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Thursday, September 4 • 9:00am - 10:30am
WS132: Online Advocacy & Women Rights: Obstacles & successes

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Women are increasingly turning to the Internet for growth and development opportunities, both socially and economically. While women constitute more than 50% of the active labor force, they still face serious challenges and barriers when it comes to employment, and other economic and social opportunities.
Even though women as social entrepreneurs have succeeded in marking a footprint in some countries, women in the MENA region continue to lag behind when it comes to business start-ups and female led business ventures.

Women can be a strong economic growth engine, yet they have to overcome personal and societal challenges and barriers that may prohibit their entry and long term success. Women are using social media and on-line platforms to advocate for women entrepreneurial rights, seeking to increase women’s social and economic opportunities at the local, national and international level as well as to advocate for entrepreneurship awareness and to strengthen women’s entrepreneurial and professional skills.

With the growing number of Internet users worldwide, advocates for women entrepreneurial rights are using the Internet itself to raise awareness, voice their demands, launch campaigns and create pathways for change.

The panel will look at how effective social media platforms are in advocating for women’s entrepreneurial rights in the MENA countries, examining examples and stories of successes in advocating online for women’s entrepreneurial rights and changes that were made in different societies, as well as the challenges that women still face in the entrepreneurial world in the MENA region (including Iran, KSA, and Egypt).

The session will also elaborate on the role that technology and the Internet are playing in empowering women and enhancing their growth and development in the business world as well as the obstacles that users are facing in accessing the Internet in the different MENA countries, addressing the important role of Internet governance mechanisms and commitments to WSIS +10. One speaker will present challenges in Africa and Latin America as a contrast and comparison to similar experiences in the MENA region.

The outcome report from this workshop will identify ideas for advancing awareness and opportunities for advancing engagement of women entrepreneurs within the region.


Jane Coffin

Ms. Jane Coffin is the Director of Development Strategy at the Internet Society and is responsible for a global Internet exchange point (IXP) project, working closely with ISOC’s regional, public policy, and technical teams. She also is responsible for development strategy, where... Read More →


Erika Mann

Managing Director Public Policy, Facebook
Erika Mann heads Facebook’s policy office in Brussels and is the company’s lead spokesperson for EU affairs. She is also a member of ICANN’s Board of Directors and chairs its audit committee.   Erika is best known for her work at the European Parliament, as she was a member... Read More →
avatar for Roslyn Layton, PhD

Roslyn Layton, PhD

Visiting Researcher, Strand Consult

Remote Moderators

Thursday September 4, 2014 9:00am - 10:30am EEST
Workshop Room 02 (Rumeli Ground Floor / Room B2)

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