UNU-CS Researcher Talks About Access and Inclusion
Between 28-30th September, Ineke Buskens, Principal Research Fellow at the United Nations University Institute on Computing and Society (UNU-CS) participated in The India Conference on Cyber Security and Internet Governance (CyFy2016), which took place in New Delhi, India. CyFy2016 was the fifth edition of the conference and it was organized by the Observer Research Foundation.
Ineke participated as a member of the Access and Inclusion panel, where she argued that: “Access and Inclusion are clearly problematic concepts: they strengthen and perpetuate the power divide between the ones with access / who are included and those who do not have access and are not included (yet). This is indeed ironic! These concepts were created to overcome exclusion and lack of access. But instead they seem to maintain the existing power relationship between the haves and the have-nots and transfer it to another level: that between the creators and the consumers / users. The concepts themselves seem to maintain and perpetuate the power differentials, which they claim they want to transcend.”
Emphasizing the gender perspective within the panel, Ineke also expressed that “Women striving towards personal and social emancipation will inevitably challenge the existing social, economic, political and religious order because this order is woven with the threads of male domination and misogyny. The technological dimension of this social order is no exception. Women empowerment efforts, especially when they are facilitated, supported and enhanced by Information and Communication Technology will not easily produce outcomes that fit into ‘society as is’ and ‘business as usual’. And this is where the expectations of women wanting to empower themselves in and through ICT may clash with the expectations of governments and corporations who want to see business continuing as usual, just enhanced with more women participation. Women emancipation through ICT can contribute to a revival of societies and to truly inclusive systems of economic prosperity and general well being, when national governments and the transnational corporate ICT sector are ready for this invitation… because it may be the end of business as usual.”