Social Media & Digital Advocacy

Introduction

This module will focus on how to safely use the internet and social media to advance feminist law reform. 

Social media now has a central place in most people’s lives. Because of this, it is a powerful tool to share information, create movements, connect with supporters, etc. In addition, most politicians and policy makers have social media accounts, making it easier to get in contact with them. 

Digital campaigns have the potential to reach a very wide audience. Many feminist groups have found creative ways to mobilize the public through interesting and accessible campaigns. This module features examples of why the internet should not be overlooked to advance women’s equality. 

On the flip side, the internet has its own set of issues that feminists have been tackling, including privacy risks and online violence. This module will discuss some of these problems and the ways feminists have sought to solve them. 

Read

Social Media & Social Change Lawyering: Influencing Change and Silencing Dissent

Naomi Sayers

In this article, the author closely examines the Law Society’s guidance on social media. The author argues that this guidance fails to understand how the Rules regulate experiences out of the legal profession and fails to see the positive possibilities of social media to influence social change, especially in ways that conflict with the colonial legal system. The author concludes that the Law Society must take a positive approach and provide some guidance for the legal profession on their social media use, especially around critiquing the colonial legal system. This positive approach is essential to avoid duplicating the systems and structures that perpetuate disadvantage in marginalized communities.

Hashtag feminism: Gender politics in social media

Jessalynn Keller

The online world provides both opportunity and obstacles to girls and women. Yet while millions of people gather online to share information and connect with each other in good faith, far too many people have abandoned their social media accounts due to overwhelming amounts of trolling, bullying and hate.

Getting it Right: UN Special Rapporteur Incorporates Citizen Lab Recommendations on Technology-Facilitated Violence, Abuse, and Harassment

Lex Gill


Watch

Listen

Noshin & Molly

The Ways We Are

How do you protect your name in public (digital and physical) spaces? Informed by some real-life creepy and uncomfortable interactions, KJ and Avi explore how to maintain personal privacy with a unique name. The duo are joined by esteemed brow guru Noshin Ahmed, and privacy lawyer extraordinaire, Molly Reynolds.

No translation available:2019-05-29
No translation available:50 minutes

Cyberfeminism and the eGirls Project with Professor Jane Bailey

McGill Law Journal

In this episode, Laura Rhodes met with Professor Jane Bailey of the University of Ottawa to discuss her work with the eGirls Project, which studies privacy, security, and equality in the increasingly online lives of young women.

No translation available:2013-11-18
No translation available:14 minutes

Digital Advocacy and Feminist Law

Nomadic Labs

Bringing new tools to an old profession: Rachel Kohut from the National Association of Women and the Law talks about her experiences doing digital legal advocacy and making complex legal content more accessible online.

EPISODE NOTES

In this episode, we are speaking with Rachel Kohut from the National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL). Rachel’s work in public health and legal advocacy has covered many important issues including sexual and reproductive rights, sexual health, maternal health, access to medicines and intellectual property, housing rights, and domestic violence and sexual assault. 

Now, at NAWL, she is the director of a project called Rebuilding Feminist Law Reform Capacity. 

We talked about digital advocacy and making information accessible, among other things:

  • A short history of NAWL
  • Challenges and motivation for redesigning the Feminist Law Reform 101 online course
  • Editing complex and long content for the web
  • Reaching out and collaborating with the artistic community
  • Using social media effectively to build real connections
  • The value of user research and creating “room to dream”
  • Avoiding perfectionism and learning to experiment and take risks

Guest: Rachel Kohut from the National Association of Women and the Law

Hosts: Sharon Kennedy and Luisa Ji from Nomadic Labs

Theme music: "If" by Broke for Free

No translation available:2020-05-22
No translation available:54 minutes

Examples of Feminist Digital Advocacy

Law Needs Feminism Because

Check out Law Needs Feminism Because's portrait series, which works to facilitate conversation about how to make our law schools, legal profession and justice system more accessible, diverse and inclusive.

Up for Debate 2019

The Alliance for Women's Rights and Gender Equality

During the 2019 federal election, the Up For Debate Alliance called on all federal party leaders to commit to a national televised debate to share their priorities on women’s rights and gender equality.

Done Waiting

Canadian Labour Congress

Women in Canada are done waiting. End wage discrimination. End sexual harassment and violence. Fix the child care crisis.

Engage & Discuss

Which member of parliament, senator or government official is particularly prolific on twitter? Practice tweeting at them on a feminist law reform issue.

What are some of the limitations of digital advocacy? Do these limitations apply to all platforms? What are some of the strengths and weaknesses of different digital tools for feminist law reform? 

What do you think has made the difference between successful and less successful digital advocacy campaigns?

Imagine a digital campaign for a feminist law reform issue. What would some essential elements be? What platforms would you use and why? When and how would you launch it? Who would you be trying to engage with? What are some of the security and safety issues you might encounter? 

Additional Resources

A DIY Guide to Feminist Cybersecurity

Hack * Blossom

You have a right to exist safely in digital spaces. Although we have to rely on outside parties for technology to access these spaces, there are tons of helpful tools and strategies that allow you to take greater control of your digital life and mitigate the risk of malicious threats. We’ll walk through common areas of digital life such as web browsing, private data, and smartphones to show you different ways that you can implement as much or little security as you’re comfortable with. You have power to set boundaries and protections in your digital spaces as you see fit: we hope that this guide will help you to make informed, personal decisions on what is right for you

Oxfam's Guide to Feminist Influencing

Oxfam International

This guide is for everyone working in the policy, advocacy, campaigning and influencing space; you don’t have to be a gender specialist to challenge oppression and contribute to gender equality. Staff at all levels and in any role can use this guide to make their influencing work more feminist.

Cyber Women

Cyberwomen is a digital security curriculum with a holistic and gender perspective, aimed at offering trainers with tools to provide in-person learning experiences to human rights defenders and journalists working in high-risk environments.