Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) empowers women in the region to use law as an instrument of change for equality, justice, peace and development. In early September 2017, APWLD organised the 3rd Asia Pacific Feminist Forum (APFF) in Chiang Mai, Thailand from 7-9th September 2017.

FII participated in the 3rd Asia Pacific Feminist Forum and organised two sessions:

1. Towards a Feminist Internet: Feminist Acts of Resistance in Digital Spaces

In South/Southeast Asia where surveillance, violations of privacy, and abuse of women are reported, women’s participation has become all the more important particularly at the intersections of gender, sexuality, and the internet. Women’s expression, whether opinions or artwork, is 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 in digital spaces and their expression is constantly curtailed.

This session was organised collaboratively by Feminism In India and GANDA Filipinas. The panelists included Naomi, Nica, Jac, Japleen, Dhyta and Serene. The panel talked about the Feminist Principles of the Internet and each panelist focussed on one aspect, namely, access, economy, expression, agency and movements and public participation.

The session focused on work being done by individuals and organizations towards realizing a feminist internet. Its take off point were revisiting the Feminist Principles of the Internet (FPI) and the various ways and means the FPI have been embodied through advocacy at the intersection of women’s and LGBTQI+ rights, technology, and gender justice. The panel discussed strategies that create feminist acts of resistance in online and offline spaces.

2. Bridging the Gender Gap on Wikipedia: How to Organise a Wikipedia Editathon

Wikipedia has a gender gap, and according to a study conducted in 2011 only 9% of Wikipedia editors are women globally, and only 3% of Wikipedia Editors are women in India. This gender gap leads to a gap in content as well – where there is far more Wikipedia content on famous men than famous women. Hosting Wikipedia edit-a-thons with primarily woman editors fulfils the objective of closing the gender gap in both diversity in editors as well as content on the website. Learning how to edit on Wikipedia also teaches women skills of research, text editing, and content creation, thus aiding digital literacy and empowerment.

This workshop was organised by Feminism In India and conducted by Japleen Pasricha. There were 10 participants in the workshop and they were first explained the Wikipedia ecosystem and what does editing on Wikipedia involve. This was done by teaching participants about how Wikipedia’s content guidelines function and holding a mini Edit-a-thon to show participants how to host one. All the participants were able to successfully create their accounts on Wikipedia and edit a page about a woman human rights defenders in their own country.

Post the workshop, participants received an exhaustive list of documents and resources on how to organize, research and hold their own Wikipedia Edit-a-thons.

It was a great pleasure for the FII Team to participate in APWLD’s Asia Pacific Feminist Forum. FII thanks APWLD and Mama Cash for their support and would like to continue feminist acts of resistance in future with APWLD.

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