Research

Research

In times of rapid, digitally-induced change, the knowledge space becomes a key area of capture and contestation. The state of play in the realm of concepts and frameworks is therefore a significant site for critical examination and informed action. Theoretical lenses and empirical facts must be used skilfully to trace who defines emergent social, economic and political ideas and how interests of different actors are impacted. IT for Change has been at the cutting edge of critical research, not only de-constructing dominant approaches and concepts in relation to digital developments, but also articulating alternative frameworks rooted in ideals of social justice and equity.

Current Projects

RECOGNISE, RESIST, REMEDY

2020 - Ongoing

This collaborative project between IT for Change, India and InternetLab, Brazil addresses gender-based hate speech in the online public sphere. Supported by International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the project responds to the current reality in both countries where women are not only speaking up against patriarchy, but also claiming public-political space despite pervasive sexism and misogyny.

It adopts three main strategies: (a) highlightng blind spots in dominant legal frameworks that prevent effective recognition of sexist/misogynistic speech online as a violation of women’s rights; (b) offering ways to reform content governance and intermediary liability legislation to ensure timely redressal; and (c) building a proof-

CENTERING WOMEN IN INDIA'S DIGITALISING ECONOMY

2020 - Ongoing
IT for Change, with support from the European Commission, is anchoring a five-year (2020-2024) collaborative action research to explore the potential of alternative digital platforms in sectors that traditionally employ women. Undertaken in partnership with Vrutti and LabourNet, the project aims to ensure that the benefits of a data-driven and digitalised economy accrue to women. It is underpinned by a vision of mainstreaming gender in policy and exploring inclusive models of platform economies.

‘UNSKEWING’ THE PLATFORM VALUE CHAIN

2020 - Ongoing

IT for Change is pleased to launch its two-year regional project on 'Unskewing the Platform Value Chain: Examining Role of Policy in Shaping Equitable Data Economies’. Supported by the Omidyar Network, this project will continue on the heels of our first phase of research on policies for the platform economy, a 14-country initiative that concluded in November 2019.

In this second phase, IT for Change will lead and coordinate empirical research on platform value chains and the political economy of data, looking closely at the domains of e-commerce and social media.

HEALTH DATA AS GLOBAL PUBLIC GOOD

2020 - Ongoing
Fondation Botnar has commissioned IT for Change to develop a nuanced framework, focussing on ‘Health Data as Global Public Good' to centrally include community ownership of data into it. The working paper is expected to lay out the nature, role and governance of health data in the emerging digital society and economy. This is to be done in a manner that helps Fondation Botnar, but also possibly a wider audience of policy makers and practitioners, develop an understanding of the issues and dynamics involved.

Data Governance Network

2020 - Ongoing

IT for Change is one of the four ‘nodes’ in the Data Governance Network (DGN) selected for research rigour and evidence of engagement in policy domains. The DGN was established by the IDFC Institute in 2019 to bring together some of India's leading policy think-tanks: National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, Internet Democracy Project and IT for Change. It identifies policy gaps in data governance and seeks to bridge them through policy interventions, research and advocac

Digital Justice Project

2018 - ongoing

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.

Past Projects

Righting Gender Wrongs

2018 - Ongoing

This exploratory research study of gender-based cyber violence was led by IT for Change with feminist partners across six sites of study in India, and covered the states of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The research used mixed methods - self administered surveys with college students between the ages of 19-23, key informant interviews with law enforcement officials, women’s rights lawyers and activists, family court lawyers, counselors,

Platform Policies

2017 - Ongoing
In April 2017, with support from the International Development Research Centre, Canada, IT for Change initiated a multi-country research study to map the key issues/concerns for the rights and inclusion agenda, stemming from pervasive platformisation. Through a detailed analysis of digital platforms, the project seeks to garner insights about key policy implications on access to data, competition, economic opportunity, and innovation.

ONLINE FREEDOM FOR ALL = NO UNFREEDOM FOR WOMEN - A PROJECT ON TECHNOLOGY-MEDIATED VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

2017 - 2018
World-over, technology-mediated violence against women is growing to be a serious social problem. Women’s full and free participation in digital spaces presupposes a safe online environment, but going online seem to be fraught with the risk of violence for women. Governments, especially in countries in the global South, are yet to bring their laws and institutions up-to-speed, to effectively respond to this issue. Against this backdrop, IT for Change and the World Wide Web Foundation initiated 'Online Freedom for All = No Unfreedom for Women', a project that intends to trigger national-level policy dialogues on balancing the right to free speech online with women's right to freedom from technology-mediated violence, in India and Bangladesh.

OER Adoption: Phase II

2017 - Ongoing
As part of the Research on Open Educational Resources for Development (ROER4D) network anchored by the University of Cape Town, IT for Change is undertaking an action research project on building a sustainable environment for OER access-creation-curation-publishing. In the first phase of the project, the Karnataka Open Educational Resources(KOER) programme for the co-creation of OER within a teachers' community of learning was studied. The project is currently exploring what it takes to build a scaled-up OER model that can become a systemic approach to teacher professional development in the public education system.

E-government and Gender Equality in the Asia-Pacific

2016 - Ongoing
In 2016, IT for Change carried out a five-country research study on gender and e-government in the Asia-Pacific, in partnership with UNESCAP and UNPOG. This study examined how e-government norms, rules and practices impact institutional shifts towards gender equality and women’s empowerment by focusing on its key components – service delivery, citizen uptake and connectivity architecture. The second phase of the study, to create an online training toolkit on e-government and gender equality for policymakers, is currently in progress.

Featured projects