Digital rights through a feminist lens

Jimena Cascante Matamoros is Senior Youth Collective Coordinator at Restless Development, a global non-profit agency that supports young leaders to create a better world.

In conversation with us, she talks about Restless Development’s upcoming session at Festival de Datos on digital rights and feminist technologies and highlights some of the barriers facing women and vulnerable populations around the world when it comes to tech access and use around the world.

  1. Can you tell us about Restless Development and your role within the organization?

Restless Development is a global non-profit agency that supports the journey of young people around the world. We work in different countries globally where our goal is to support young people leading changes in their communities and multiplying that leadership.

My role in the organization is Senior Youth Collective Coordinator. Through the Youth Collective, we bring together worldwide Youth Civil Society Organizations to learn from each other. My work, in particular, is in a project called We Lead, where we support young women from four different rightsholder groups (young women with disabilities, young women affected by displacement, young women living with HIV and young women who identify as LGBTQI) from 9 countries from Central America, MENA region and Africa in advocating for their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). I am also part of a project on Digital Health and Rights that focuses on a transnational participatory action research approach to digital governance research in Ghana, Colombia, Kenya and Vietnam, looking to empower transnational youth activist networks to raise the recommendations in health policy in national and global health governance.

  1. What most inspires you in your work? 

The thing I enjoy the most about my work is seeing first-hand the amazing and courageous work that young women are doing around the world, how innovative and creative they are in the ways in which they engage with their communities to advocate for their rights, and how involved they are in the making of a better world for themselves and those to come. It is a privilege to be able to support young people and to amplify their voices and the work they do in changing everything from mentalities to global policies.

  1. Your Festival de Datos session is about feminist technologies. What does feminist technology mean to you at Restless, and how does this relate to digital rights?

When we talk about feminist technologies, we acknowledge the fact that technology is not as neutral as we think. There are inequalities when it comes to – including but not limited to – gender. We want to open the discussion to understand the power dynamics that are at play, making internet access unequal, and find out about initiatives that are working to change these conditions to make the internet safe and accessible for all.

Digital rights need to be discussed through a feminist lens. While data is also often considered impartial, the reality is that there are many factors that we need to analyze, from potential loss of privacy to potential biases and discrimination against historically vulnerable populations. 

Some of the issues that we face regarding this topic include things such as the digital divide, unequal access to technology for different populations – women vs men, rural vs urban, different economic class, etc, – to things such as online harassment (for instance against LGBTQI+ populations), misinformation and lack of regulation of the information found online to the barriers that young activists are facing to make their voices heard on social media.

  1. What are some key focus issues of your session, and who is it aimed towards? 

During our session, you will hear from different organizations, both from the public sector and from NGOs, who are doing work on data gathering, use and analysis with a gender-sensitive approach in different countries in Latin America. We will also look at how these practices can support populations facing vulnerability and discrimination to protect and assert their digital rights.

  1. What resources do you recommend for anyone interested in feminist technologies and digital rights? 

Restless Development has a lot of resources available online that touch upon digital rights as well as feminist technologies with intergenerational voices from around the globe. I would invite you all to look through the Feminist Action Labs and also to read the latest State of Youth Civil Society Report 2023 “Young, Feminist and Fearless: Holding the line” with inspiring stories of young feminist movements holding the line around the world and the challenges they face, including the ones around digital spaces.

  1. What are you looking forward to the most about the Festival de Datos?

I am looking forward to the exchange of ideas with a diverse array of perspectives. There are so many sessions that I want to attend that tackle issues about inclusion and accessibility. I am also very excited about the other session Restless Development is leading on called, ‘What is the future of young people’s rights in the digital world?

This post was originally published on the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data website. Read the blog

Feature Photo by Emile Perron on Unsplash

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Digital rights through a feminist lens

by Jimena Cascante Matamoros Reading time: 3 min
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