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Charter for Internet Rights

The Charter for Internet Rights is an initiative by the Association for Progressive Communications and others to develop a charter that putlines the basic rights civil society needs to protect public interest and human rights in the new information society. It seeks to promote the adoption of Internet rights as an extention of traditional human rights. It also seeks to tackle the emerging inequalities of access and use of information and communications technologies (ICT). (To see the Charter:



Copyright is an intellectual property right given to an artistic work. Copyright can be applied to written works, musical compositions, and video, film or multimedia productions. Copyright lasts seventy years after the death of the creator of the work. During the period of copyright no one may copy and circulate a copyrighted work without first obtaining permission and paying a license fee for doing so. In addition the originator of a copyrighted work has moral rights over the exploitation of the work.

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The idea of power is at the root of the term empowerment. Power must be understood as working at different levels, including the institutional, the household and the individual. Empowerment is sometimes described as being about the ability to make choices, but it must also involve being able to shape what choices are on offer. Empowerment corresponds to women challenging existing power structures, which subordinate women. As such, what is seen as empowering in one context may not be in another

Empowerment is not about reversing existing power hierarchies but rather about empowering women and/or women's groups to make their own choices, to speak out on their own behalf and to control their own lives (Wieringa, 1994)


A process by which a strategy, issue, or relationship is studied and assessed in-depth. (IDRC, Outcome Mapping)

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Feminism is a movement aimed at critiqueing and debunking patriarchal structures which promote male power and privilege. Its ideology is based on the principles of gender equality and social justice. It seeks to transform the world by mobilization and resistance to women's oppression and advancing alternative ideals of justice and anti-sexism. The women's liberation movement, for example, was formed by women who adopted the idea that women were oppressed in the same way that colonized people were, therefore women needed to be freed from oppression, not just given equal rights.

Feminism also requires an understanding or recognition that rights of women should be equal to men. However, interpretations of what equality means differs across cultures, races, religions, ages, and genders. One of the challenges feminism faces are differences in feminist ideologies. Feminism is a multiple term and thus should be conceptualized as plural, in other words, Feminisms.


The term gender refers to culturally based expectations of the roles and behaviors of men and women. The term distinguishes the socially constructed from the biologically determined aspects of being male and female. Sex identifies the biological difference between men and women. Gender identifies the social relations between men and women. It therefore refers not to men and women but to the relationship between them, and the way this is socially constructed. Gender relations are contextually specific and often change in response to altering circumstances. (Moser 1993:230, from Navigating Gender); and


Gender analysis

The systematic gathering and examination of information on gender differences and social relations in order to identify, understand and redress inequities based on gender. Gender analysis is a valuable descriptive and diagnostic tool for development planners and crucial to gender mainstreaming efforts. The methodology and components of gender analysis are shaped by how gender issues are understood in the institution concerned. There are a number of different approaches to gender analysis. Gender and Development: Concepts and Definitions


Gender awareness

(Gender consciousness) This is the ability to identify problems arising from gender inequality and discrimination, even if these are not very evident on the surface, or are "hidden" - i.e. are not a part of the commonly accepted explanation of what and where the problem lies.


Gender blindness

Gender-blindness refers to a failure to identify or acknowledge difference on the basis of gender where it is significant. It can be a person, policy, or an institution that does not recognize that gender is an essential determinant of the life choices available to us in society. (Parker 1993:74)


Gender budgets

A variety of processes and tools that attempt to assess the impact of government budgets, mainly at the national level, on different groups of men and women, through recognizing the ways in which gender relations underpin society and the economy. Gender or women's budget initiatives are not separate budgets for women. They include analysis of gender-targeted allocations, such as special programmes targeting women; they disaggregate by gender the impact of mainstream spending across all sectors and services; and they review equal opportunity policies and allocations within government services. Ames et al, cited in Maclean, H., et. al. (2004). Globalization, gender and health: Research-to-policy interface. Unpublished manuscript. A working paper prepared for the African online discussion forum, "Globalization, Gender & Health" (January 26-February 10, 2004). Sponsored by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Institute of Gender and Health.

Gender disaggregated information Information differentiated on the basis of what pertains to women and their roles, and to men and their roles.


Gender equality

Gender equality requires equal enjoyment by women and men of socially-valued goods, opportunities, resources and rewards. Gender equality does not mean that men and women become the same, but that their opportunities and life chances are equal. The emphasis on gender equality and women's empowerment does not presume a particular model of gender equality for all societies and cultures, but reflects a concern that women and men have equal opportunities to make choices about what gender equality means and work in partnership to achieve it. Because of current disparities, equal treatment of women and men is insufficient as a strategy for gender equality. Equal treatment in the context of inequalities can mean the perpetuation of disparities. Achieving gender equality will require changes in institutional practices and social relations through which disparities are reinforced and sustained. It also requires a strong voice for women in shaping their societies. DAC Definition (from Source: DAC (Development Assistance Committee) Guidelines for Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment in Development Co-Operation, Development Co-operation Guidelines Series, OECD, 1998. Internet address:


Gender equity

Gender equity means fairness of treatment for women and men, according to their respective needs. This may include equal treatment or treatment that is different but which is considered equivalent in terms of rights, benefits, obligations and opportunities. In the development context, a gender equity goal often requires built-in measures to compensate for the historical and social disadvantages of women.


Gender gap

Gender gap is the observable (and often measurable) gap between women and men on some important socio-economic indicator (e.g. ownership of property, access to land, enrolment at school), which is seen to be unjust, and therefore presents the clear empirical evidence of the existence of a gender issue.


Gender mainstreaming

Gender mainstreaming implies assessing the implications for women and men of any planned action, including legislation, and ensuring that both women's and men's concerns and experiences are taken fully into account in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of all development activities. The aim is to develop interventions that overcome barriers preventing men and women from having equal access to the resources and services they need to improve their livelihoods.


Global Common

The Internet has no central legal power. Its operation and administration is largely consensual, headed by expert bodies, but requiring the active agreement of all users for changes to be widely adopted. For this reason many see the Internet as being a supra-national entity that no one person or state may own - hence a 'global common'. The view of the Internet as a global common has been central to many of the recent developments on the Internet in relation to sharing information, open content licenses, and new ways of working such as public collectives enabled by the 'Net.


ICTs - Information and Communications Technologies

Information and communication are integral to human society. In many cultures today, information retrieval and presentation - the recording of wisdom and history - is still done with the use of speech, drama, painting, song or dance. The use of writing changed this enormously, and the invention of the printing press allowed communication on a massive scale, through newspapers and magazines. More recent technological innovations increased further the reach and speed of communication, culminating, for now, with digital technology. These new ICTs can be grouped into three, frequently interlinked, categories::

  • Information technology uses computers, which have become indispensable in modern societies to process data and save time and effort
  • Telecommunications technologies include telephones (with fax) and the broadcasting of radio and television, often through satellites
  • Networking technologies, of which the best known is the internet, but which has extended to mobile phone technology, Voice Over IP telephony (VOIP), satellite communications, and other forms of communication that are still in their infancy. These new technologies have become central to contemporary societies.


Intellectual property rights

Intellectual property is a legal definition of ownership over an intellectual creation. The intellectual creations that make up intellectual property are the copyright over the works of an author, the patenting of technical designs, the trademarking of designs or names, and the protection of databases of information. Intellectual property is the core of the new information society. It provides legal protection to the information traded or used in the media or on computer systems. But the effect of intellectual property law in recent years has been to close off knowledge, so providing a monopoly control to demand money for essential information. As a result there has been a backlash against the recent expansion of intellectual property rights. Most prominently by the open content movement.


Intended use

Intended use is a basic concept used in an evaluation approach called "utilization-focused evaluation". This approach begins with a premise that evaluations should be judged by their utility and actual use. Evaluations therefore, should be facilitated and designed with careful consideration of how everything that is done, from beginning to end, will affect use. The author of this approach, Michael Quinn Patton, further states that "use concerns how real people in the real world apply evaluation findings and experience the evaluation process". The purpose then of this evaluation approach is on intended use by intended users. Quinn Patton p 20


Internet Rights

Since the Second World War there have been various measures to guarantee legally enforceable human rights across the world. Many states incorporate aspects of these International agreements as part of national law. Internet rights is a movement that seeks to extend the concepts of traditional human rights into the new information society. In particular, the concept that in a world which is increasingly mediated by technology, a right to have access to information technology, and to use it for communication, is essential to guarantee the other human rights that evolved within the previous industrial society. This general right to communicate encompasses many other areas. For example freedom of association, freedom of expression, and tackling the emerging issue of the digital divide. APC and others have drawn together the various themes relating to Internet Rights to produce a Charter for Internet Rights.


Internet Service Provider ISP

You cannot just connect to the Internet. You need to be identified as a member of a network on the Internet. You therefore need an account with an Internet Service Provider to give you a unique identify for use on the Internet. An account with an ISP can give you email, Internet access via the web or other services, and even access to other services such as email to fax gateways, and more recently email to text messaging (SMS). In turn, ISPs are connected to the global Internet via their own 'connectivity providers'. It is possible for individuals to set up their own system, with a line to a connectivity provider, but it is very expensive.


Open content

All the material, text images, sound and video, belongs to someone. Those who create media have intellectual property rights over is use and exploitation. Until recently intellectual property rights were used as a means of monopoly control over computers, computer programs and other information. Today there is a growing movement, enabled by the Internet, that seeks to promote the release of works under an 'open license'. The 'open' license does not disavow the intellectual property rights of the creator. What it allows is the unrestricted copying, sharing or modification of a work, providing that the original owner is acknowledged, and providing that the use of the work does not exclude the originator of the work from a share of any money that might arise from the use of their work. Open licenses also require that where something is created using materials that was released using an open license, that the work created must be released under an open license also. The mainstream computer software and publishing industry, who use 'closed' licenses to distribute their works, abhor the concept of the open license because it does not allow monopoly control. But the use of open licenses has allowed the development of many projects that directly benefit communities because the use of open licensing allows people to participate in the development of projects without the threat of legal action from the owners of material, and because their contribution to the development of the project will be acknowledged. In this way open content has been an important tool for enabling amateurs to develop their skills to a professional standard via the 'Net.


Phases (GEM)

The APC WNSP Gender Evaluation Methodology Tool for Internet and ICT Initiatives is divided into three separate phases which take you through the steps of planning your evaluation from a gender perspective, exploring your project's reality through a variety of methodologies, and finally, putting your evaluation results to work in your organisation and in other areas. These three phases can be explored in depth in the section devoted to the GEM Tool.



A course or principle of action adopted or proposed by a government, business, party, or individual.


Practical Gender

Needs Needs women identify in their socially accepted roles in society. PGNs do not challenge, although they rise out off, gender divisions of labour and women's subordinate position in society. PGNs are a response to immediate perceived necessity, identified within a specific context. They are practical in nature and often concern inadequacies in living conditions such as water provision, health care and employment. See also Strategic gender needs. (Moser 1993: 230)


The Right to Communicate

The 'right to communicate' is a key part of the argument for Internet rights. It is based around Article 19 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. As part of the emerging security agenda, post September 11th, many states and corporations are seeking to limit the ability of people to use information and communications technologies (ICT) to communicate freely.



The oppression and/or exploitation of women based on gender.

Sexism is prejudice or discrimination based on gender. Like the other "isms," sexism can be both personal and institutional.



An individual, group or organization that has something to gain or lose from involvement in a project. Having a stake often implies an element of risk: standing to gain or lose something, and possibly having to make some sort of investment (not necessarily money), in order to obtain benefits from a project. Stakeholders are not simply 'beneficiaries'. Those who stand to lose from a project are also stakeholders. (Moore et al. 1996:24)


Strategic gender needs

Needs women identify because of their subordinate position in the society. They vary according to particular contexts, related to gender divisions of labour, power and control, and may include such issues as legal rights, domestic violence, equal wages, and women's control over their bodies. Meeting SGNs assists women to achieve greater equality and change existing roles, thereby challenging women's subordinate position. (Moser 1993:231)


Women's Empowerment

A 'bottom-up' process of transforming gender power relations, through individuals or groups developing awareness of women's subordination and building their capacity to challenge it.

Gender and Development: Terms and Concepts Hazel Reeves and Sally Baden, Bridge 2000.




Still have doubts about terms? We relied on many glossaries for help; perhaps you'll find them of use too.


For gender glossaries:


For evaluation:


For internet rights and terms: