IGF 2022 DC-Gender: Who's Watching the Machines? New Tech, Gender, Race & Sexuality

Wednesday, 30th November, 2022 (08:15 UTC) - Wednesday, 30th November, 2022 (09:45 UTC)

Dynamic Coalition on Gender and Internet Governance

Round Table - Circle - 90 Min


The DC on Gender and Internet Governance session will be a roundtable discussion on the intersection of advanced technologies, gender and sexuality, human rights online especially freedom of expression, and marginalised communities. Facial recognition softwares are biased against people of colour, queer and trans persons, persons with disabilities, and women, and are discriminatory. In spite of this, they are increasingly used for identification and verification, and for ‘security’, and in justice systems. Research on artificial intelligence has shown that it’s embedded with the same racial and gendered prejudices that exist in society, and is exclusionary towards marginalised people due to the algorithms and the limited data sets that are used to train it. Algorithms are also increasingly used by various social media platforms to address online gender based violence and hate speech. This does not work as a lot of hate speech is in non-English languages, and colloquial misogynist, xenophobic and casteiest abuses often slip through the gap. Researchers working on addressing online gender based violence have pointed out the need for human moderators in the reporting processes. Deep fakes are more easily available and abused to harass women and LGBTQ persons. Machine-learning and AI has also been used to manipulate votes and elections results, directly affecting democratic processes in several countries. It is clear from the current state of advanced technologies and research around the same that there is an urgent need to pay close attention to them. Facial recognition, surveillance tech, AI, machine-learning, data systems etc. are all inherently prejudiced. Therefore, it is important to understand sooner rather than later, how this affects structurally silenced and marginalised communities and people in the digital age and online spaces. This session will bring together researchers, practitioners, and people working on digital rights and freedoms to share and discuss the impact of advanced tech on different communities, and what needs to be done to course correct. Do we want to reject certain technology, like how CCTV cameras with facial recognition are banned in some places? How are advanced tech undermining our right to freedom of expression among other freedoms? What does the current landscape look like? Who is profitting off these technologies? How do we understand and address the role of big data and data systems in this? These are some questions that will be deliberated upon.

To facilitate interaction between all participants and speakers, we will have a detailed plan for the roundtable, with clearly set out roles and responsibilities for online and onsite moderators and speakers. Both our online and onsite moderators have prior experience moderating sessions. We’ll ensure that online and onsite moderators are thoroughly briefed prior to the session, so that they’re able to ensure meaningful and equal participation for both online and onsite participants. Any visual materials used will be made accessible to online participants through the virtual meeting platform and to onsite participants through a screen at the venue. Any resources shared will be accessible to online participants through Chat; our Rapporteur will help consolidate the list of resources which the onsite moderator can share with onsite participants.


Shohini Banerjee, Point of View, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Smita V, Association for Progressive Communications, Asia Pacific Debarati Das, Point of View, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Zahra Gabuji, Point of View, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Riddhi Mehta, Point of View, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Maduli Thaosen, Point of View, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific


Srinidhi Raghavan, Rising Flame, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Chenai Chair, Mozilla, Civil Society, Africa Liz Orembo, KICTANet, Civil Society, Africa Smita V., Association for Progressive Communications, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Sheena Magenya, Association for Progressive Communications, Civil Society, Africa

Onsite Moderator

Smita V

Online Moderator

Shohini Banerjee


Maduli Thaosen



Targets: The session focuses on SDG target 5b: “Enhancing the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women”. It will look at the intersections of advanced tech, gender and sexuality in how they relate to human rights of women and people of marginalised genders and sexualities. It will also identify and reflect on biases in facial recognition, surveillance tech, and AI that are barriers to women and LGBTQIA+ people’s use of such technology. Speakers and participants will share recommendations and reflect on intersectional perspectives on what enabling new tech can look like for women and gender minorities, how we can rethink tech to make it more meaningfully inclusive & intersectional, and how this can promote the rights of women and gender minorities.