Report: Feminist Digital Economy Workshop

Research ICT Africa, together with IT for Change and the Freidrich-Ebert Stiftung (FES), hosted a feminist digital economy online workshop on 13 and 14 December 2022 to collect region-specific input for the 2023 UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW67). The workshop, which focused on sub-Saharan Africa, was part of discussions held by IT for Change and FES that took place during 2022 in different parts of the world. 

The workshop brought together more than 30 participants from across the region, including from both Francophone and Anglophone countries, and provided diverse input from stakeholders from academia, government, the private sector, and civil society.

The workshop was part of a collaborative project between IT for Change and FES to conceptualise a feminist vision for digitalising economies, leading to a global campaign for innovation and technological change. In 2022, they brought together a global working group of feminists from across different regions to discuss what they referred to as “the real deal, what feminists want in the digital economy”. Prior to the Africa workshop, similar regional dialogues had been held in Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and the European regions.  

As IT for Change has noted during the workshop, automation and artificial intelligence have been presented as having the potential to end global poverty and facilitate inclusion, which will be beneficial to women. However, there is growing evidence of an increasing concentration of ownership and control in global digital economies characterised by data accumulation and highly extractive practices that disproportionately harm women. To reclaim a feminist vision of our digital future, a roadmap for feminist action was put in place, focusing on three prongs: reclaiming digital infrastructure and redesigning it from a feminist standpoint; big tech accountability for a failure to protect the rights of women; and addressing the democratic governance deficit in the digital order.

Besides providing input for CSW67, this report, which seeks to capture the main issues arising from the two-day engagement and additional inputs from RIA’s partners, will feed into the global campaign being launched by IT for Change and FES.

Suggested citation

Research ICT Africa. (2023). Feminist digital economy workshop report. Research ICT Africa.