Curbing the Freedom of Expression for Women In Digital Spaces

Name: Japleen Pasricha

Organisation: Feminism in India

Country: India

Stakeholder Group: Civil Society Organisation

Thematic Area: Freedom of Expression

Session Title: Curbing the Freedom of Expression for Women In Digital Spaces

Session Format: PANEL (60 MINS)

Co-organizers Name (if any):

Speakers Name: Japleen Pasricha, Gurmehar Kaur, Nadika Nadja, Mahima Kaul, Rituparna Borah

Speaker Status: Invited

Relevance of the issue with specified session theme: Women’s expression, whether opinions or artwork or photographs, are constantly being curtailed on the internet. Be it from online harassment to the censorship of female nudity in photographs and artwork by social media platforms, women are constantly made to feel unwelcome on digital spaces and curtail their expression. This panel will discuss the various ways technology and society can make women’s participation in public spaces more egalitarian and safe, playing directly to the theme of freedom of speech, and under the subcategories of online violence against women and censorship.

Content of the session (Objective of the session): The session will be a panel discussion discussing various aspects of women’s participation in digital spaces. As we all know, women are subject to online violence and harassment in digital spaces, from gendered abuse to stalking to doxxing. This leads to a lot of women curtailing themselves and reducing their engagement with digital spaces.  In another kind of censorship, we see social media channels like Facebook and Twitter often taking down posts depicting the female body (especially visible female nipples) and its functions (like menstruation) even when non sexual in nature. Again, women’s expressions of their bodies is deemed “vulgar”. This session will then discuss the reasons and effects of such a censorship of women’s expression in digital spaces, and how digital spaces can better enable women’s safe and unrestrained participation within them.

What is USP of the session: A gender-based approach to accessibility to digital spaces and freedom of expression.

Please describe how you will use your speakers and how their views/ perspectives /expertise will be included in the session: The speakers come from a diverse background both professionally and personally, however, all of them have experienced online harassment or restriction in the way they use the internet. These diverse experiences and stories will engage the audience on different aspects of online harassment and freedom of expression

How are you bringing diversity in your proposed session whether it is relevant to the specified theme? The panellists represent diverse gender identities and sexual expressions. This is extremely important to the topic, because women are targeted based on their gender and sexuality.

Relevant Tags (Minimum 3 tags) freedom of expression, online harassment, censorship