IGF 2023 Town Hall #106 Lost Voice- A gendered perspective on Internet Shutdowns


Internet Shutdowns

Tutorial - 30 Min


The South Asian and African region has been seeing a number of internet shutdowns. It also has conflict regions such as Kashmir in India, Balochistan in Pakistan, Tigray in Ethopia, Chad, Congo and Rakhine state in Myanmar which have seen pro longed shutdowns. The regions also faces numerous conflicts based on religion and ethnicity. Most regions in South Asia and Africa are still developing and are new democracies which face a lot of protests. Many shutdowns are imposed in reaction to these protests. The impact of these shutdowns is varied on different people depending upon their vocation, gender, area of residence etc. For women, South Asian and African regions are pre dominantly unsafe and patriarchal which offers few avenues of growth. Shutdowns hit women and marginalized communities hard. Information is hard to come by during Internet Shutdowns. There is no place for verification of information which creates the illusion that the outside world is not safe leading to women restricting to their homes. Internet Shutdowns are harder for ethnic minorities in comparison with gender minorities. In conflict zones, there is an impact on women's education. Parents and guardians do not feel its safe to send girls for higher education outside these zones. The session is aimed to document and set a record on what happens to women during shutdowns in underdeveloped parts of the world. Policy and technical responses to shutdowns need to keep women at the heart while developing responses.

We will allocate at minium 20 minutes in the 60-minute session for open interaction and Q&A with all participants. The online moderator will monitor questions/comments shared by virtual participants and ensure that they are brought into the discussion. Our wide networks will also allow us to ensure diverse participation from different regions and stakeholder groups that are impacted by the issues outlined for the session.


Software Freedom Law Centre
Radhika Jhalani, SFLC.in, Civil Society, Asia pacific


Felecia Antonio, Access Now, Civil Society, Global
Dragona kauftin, Localization Lab, United States
Radhika Jhalani, SFLC.in, India

Onsite Moderator

Radhika Jhalani

Online Moderator

Prasanth Sugathan


Radhika Jhalani


5. Gender Equality

Targets: Our world rapidly transforming into a web of devices and services connected by the internet. Attempts to hamper access to the internet therefore have far reaching consequences because it is turning into an essential service. Our session will delve into questions that are necessary to discuss to outline the role of UNnations in engaging and facilitating change in multilateral fora to prevent internet shutdowns, without which the goal of ensuring meaningful access to ICT and the internet cannot be achieved. This becomes worse for women and marginalized genders.