Feminist Digital Justice

Feminist Digital Justice is a collaborative research and advocacy initiative of IT for Change and DAWN (Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era). We aim to re-interpret the emerging techno-social paradigm from a Southern feminist standpoint. The project foregrounds debates at the intersection of enduring feminist concerns about gender justice and women’s human rights on the one hand, and emerging issues at the digital frontier on the other. It responds to the urgent need for Southern visions of transformative change in these times of paradigmatic shift, exhorting feminists from the South to engage with the political economy of data, and to use their knowledge and experience to re-frame the debates. In doing this, we seek to support and strengthen informed and cutting edge feminist analysis and action.

Research Outputs

Study on Menstrual Apps

Upcoming, 2021: This study, conducted in partnership with DAWN, seeks to undertake a feminist political economy exploration of data policies and practices through close analysis of the erosion of privacy and data autonomy in the menstrual apps market. It looks to examine how self data-tracking practices shape data subjectivity, as well as the policy aspects of data processing by platform companies (especially from the Global South), to examine whose data is collected by whom and for what, within the global circuits of surveillance capitalism.

Growing e-Commerce and Diminishing Labor Rights: Platform Work in Argentina, 2020-2021 (Issue Paper 5)

Read it in English here | Read it in Spanish here

April, 2021: This is the fifth issue paper, written by Flora Partenio. This paper presents a feminist analysis of the tensions and disputes around the regulation of platform labor, particularly in the context of delivery workers in Argentina. It outlines the strategies deployed by powerful transnational or trans-Latin corporations to lobby against regulations directing them to take on the responsibilities of employers, with an eye on increasing their profits. It also examines the forms of labor regulations and social protections that would be essential for platform workers in the post-Covid context, taking into account inequalities that lie at the intersections of gender, race, class, and immigration status. Finally, it disputes this so-called new normal for work from a feminist perspective and a Global South framework, and lays down the conditions that would lead to a more just and equitable agenda.

Can Digital Justice Meet Social Justice? Lessons from Kerala During the Pandemic (Issue Paper 4)

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March, 2021: This is the fourth issue paper, written by Vanita Nayak Mukherjee. This paper looks at the consequences of widespread digitalization in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, and at the role of the state in assuring social protection through access to digital technologies. Using the example of the southern Indian state of Kerala, the paper explores digital justice and its overlaps with social justice, with a special focus on online education, and argues that pre-existing and ongoing social justice approaches and initiatives have provided a critical underpinning for digital justice in the state.

A Feminist Future of Work in the Post-Pandemic Moment (Issue Paper 3)

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April, 2020: This is the third issue paper, written by Anita Gurumurthy. This paper discusses how the platform economy – dominated by a few firms – is extractivist, exploitative and expedient. It is based on an unsustainable model with scant regard for natural resources, and is built on the back of a global division of labor that bears the marks of race, class, gender, and geography. The paper emphasizes the necessity of a new social contract, as if women matter, ensuring social and economic citizenship for women.

From Ill-Founded Delusions to Real Possibilities: An e­-Commerce Agenda for Women’s Empowerment (Issue Paper 2)

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October, 2019: This is the second issue paper, co-written by Anita Gurumurthy and Nandini Chami. It takes a closer look at the e-commerce agenda, exploring its potential for furthering a global trade order that corresponds to feminist visions of economic and gender justice.

Gender Equality in the Digital Economy: Emerging Issues (Issue Paper 1)

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October, 2019: This is the first issue paper, co-written by Anita Gurumurthy, Nandini Chami and Cecilia Alemany. It outlines a strategic road map that focuses on new legal­ institutional frameworks and data governance models to counter data extractivism and women’s exploitation. It envisions alternative data­-based development approaches that work for women from the South to carve out a new global social contract for the digital economy, founded on feminist ethics.

Media Pieces

Feminist Digital Futures (Bot Populi Podcast Series)

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March, 2021: Feminist Digital Futures, a series on the Bot Populi podcast, launched on March 8, 2021. The first set of conversations in this series explores feminist imaginations of social media with scholars, activists and leaders from the Global South. How does the intersectionality of gender identities affect the way we experience social media? What does feminist social media look like? What changes in platform governance and alternative techno-design can help us realize feminist visions of social media? Join us as we discuss all these questions and more with our guests.

No magic bullets – Reclaiming the transformatory potential of e-commerce for women’s empowerment (Bot Populi)

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June, 2019: Nandini Chami explored the harms of the hyper-liberalization of digital trade and its hard-coding into binding rules through multilateral and plurilateral processes for women in the Global South in this piece for Bot Populi. She emphasized how developing countries need to urgently find a way to come together to hold firmly to the ‘right to regulate’ digital trade, rejecting the dominant policy rhetoric on gender and e-commerce.

Events and Engagements

Masterclass on 'Economies Through Data: Southern Feminist Perspectives'

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November, 2020: Anita Gurumurthy gave a masterclass on Economies Through Data: Southern Feminist Perspectives, as part of the World Social Forum of Transformative Economies, 2020. This masterclass was organized by DAWN and Escuela de Economia Feminista in collaboration with IT for Change and Feminist Digital Justice. Anita discussed how the struggles for labor rights and digital justice are articulated, and analyzed the conditions of the global expansion of data extractivist capitalism, the digital economy and platform work.

Understanding Data Capitalism (Workshop on Digitalisation and Women)

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October, 2020: IT for Change's Khawla Zainab and Ankita Aggarwal gave a presentation on Understanding Data Capitalism as part of a two-day workshop on Digitalisation and Women. The workshop, organized by World March of Women, saw feminist activists from across countries coming together to discuss issues such as digitalization and women's labor, discrimination and inequalities regarding algorithms, data extractivism and artificial intelligence, digital violence, digitalism and feminist activism.

Panel on Free Trade & Women’s Human Rights Before & During the Covid-19 Pandemic

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June, 2020: Nandini Chami was one of the speakers at this webinar, which focused on the ways in which the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has further exacerbated the undermining of the rights outlined in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPfA), whilst cementing corporate power and exacerbating existing inequalities within and between countries.

The Digital Economy in Asia: Feminist Perspectives (Webinar)

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April, 2020: Anita Gurumurthy participated in this webinar hosted by FES in Asia and WIDE+ which explored feminist perspectives on how the Fourth Industrial Revolution is impacting the present and future of women's work in Asian economies. It particularly focused on the gender digital divide and implications of platformization and automation of value chains on women's work and livelihoods in Asia as well as future priorities for feminist recommendations in the region.

Will the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) promote women's rights? Unpacking the new generation of mega trade deals

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December, 2019: Anita Gurumurthy participated in this webinar that analyzed the gendered impacts of the RCEP, which has been under closed negotiation since 2012. By working to expand liberalization and deregulation, the RCEP will deeply impact the over 1.1 billion women falling under its jurisdiction, particularly women farmers and workers, and urban poor, rural, and Indigenous women who are already grappling with the devastating impacts of WTO rules.

Does the digital economy promote women's rights? Unpacking the myths

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September, 2019: Nandini Chami represented the Feminist Digital Justice project at this webinar that unpacked the dominant discourse in trade and economic policy spaces: that digitalization of the economy will automatically empower women from the Global South by opening up new opportunities for entrepreneurship and flexible employment. The webinar also imagined feminist trade and economic policies to regulate the digitalization of our economies in a way that empowers all women.  

Towards an Empowerment Scorecard for Women in e-Commerce (UNCTAD e-Comm Week)

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April, 2019: Nandini Chami represented the Feminist Digital Justice project as a panelist for the session 'Towards an empowerment scorecard for women in e-commerce' at UNCTAD's e-Commerce Week 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland. The panel deliberated on topics such as the success of the global digital economy and the current e-commerce regime in furthering women’s empowerment and gender equality, the kinds of policy spaces that are vital for women’s empowerment at the national level, and how to build an initial set of parameters to evaluate e-commerce policy systems for gender inclusiveness.

Jobs for Millennials in a Digital World: E-Commerce and the Future of Work (WTO Public Forum 2019)

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October, 2019: Nandini Chami presented a feminist political economy analysis of global digital trade debates at a panel organised by UNISON Trade Justice Movement. With digitization changing the world of work and with millennials at the forefront, this panel explored how future jobs could be affected by the WTO's e-commerce agenda and how we can create digital trade rules that match millennials' aspirations for satisfying work.

Trade, Digital Economy and Women’s Access to Decent Work (WTO Public Forum 2019)

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October, 2019: Nandini Chami presented a feminist political economy analysis of global digital trade debates at a workshop organised by WIDE+. This workshop assessed the impacts of digitalization on women’s current working conditions in order to assess its future effects. It zoomed in on the question of whether it is providing decent work, with proper social protection, and provided recommendations to counter negative developments in the service sector in trade agreements.

#Leave No Woman Behind – Furthering gender equality in the digital economy (WTO Public Forum 2018)

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October, 2018: The digital economy can be a game-changer for gender equality, especially in developing country contexts. But this potential can be unlocked only if the policy roadmap focuses on women’s meaningful inclusion in the digital marketplace and on creating ‘high value’ opportunities through digital innovations in key economic domains. This panel discussion traced the key elements of this roadmap and included Anita Gurumurthy, Aileen Kwa, Sofía Scasserra and Cecilia Alemany.


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