Over 7,000 participants gathered at the UN Headquarters for the first fully in person Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) session since 2019. This sixty-seventh session of CSW took place from 6–17 March 2023, on the priority theme of “Innovation and Technological Change, and Education in the Digital Age for Achieving Gender Equality and The Empowerment of all Women and Girls.” Nearby, civil society organizations held over 700 parallel events, in person and virtually, for the NGO CSW67 Forum. Over 14,000 people participated virtually.
CSW67 offered an opportunity to address new and emerging challenges and to share intersectional, human rights-based and feminist approaches to digital technology, including artificial intelligence (AI). Women and girls experience disproportionate challenges in the digital age, such as the right to privacy and safety of online spaces and technological tools.
To address such challenges, SGI organized a parallel event, "Women’s Leadership for Human-Centered Technology," which was co-sponsored by Stop Killer Robots; NGO Committee on the Status of Women, New York and Footage Foundation. Panelists spoke on the potential dangers of technology if it is used to harm but also presented an example of how technology can be used as a force for good.
Paloma Lara-Castro, Derechos Digitales Public Policy Coordinator, talked about the need for social inequalities to be addressed and that structural inequalities, such as surveillance, need to be controlled through human rights legal frameworks. Participants then viewed a video of an interview series on digital dehumanization hosted by Hayley Ramsay-Jones of SGI. Isabelle Jones, Stop Killer Robots Campaign Outreach Manager, followed by sharing that weapon systems are at the extreme end on the spectrum of autonomy. If not controlled, Jones continued, machines will decide who to kill, which is very concerning because there is bias and risk, as technology is not neutral. Next, Kristen Eglinton, co-founder of Footage Foundation—an NGO based on feminist principles and radical inclusion and collaboration—offered an example of a positive use of technology. Footage Foundation created FemSMS, which is being used in Ukraine to share resources and compassionate information with women through SMS text messaging, offering hope and connection. It is the first time a human-centered design process has been used to build a gender-sensitive SMS platform in a war zone.
At the end of the parallel event, both online and in-person participants joined small group discussions on digital dehumanization and principles needed to keep humanity at the heart of the digital devices and spaces we create.
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