IGF 2023 DC-Gender Disability, Gender, and Digital Self-Determination

Tuesday, 10th October, 2023 (00:30 UTC) - Wednesday, 11th October, 2023 (01:30 UTC)
Room I

Dynamic Coalition on Gender and Internet Governance

Panel - 60 Min


Affordable Access
Digital, Media, and Information Literacy
Gender Digital Divide
Skills Building for Basic and Advanced Technologies (Meaningful Access)


As our daily digital footprints grow, human society is grappling with new concepts, experiences and understandings of the relationships between our lives and the technologies that we use. Who are we as digital beings? Are we able to determine our ‘selves’ in a data-driven society? How do we locate ourselves as empowered data subjects in the digital age? How do we re-imagine human autonomy, agency and sovereignty in the age of datafication? Self-determination has been a foundational concept related to human existence, with distinct yet overlapping cultural, social, psychological, philosophical understandings built over time. Similarly, Digital Self-Determination (DSD) is a complex notion re-shaping what we understand as self-determination itself. DSD fundamentally affirms that a person’s data is an extension of themselves in cyberspace, and we need to consider how individuals and communities can have autonomy over our digital selves. Through a panel discussion centering intersectional feminist perspectives, with women, queer and trans persons with disabilities and experts working in the intersections of disability rights, gender, accessibility and technology, we will explore the idea of DSD through the lens of gender and lived experiences of persons with disabilities. Drawing from a first-of-its-kind series of DSD studios organized by Point of View in four cities in India, the panel will focus on the theme of digital divides and inclusion and also: 1) delve into the ability of women, gender and sexual minorities living with disabilities to digitally self-determine themselves using current/emerging digital technologies, based on lived realities of individuals from different geographies and contexts; 2) deepen understandings of the need and potential to work with persons with disabilities in developing new and emerging technologies; and 3) explore collaborative and learning opportunities to make DSD actionable and a reality for women, queer and trans persons living with disabilities. Through the lens of gender, sexuality and disability, the session will explore a bridge between access points and ‘pain-points’, and think of inclusive ways of determining the self in new digital life spaces, going beyond accessibility and also thinking about personhood, agency, choice, autonomy, rights and freedoms in digital spaces for persons with disabilities. We will draw from our experience of the DSD studios and as outcomes: 1) articulate an exploration of the root concept of DSD and its key components through the lens of disabilities and gender; 2) think of how we can co-create DSD through theory, practice, lived experiences, and concrete examples; and 3) operationalise DSD via a set of core principles and policy recommendations centering the intersections of gender and disability.

We will have a pre-designed session plan and online and onsite moderators to facilitate interaction between online and onsite participants and speakers. The moderators will ensure that online and onsite participants are provided equal time and opportunity to ask questions and share their reflections. Onsite questions will be collected by the moderator on-ground, and online participants will share their questions and reflections using Zoom chat which will be collated by the online moderator. We also need Live captions enabled on Zoom to ensure a more accessible experience of the session.


Debarati Das; Co-Lead, Capacity Building, Point of View; Civil Society; India (Asia and the Pacific)

Bishakha Datta; Programme Lead, Point of View; Civil Society; India (Asia and the Pacific)

Padmini Ray Murray; Founder, Design Beku; Civil Society; India (Asia and the Pacific)


Nirmita Narasimhan, Programme Director, Saksham and Senior Fellow and Programme Director with the Global Initiative for Inclusive ICT, Civil Society, India (Asia and the Pacific)

Katta Spiel; Hertha-Firnberg Scholar, Researcher, Lecturer; Vienna University of Technology; Civil Society; Austria (Central Europe)

Judy Okite; Senior Consultant, Accessibility and Equality; KICTANet; Civil Society; Kenya (Africa)

Onsite Moderator

Bishakha Datta

Online Moderator

Padmini Ray Murray


Debarati Das


5. Gender Equality

Targets: The session addresses issues around self-determination for women, gender and sexual minorities living with disabilities in digital spaces, such as, access, autonomy, choice, personhood, agency and power, which are essential to their rights, freedoms and empowerment. The panel will explore both barriers and enabling factors that women, queer and trans persons with disabilities experience in digital spaces, that limit or enable their self-determination, and recommend ways in which meaningful access and inclusion can be achieved in new digital life spaces, which is crucial to promoting the empowerment of women and gender minorities living with disabilities.