Our guest speaker introduces the case for gender and internet rights
As part of Corinthia Hotel London’s year-long partnership with The Future Laboratory, our guest speakers, breakfast briefings and dare-to-know dinners are looking at the world of tomorrow. From the hotel rooms of the future to the next stages of the digital revolution, each topic analyses current trends in order to provoke thought about what’s to come. Here, Dr Charlotte Webb, who hosted a talk at the hotel this summer, shares some insight from her talk on the Feminist Internet. Read more here and discover the programme of events for yourself…
“I remember a moment last summer when a number of observations, interests and frustrations converged, which ultimately became the basis for the Feminist Internet. I had been working in University of the Arts London for 10 years and just finished a PhD about artistic authorship and the internet. During that time I became increasingly aware of subtle forms of gender inequality both in Academia and more overt ones in the technology industry. I was invited by UAL’s Widening Participation department to pitch for funding to run a project about gender inequality, and the phrase ‘Feminist Internet’ just hit me as something that encapsulated a lot of problems and hinted at the potential to overcome them.
As the digital world becomes more and more integrated into our daily lives, we need to watch out for anything that compromises our internet rights. For example, internet access – declared in 2016 by the UN to be a basic human right – is gendered. You’re less likely to be online if you’re a woman, especially in Central Africa, the Middle East and Southern Asia. The right to privacy of expression is compromised by the prevalence of online trolling; the right to data protection is compromised by breaches such as the use of criminal justice algorithms. We also need to watch out for increasing monopolisation from huge corporations, fake news and highly targeted political campaigning. Perhaps most importantly of all, we need to watch out for each other – to steer the internet in a better direction, we need healthy minds and bodies, a strong sense of solidarity, and a collective belief that the internet doesn’t just shape us, but that we shape it.”