The Webinar: “Does the digital economy promote women’s rights? Unpacking the myths!” was held Wednesday 18 September, 2019 and the presentations and audio can be viewed now:
Moderator: Crystal Dicks, a feminist activist, currently working as an independent gender and development practitioner, while completing a writing fellowship at the University of the Witwatersrand.
Nandini Chami, Digital Justice Project — a collaborative research and advocacy initiative of DAWN and IT for Change, presented powerpoint presentation: Digital Justice Project -FES Webinar-September 2019
Scheaffer Okore, Vice Chair of the Ukweli Party, Kenya, presented powerpoint presentation: Unpacking digital economy
Sofia Scasserra, Researcher and Lecturer, World Labor Institute “Julio Godio”, Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero (UNTREF), Argentina, and Economic Advisor FAECYS – Presidency UNI Global, presented powerpoint presentation: sesgos algoritmicos
This Webinar has been organized in the context of the project “the Future is Feminist” from the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), in collaboration with the Gender Trade Coalition and WIDE+. The Gender and Trade Coalition is a global feminist alliance for trade justice confronting the co-optation of women’s rights as a means for further liberalisation, and increasing consciousness, capacity, research, and advocacy for equitable policy alternatives.
Picture from the presentation by Scheaffer Okore, Vice Chair of the Ukweli Party, Kenya. who presented powerpoint presentation: Unpacking digital economy
Background on the webinar:
The World Trade Organisation (WTO), World Bank, World Economic Forum (WEF) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are driving the debates on the digital economy, setting the policy agendas that will shape its future directions. The dominant discourse in trade and economic policy spaces is that digitalisation of the economy will automatically empower women from the global South, opening up new opportunities for entrepreneurship and flexible employment – in the form of e-commerce and on-demand work. However, this argument conveniently leaves out the fact that such benefits will remain limited to a small group only, mainly female entrepreneurs and in some instances female consumers in Western countries, excluding women without education or internet access.
Therefore, the presented narrative actually creates a myth about the positive impacts of the digital economy on women. The reality is that this new organization of the economy brings forth a new kind of corporation that thrives on controlling data and reorganizes supply chains by creating or expanding precarious cheap labour opportunities for which women are in many places an easy target. The supposedly ‘new’ configuration is in fact another avenue to promote the neo-liberal economic and trade models that are based on a narrow conception of economic growth and the promotion of profit-maximization for companies, prioritised before the well-being and human rights of people.
This Webinar unpacks the myths surrounding the digital economy and gives recommendations for a feminist trade and economic policy to regulate digitalization in our economies in a way that will empower all women and protect women’s rights.