Many participants expressed interest in taking the numerous strands that emerged from the two days of the dialogue forward, in their research and their everyday engagement in different institutional spaces. One recurring theme that came up was the need for in-depth documentation of gender-based cyber violence from across the country, reflecting regional differences and highlighting similarities in the experiences of women from different walks of life. It was felt that in such documentation, specific attention should be devoted to deconstructing the experiences of cyber violence from the standpoint of the queer community. Another key concern raised by participants was that when examining institutional responses to gender-based cyber violence, it was vital to take a closer look at the family.
Some also proposed investigating female labor who contribute to the care work involved in implementing community standards that sustain online platforms. Participants felt that it would be critical to bring in scientists and technologists into the fold to question hegemonic masculinities that operate within the scientific community and work towards gender-responsive design of all technologies.
It was also felt that addressing gender-based cyber violence should be an integral part of the ‘gendering access’ agenda.
Anita Gurumurthy, IT for Change, Bengaluru and Asha Achuthan, Advanced Centre for Women’s Studies, TISS, Mumbai observed how the dialogue provided the opportunity to understand differences and even build solidarities across ideological differences, in order to define a feminist ethic on engaging with the Internet through debate.
Gender terminology and how we use and generate them are closely related to gender justice. Due process and the law has conventionally been defined in a top-down manner, that may inadvertently lead to a system that provides justice to a select few. Feminists need to suggest new framings that are inclusive, through processes that meaningfully engage with those from discriminated-against locations.
It was clear that crafting legal responses to address gender-based cyber violence calls for empirical research as well as theoretical framings of digital rights that build upon historical debates of women’s rights in the country.