominant discourse around promoting access for women is it's through mobile. It's cheaper. The reason for is it affordability factor, but considering that mobiles, you can see mobile is a device because it's such a personal thing. It is also subjected to quite a lot of, I think the whole social and cultural norms impact. This is where you talk about level of access at a personal level.
So is there maybe a limitation in terms of thinking about mobiles as a viable, as the most available, I guess, option for access for women?
>> AUDIENCE: All of the women in our research are showing they really wanted the value that is given to life, the impact it's made in terms of their lives, I mean, there is no question, again, in our research last year nobody questioned the value of it. So I think there is, I would also make a comment, we believe that it needs to be about individual ownership rather than shared ownership. Those who are sharing in countries where there is a lot of mobile phone sharing, women were getting less access to the technology, had much less digital literacy and confidence so it was definitely inhibiting their, and the shared one was going even when it was a woman's phone to be shared frequently, it was going out of the house, men were getting it. We did research with learn Asia last year, on what decisions were made on who had the phone it was the person going out to earn income which was typically the man so the shared ownership was resulting in women having much less access.
>> MODERATOR: Cool. Maybe I will ask this question later on to some people who are doing more community access solutions to think through some of the comparisons. So the second thing that came out quite strongly and that's my face, which is a bit disturbing. Where is the slide? Take away my face. The second thing that came out quite prominently in terms of barrier, and this we didn't put into the survey because we didn't see this coming up quite so strongly in the existing research.
It came up as we were looking through survey results and as we are discussing this issue as well and, Clair you are also sharing in terms of research is around online abuse and gender‑based violence. In terms of security risks to getting to the access points whether you are having a mobile in fear of it being tape away or going to an access point where you don't feel comfortable or receive on route and at the moment of access itself. So once you get on line, the kinds of threats you actually face when you are on line. This contributes to a sense of hostility towards access to the Internet. It contributes to the value lag and it contributes to the form of exclusion.
So Angie, would you talk about the youth observatory work and your thoughts around this and the declaration that you share as part of the
>> Thanks Jac. Good morning, Latin American Women Delegation is a text what young women say and one part of the Internet. It's a collaborative work of women who participate in observatory. The Latin American check clarification is always a voice. The observatory, one of the objective is young people to participate in issues of Internet Governance what happens in young women on Internet? What women think and we state that we have talked about access, why are there so many women with an Internet access ‑‑ without Internet access and security and privacy? I have become recording practice on the Internet. We consider the Internet is to empower, if the fact that is environment provides woman confidence and expression.
The age reflects and social practice adopt the environment with Internet Governance ecosystem. But there is a speech say women shall be users, but where is all participants and content graders that this is necessary? And (No English translation). Thank you, Renata, and all young women in the observatory who collaborate in declaration women young.
>> MODERATOR: Thanks Angie and the youth declaration is in the appendix. So if you would like to look more in trying to unpack what are the issues young women face it's a good point of resource. And to bring back to the work of last year's BPF as well which we really looked quite extensively into the issue of online abuse and gender‑based violence, what we have produced as a continuation of that work is a roadmap in terms of recommendations or ways forward on ways to try and address some of the issues at different aspects, so in terms of capacity, in terms of policy, in terms of applications and so on. So this is something you can maybe look to if this is an area you are quite keen to address.
I'm going to flip the session a little bit. We were going to talk about affordability and infrastructure as barriers as well as content skills and application, but because Avri Doria has to leave soon I think so let's move to policies in decision making. The availability of relevant policies has been cited as being quite important. I can't remember which research I was looking at as well, but a lot of Government broadband policies are quite gender blind. It's quite interesting to see that there is gender blind policy but at the same time there is quite a lot of initiatives that are being done around gender and access. So there is bit of disconnect. Can you tell us about ITU's work in this area in particular around the equals work on mapping initiatives?
>> Thank you. Thanks so much. Can you hear me? Thank you for being accommodating. First of all, congratulations for all of the work that you have done since last year. It's really quite impressive, and we are very excited to be working more closely with all of you. I won't get into all of the details about the equals initiative because we do have an event on Friday morning and I would invite you all to come, but simply to say it's a new initiative that the ITU and UN Women have launched back in May, and it very much corresponds to SDG5, SDG17, which is all about partnerships and, of course, SDG9 where we are hoping to insure universal and affordable connectivity for all including women.
So as part of our work on equals which is essentially a framework to bring interested partners together under a common umbrella and we are focusing on three specific areas which are all linked, so we are looking at access, we are looking at skills and we are looking at leadership we are looking at women in tech, so how to get more women involved in working in the tech industry, and then eventually how to make sure that those women end up in leadership positions.
What's different about this initiative is that we are very much focused on evidence‑based. We don't want it to be about just talking. We want it to be about action and in order to be able to take those actions, we want to make sure that we have the right data. And that we are really taking an evidence‑based approach. So we are working very closely with academia. Our partner on the academic side is UN University. We are working with the computing centre.
And there are other universities that will be joining up under the coordination of UN University. So what we have done, and I would invite you to have a look, is we have done a mapping of existing initiatives that we are aware of. We have some 240 initiatives that are mapped on this digital gender inclusion map. You can see the map on equals.org. And what we have done with those initiatives, we have done interviews and we have done a survey. What we have concluded from our research so far is that most of the initiatives that are out there are very focused in Developed Countries.
Only 15% of those initiatives are actually looking at access. And a lot of them, of course, have issues related to funding, and, of course, scalability. So we are going to continue to do our research we are discussing with Anri how can we include a lot of the work that your partners are doing here in the best practice for yum, and we will continue to populate this digital gender map with the hopes of then being able to identify where specifically are there gaps, either in countries or in regions, and then the equals partnership will begin to actually do in country specific activities and I will stop there and perhaps we can lead question. My colleague, Pretem is here so he will stay when I have to leave. Thank you.
>> MODERATOR: Thanks, door even, and I guess if you are interested to find out more come to the session on Friday which we will also be participating in and talk a little bit about that. Now, I'm trying to flip my brain and think about two threats that came up. One is around participation that came up in youth observatory remarks and in terms of leadership and how do we ensure thinking about access in terms of participation. And the other thing that you mentioned is about evidence‑based programming, so thinking about initiatives and programming that have to be based very much on research.
So let me see which thread to follow. Let's follow the research thread for now. So there is a lot of research that's been done around gender and access, especially around affordability and availability. We have with us quite a lot of awesome people who have done really awesome research in this area, and Alison ‑‑ Alison Gillwald would you tell us about the work you have done in this work as well, especially seminal important that you did four years ago in Africa.
>> ALISON GILLWALD: Research ICT Africa is a 20 country research network. It mobilizes around evidence‑based policy, evidence‑based research in order to inform policy around digital inequality and trying to insure outcomes of policy interventions. So I want to congratulate everyone on the effort that's been put into this and the remarkable stories and insights that have been provided by the research and the inputs that have been made, but I do want to highlight that we are still sitting with major evidence problem and a data problem that I think it is really incumbent on us to address if we don't want to come back each year, ten years from now, sort of telling the same tragic story without much progress on how to address them.
I'm not saying there is no progress, but I think there is not the kind of systematic improvement that is required to address the problem. So I'm going to speak a little bit now as to what I see as the main problems because that affects the potential policy interventions, but I think basically, and I'm apologizing for those of you who were in the data session yesterday, but I think we are sitting with a problem where we have got these very interesting stories on the outside, but we are sitting with a sort of big hole in the middle of the kind of, you know, public statistics, the kind of national statistics or very context specific statistics that you need.
We need, you know, in order to make evidence‑based policy, we need, you know, public good statistics, non‑rivalrous, in the public domain statistics. So we have been trying to develop with a lot of support from IDRC for the last ten years in ICT. So I want to talk about this for gender in particular. There is the ongoing of supply side data by the ITU.
It's very uneven. The ITU will tell you itself about the trouble it has getting decent statistics from countries and from developing countries in particular, but also from operators, problems around national regulatories have in getting that data. So we have got a big problem with the supply side data particularly in prepaid mobile environments which is where the dominant problem is because you simply cannot get that data from supply, you cannot get the information from supply side data and you can also, I must add because it's become so sexy cannot get it from big data either. So in a prepaid mobile environment, there is a lot of data you can get from big data that is useful and instantaneous, and I do think we need to create governance frameworks that oblige the public data which is actually ours to be used for public good purposes.
It should take the competitive edge off operators who are actually investigating these efforts and getting these services to the poor and to poor women limited as it is in most of our countries. That's how it's being delivered. So I think it's important to understand this systematically and that's what we do, and so some of our interventions and our policy interventions are really about addressing the inequality systemically. So let me go to some of the data and it's correct that there has been on the regularity with which we have been doing this. I'm happy to say in much smaller numbers we will be doing ICT access and youth surveys in Africa, in Asia and a few countries in South America as well.
And the focus of this, of these studies now is really beyond access. So, of course, we pick up the access data because that's important and once you go into the field you will do it, but it's really only through this demand side data that you can conclude nationally, you know, national statistics. You can conclude. You can actually measure inequalities and differences between men and women. And I just want to say one more point about that, because even where we are getting some countries and valiantly trying to connect ICT access and youth survey data either in this instance it's very small numbers or in the household or community surveys that they do, their annual surveys, this data is obviously, you know, it's limited. But so it's really the only way we are going to get to understand the usage challenges, the, you know, the effects of other structural inequalities on ICT access and use is actually through the collecting of the nationally representative demand side data. I don't want to sound elite and academic and picky about this, but unless you have that data, you are unable to analyze and model the data that gives you the correct answers.
So you might be actually concluding incorrect things and I think that's important because the descriptive statistics on their own as they are collected particularly from demand side data but also from the supply side data can mask other inequality. So they can mask the effects or they can actually mask, so if you just look at the descriptive data on gender, for example, it sometimes looks like there is a serious gender problem.
If you are looking at mobile voice services, for example, there is generally not a big gender gap on mobile voice services, non‑smart Phones, services, et cetera, you are now even the most unequal areas of the world in terms of communication services in Africa, there is inequality at in places in Africa women have more mobile phones than men. When you get to usage, there are differences because they don't have the income to digitally stay on line as much and things like that.
These are quite different from the Internet environment. Once we get into the Internet environment we see from the early take up of mobile broadband which made the Internet possible in most parts of the world we see that there is quite early on a disparity between men and women. What our main findings from the first round of research on mobile use of the Internet is that if you controls as Clair was pointing to for income and education, then there was not a major gender difference around ITT access and use of ITTs. If you control for income and education on ITT access and use there are particular countries, particularly in Asia where there are strong cultural things, women's income isn't the same as men's, there are still disparities around the usage of phones.
But it's also very important to get the data in a way that you can begin to do the disaggregation on urban and rural. Urban men and women are, the least disparity around urban men and women around Internet use than you see between urban women and rural women. I think this is an important thing because we speak about gender, you know, women from different income groups and different things all have the same problem. They do not. Poor men and poor women have far more in common around ITT use than gender. And I'm talking about access and use, obviously the intersectionality of culture class and race are not going to often be picked up in this kind of survey and the qualitative rigorous qualitative empirical work is equally critical.
I'm sorry, I will make one last point. I can see your hand. So there is a lot of things to say about that but I wanted to say because of these conclusions, a lot of the ‑‑ and we work very closely with policy and regulators, but we also, you know, we want to see practical outcomes. So we want to move beyond indignation and outrage to actually something positive that can come out of it. So a lot of our solutions are actually because we understand this as an ICT ecosystem and it's very systematic and if one understands the fusion models and how they take up and first adopters, we will see the cycle with Internet, we should be learning from the mobile round what is happening. You will see this and it will be equalizing time. There will be other issues we have to address particularly around education and skills with the Internet.
And in this regard, I want us to appeal that in our multi‑stakeholderism we leverage the expertise and the responsibilities of different players in this. So this isn't just an only Civil Society meeting of good and sad stories, but that we actually make Governments accountable for those, you know, public statistics. Yes. So our Governments need to be made responsible for that and our academia and they need to be made responsible for the analysis and stuff that's required in order to inform policy. As I said, you don't just get it from a simple quantitative data. It requires work that we need to be feeding into.
There is a lot of literature already made that we are going into it with ICTs as if we are dealing with inequality for the first time. We need to be feeding into the literature, pulling it into ICT and working more strongly on that. So just to go back very quickly then to the policy because it really ties into the previous session. So because we understand the systematic and we are essentially concerned with connecting the poor and getting the poor able to be on line more effectively and I want to express the importance of demand. I'm talking about accessibility and affordable, and affordability is the key in this work, but our solutions, therefore, are, and it's going to tie into the community access thing, our solutions are systematic, are systematic. So what we are promoting, we have done a big project with the World Bank in Zambia on gender and it will be publicized shortly and we are trying to create new methods and trying to get the World Bank to think about this. It's exciting, we have used public data in Zambia that is underutilized.
It doesn't answer all of the questions we want and because there is no open access, we are unable to run that data ourselves and do what we want, or we could get them to run it and there was very interesting information on education inequalities and income inequality that produce the kind of inequalities that we see. I just wanted to say also there is lots of data like household data and surveys, labor force surveys.
We have extremely useful on gender inequality out of the labor force survey. So it's the data we can use to better understand the ICT environment so very many of our solutions are about improving public Wi‑Fi so the people can be on line more, you know, using secondary spectrum and these things to get down the general cost and improve the general access. And because women are concentrated at the bottom of the pyramid and in the poor, uneducated and generally low incomes, those improvements will inherently benefit women as well. And some men which we don't have a problem with.
>> MODERATOR: You have thrown in a lot of things in terms of research, challenges, utilization of big data and available big data and thinking about how to link big data as developing a governance structure around that which I am so interested in. And then also about, and then you said something which is about affordability being the main stimulus for demand.
And I'm not sure about that actually. I think affordability is at one point of the spectrum but I'm not sure if that is the main and primary thing as in is some of the research that has shown even when it's affordable maybe you don't actually, you don't make that choice that I'm going to actually then utilize this amount of money for that.
And I don't have the term for it, but that's kind of loosely what I'm calling the value lag in terms of what does this mean to me in my life. I'm wondering about research in this area. How do you do this kind of demand side and looking at existing research on, say, stuff that is around income, around education? Yes, there is a lot of good work done there, but the other bits that are harder to pinpoint. I think that's where I'm interested to hear a little bit more. Before that, tell us about the foundation on affordability.
>> So my name is Nanjaris from the foundation and I will talk about what we have called poverty, income even equality in the case of mistaken affordable. With poverty and income inequality when you look at what the world has given us the measurement of absolute or extreme poverty we are looking the 1.9 billion people in absolute poverty, 835 million in extreme poverty. The price of a basic broadband connection represents such a high proportion of their income that they would have to spend on data bundles or any sort of connectivity that those earning average income, and here as has already been emerging and how we analyze broadband prices.
We have to look at how it plays out for high income earners, middle income earners and those living in extreme and absolute poverty. So when we are talking about entry level access and affordability as, for instance, is given us a target by the broadband commission at 5% of, 500MB of data costing about 5% of average national income. It's such disparities when you start breaking it down to different income groups.
So here then it emerges that women are adding 30% to 50% less income earning 30% to 50% less income. So when we say we are wanting them to be able to own the device but connect continually there are so many other factors that come in. So how are we analyzing that has to be very, very important.
So you find that it's not just about that, there is the income inequality and cost of data and the devices. This has been coming up quite a bit. We have found, for instance, women in poor communities in countries that we did household survey research on, women are 50% more likely to be connecting to the Internet and two top things they talk about is lack of knowhow which has started to be discussed but affordability aspect.
So then we, that's the picture we have, but since we also need to push ourselves towards what we need to do there, I think one of the first things you said with meaningful access is if with define basic entry level as 500MB, you think about how much you can do with 500MB in this room. We probably represent a very different dynamic, but how much can we do with 500MB to define as basic entry broadband.
If we want to continue with that being the level we will not likely achieve universal access by 2020 as SDG9 is so nicely calling for us faux do. We need a more ambitious affordable target. So we found with the research and data, I refer it you to the alliance for affordable Internet. One gigabyte of mobile data, for instance, should not cost more than 2% of income, average income in the different groups that we are talking about here or else we will be, Alison said we will be coming back here every other year, every third year and we have the same discussion, and this is something we are working with our partners to actually agitate the Governments who have all seemingly left in our different countries to see how this needs to happen. The data component as has been highlighted is very born, disaggregated data that helps us to understand the gender dynamics in every gender group.
So that's how we are looking at it and so then all of these other factors and it's not in isolation, however, which is great for the report you have put together, how all of these things come in context. So I think we can tackle the enemy from one side, but we have to put it all in context. Yes.
>> MODERATOR: So now I jump back. One of the things we looked at was around skills and capacities and also around content and application. And as we were mapping initiatives we found that actually a lot more, there is a concentration of initiatives that is addressing this particular barrier, which is around skills, which is around content, it's about getting women and girls into STEM, for example, and this has been around kind of before the current debate around gender and access because it also follows a development discourse. It's pushing for greater skills, greater capacity and so on.
And somebody said this in the conversation two days ago which I found to be very interesting is that sometimes development discourse instrumentalize particular bodies so particular kinds of bodies become instrumentalized in the development discourse and push for particular things and this is where participation becomes important, thinking about participation of whom you are trying to benefit at the end of this initiative, this long multiple complex spectrum.
And I will now turn to both Ritu and Pitta who do community projects, one on wireless and one on radio in the sense of how do you think about this notion of participation, how do you engage with different communities about thinking about access at that level in terms of encouraging also ownership, control, et cetera, and how does this then fall back and fall back into policy interventions and advocacy that you are doing.
>> RITU STRIVASTAVA: Let me start with when you were talking at breakfast and saying that there are five men is community network and the one woman is sitting there. So the access barrier starts there. When you talk about technology, the participation of the men and the engagement of the men is very limited. That makes that group as well.
And technology makes itself like a barrier like women have stepped aside or they feel that this is something that's not being understandable by the men itself. I work with the foundation where we have been implementing wireless community policy in more than in one centers and across the country as well. It mean that's women participation, specifically in a wireless technology is limited, but when they are engaged, they engage, they want to engage with all terms from the climbing of the towers when they are doing routing and other stuff as well.
But, yes, the problem with, again, challenges, why they will do, how will they do, it's difficult for them ‑‑ it is difficult for them how will they climb the tower and they do not understand technology. It's like a very easy access mean to access technology, it's easy to access ‑‑ it's unable to understand those modalities that technology is meant for men instead of for women or it's only those men are very friendly for men.
Where I come from in India, when the women are used to giving a secondhand mobile phones. Women are either the phones are owned by a brother, father, or someone who is holding the phone. The decision maker of buying a phone is sometimes by men or even the choosing of a phone is by men also doing things by who is owning that mobile phone and the cost of a phone itself it is decided by someone else.
Similarly, the cost of a mobile phone and how much data it has to go in that phone, how much package we charge you to do it, a woman does not have power to decide it. It's being decided by somebody else. Either it's a person who is deciding on their behalf. It could be because of the various reasons that has already mentioned in the report that the culture and challenge, affordability of that particular income or that particular family that, okay, this mobile phone is important for the family. If woman is still holding it, how much data they can give it that, how many income they can give to that. The second point is when we are talking about public Wi‑Fi access points, it's still that the women are unable to reach public Wi‑Fi access points in terms of first there is a cost involvement that how will they reach it out, and even if it's closest by as well.
It comes through the social political challenge that it's a group of women or men who is accessing that point. You will be ‑‑ so specifically in rural villages when we will see that, if there is a centre when has women trainer or women person who is handling that centre, it's more easy for them to access the centre, but if it's men who is accessing that centre or coordinating for the centre, it is difficult for them to access this particular centre or access point itself.
Another kind of is the cost of accessing that access point itself is include the social and economic cost. Social cost is that they need to leave their family to access the access points and they are multitasking they are already doing it. How much time they can include for that particular thing and that they can access those centre points and they can access those points.
And the economic cost is how will they reach? What is the cost? They will get out of their one day villages. So those economic costs are also.
>> MODERATOR: The one of the things we are doing to acknowledge literacy is to realize that not everybody who accesses the Internet is not able to read. So the use color codes and sound pads on the phone in order to build capacity around skills and on top of social and economic costs you talk about the other cost that came up in some of the conversations is the transactional cost of privacy.
So this actually matters a lot even when you think about, especially when you think about things like Internet.org where I have, if I cannot, if I cannot afford the economic cost of getting access, if I choose to pay the social cost of getting access, and then I have to pay the transactional privacy cost also of getting access, which means you extract data from me in order for me to get a particular kind of access to a particular kind of Internet which is also something that they are thinking about.
>> Good morning, thank you for the invitation. I'm humbled to be here, Jac asked me to join the panel a few days ago and I said I don't know anything about this topic and she said that's perfect. So to give you some perspective from those of us who work on community networks and local connectivity initiatives here in the Global South, I work with an organisation. We help communities build and maintain mobile networks.
I think there is some things to draw out, one is the issue of access. Accessing what? What are we accessing? And how is that meaningful for women and how is that going to transform their lives as the definition that you provided into something better? And how do we actually influence that when we don't have control over the networks? So I think there are two ways to think about this. One is the affordability and the real vents issue so how much does it cost and is it relevance to me, is it in my language, is it something that will help me. On networks which already exist but we don't have control over is access to a 2 or 3G mobile connection is that meaningful access? What can you do with that?
What services or applications are you actually engaging with when you do that, and how do those services and applications take on any sort of agenda perspective? And as we have seen, many don't. So in the best cases they are sort of ignorant as to what to do, I'm talking about the large Internet applications that many use to do social media and so on and in the worst of cases they simply ignore it.
So what I do think coming from the community perspective and sort of the more perspective of the connecting the unconnected, what is the opportunity that we have to do something different? What is the opportunity that we have now to say it's not just about accessing a predetermined thing that not only isn't relevant in many cases but also maybe is harmful to me? We talk about controlling, harassment, so on. But how do we do that from a community context in which we can't deny in many cases there are gender issues, underlying gender issues that are not addressed.
So in what ways can community networks be more than the sum of their parts? How can they become something that is transformative in places that perhaps have decided, you know, or the men have decided not to deal with gender issues? And that's, I think, and so I do appreciate the invitation to be here because in trying to prepare these remarks we have been having interesting conversations over on the side of the weird geeks that actually build the networks.
So this issue of creating transformative networks I think is what we want to focus on, so how do we actually from the beginning including gender perspective as we build out community networks? And how do you do that in places where maybe they are not thinking about those things? And I think it's a great opportunity to deal with it and you deal with them at the same time. Talking about gender is very hard in many places and so is talking about technology, but nevertheless you have an opportunity when a new network comes around to deal with some of these things so what happens in some of our cases, we see, and it's many of the same concerns that have been raised about when people connect to corporate controlled networks is this idea of subverting local surveillance, you know, local patriarchal surveillance of women. So when we have our assemblies in the communities to talk about how the network is going to be built, who is going to participate and so on, the first issue that inevitably comes up is are men raising their hand and saying now that we have control of the local data so the metadata stays within the communities, the men want to know how they are going to access the metadata in order to insure that their wives, sisters, daughters, aren't speaking to men that they don't want them to.
And the advantage that we have is that we can actually talk about that and actually create our own policies that address that. And so far so good in terms of the ways that communities have as part of the process of putting up the networks have begun to question some of these different issues that maintain these patriarchal systems in the communities and one of those is the way that women's bodies are surveilled and controlled.
So I very much think that that's what we can add into this. We think about connecting the next, I think the number keeps getting bandied about, 3.9 billion people. There seems to be imperative to connect them. The question is how is that going to happen and to insure that as it does happen that we recognize the opportunity to do something different, but that's going to depend on the ways that we decide to do the connectivity. So thank you very much.
>> MODERATOR: Thanks Pita, and this is part of my secret agenda to get you to suffer with the male geeks for community access. This is how it starts. You start asking the question and you go, yes, actually, even at this point how do we design something that's very different if you are talking about transformation and control and then to break it up a little bit. So now we have 20 minutes. We have 20 minutes for open discussion points, thoughts, observations, things that made you go wow! Or know, I totally agree. So the floor is yours and please keep your interventions as brief as possible, introduce yourself and then your intervention. Thank you.
>> AUDIENCE: Manuela Perrela, Dominican Republic and youth IGF 2016. I personally believe that even though it will reduce the cost for the service for the Internet access service, it's going to be the digital divide because I think there is just a matter of choosing. Somebody has access and somebody chooses not to have. So I was just thinking that you said about the affordability, 2% cannot be more of the income so in the Dominican Republic it's so much more than that.
So I just want to know what can we do in order to ‑‑ this is going to be involved with any users, so with the Civil Society we usually have the alliance for affordable Internet in the Dominican Republic which is involving that, but there are so many ways that we can do something else in order to not, I mean, to reduce the affordability, to reduce the cost of the Internet service. Thank you.
>> MODERATOR: I'm wondering if this 2% thing is looking at a particular way of accessing information? Is this talking about mobiles or broadband or are we talking about different ways of acc