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This chapter examines the problem of differential access to technology worldwide, interrogating the meaningfulness of current efforts to understand the issue. It makes the argument that current international frameworks, which envision the digital divide primarily as an issue of underdevelopment, ignore important security-related factors that shape gendered access to technology. It further highlights how increased engagement with technology – absent an understanding of the diverse lived experiences of women – produces new forms of insecurity. These themes are further illustrated with case studies from South Asia, which demonstrate both gendered insecurities and the emerging spaces for discourse on digital rights.

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This chapter introduces the technology of big data while also providing a methodological framework for the book rooted in critical feminist security studies. It begins by offering various definitions of big data and discussing the normative and ethical issues framing discussions about the concept. Discussing the coinciding emergence of ‘big data’ norms and an emphasis on gender-disaggregated data as advanced through policy mandates, it moves into a discussion of how the current policy environment has resulted in a patchwork of data collection efforts that vary in terms of inclusivity, validity, and reliability. This chapter draws on a comparative analysis of quantitative measures and indices related to gender as compiled by the World Bank, UN institutions, think tanks, and academic projects.

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Exploring the digital frontiers of feminist international relations, this book investigates how gender can be mainstreamed into discourse about technology and security.

With a focus on big data, communications technology, social media, cryptocurrency, and decentralized finance, the book explores the ways in which technology presents sites for gender-based violence. Crucially, it examines potential avenues for resistance at these sites, especially regarding the actions of major tech companies, surveillance by repressive governments, and attempts to use the Global South as a laboratory for new interventions.

The book draws valuable insights which will be essential to researchers in International Relations, Security Studies, and Feminist Security Studies.

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This final chapter summarizes the findings of the book and discusses potential implications for policy. Ultimately, it argues that technology in its current form acts as an amplifier for hierarchies of gender, race, class, dis/ability, and sexuality – a predictable outgrowth of an industry that brings an androcentric vision to development. This final chapter also speculates on the future research agenda in this area, reflecting on how feminist security studies can engage in debates about technology and politics in a way that reflects feminist commitments. It reflects on the need to broaden intersectional dialogue while also reaching out to critical scholarship on surveillance and labour. This discussion concludes with a call to action for feminist and critical researchers as well as international relations scholars, practitioners, and activists interested in change.

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This chapter explores how new financial technologies including blockchain, cryptocurrency, and decentralized finance present distinctly gendered challenges. Examining a range of cases, it calls for more attention to the deployment of decentralized finance in the Global South, noting that such interventions often fail to live up to their promise while circumventing best practices associated with ethics and gender mainstreaming.

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Bringing Critical Perspectives Online
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Exploring the digital frontiers of feminist international relations, this book investigates how gender can be mainstreamed into discourse about technology and security.

With a focus on big data, communications technology, social media, cryptocurrency and decentralized finance, the book explores the ways in which technology presents sites for gender-based violence. Crucially, it examines potential avenues for resistance at these sites, especially regarding the actions of major tech companies, surveillance by repressive governments and attempts to use the Global South as a laboratory for new interventions.

The book draws valuable insights which will be essential to researchers in International Relations, Security Studies and Feminist Security Studies.

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This chapter explores how policy initiatives related to the protection of women and girls find relevance in the digital space, while also problematizing how overly simplistic notions of gender contribute to a failure to stem the rising tide of online gender-based extremism. With a particular focus on extremist communities including highly organized groups like the Islamic State and more diffuse (but still defined) communities like male supremacist movements, this chapter explores the diverse ways that extremists commit online violence against women, engage in homophobic and transphobic violence, and deploy discourse using gender as a recruitment tool.

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Exploring the digital frontiers of feminist international relations, this book investigates how gender can be mainstreamed into discourse about technology and security.

With a focus on big data, communications technology, social media, cryptocurrency, and decentralized finance, the book explores the ways in which technology presents sites for gender-based violence. Crucially, it examines potential avenues for resistance at these sites, especially regarding the actions of major tech companies, surveillance by repressive governments, and attempts to use the Global South as a laboratory for new interventions.

The book draws valuable insights which will be essential to researchers in International Relations, Security Studies, and Feminist Security Studies.

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This chapter introduces the book by exploring what is at stake in seeing the digital frontiers of gender and security. It introduces readers to potentially relevant international policies and to emerging international efforts to pursue security in the digital space, including via international law, state-level initiatives, and multi-stakeholder frameworks that engage technology companies and civil society. It argues that the current system fails to fully integrate gender and more broadly intersectional perspectives into an emerging discourse about security, technology, development, and rights. It further argues that a critical feminist security studies approach to these issues finds natural points for dialogue with – and should include – other critical perspectives including surveillance studies, queer theory, Black feminism, and postcolonial theory – necessitating an intersectional feminist inquiry.

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This chapter explores the possibility for a more inclusive digital space, drawing on case studies and interviews with peacebuilders and practitioners who have used technology in novel ways. Common themes expressed by interviewees include an enduring concern about gender-based violence and harassment, the need to address inequalities as they manifest in the digital space, ambivalence in the relationships between activists and technology developers, and a concern about the future for in-person advocacy in the post-COVID-19 world.

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