Sophie Toupin • Gender Focal Point • Canada
Communication technology have become ubiquitous in our day-to-day lives: we share our personal lives and organize demonstrations through web platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, and we use cell phones and/or emails to rally and inform people of our efforts towards peacebuilding and conflict prevention. But what about our own security and the security of our networks when we share sensitive data and meta data about ourselves and others (our whereabouts, with whom we are, what we do, etc.)? Since Snowden's revelation of the multiple existing surveillance programs, the issue of state and corporate surveillance ought to make us reflect on our own communication practices as women peacebuidlers. Without falling into a technological deterministic stance, that is believing that the answers can be find in technological development, we need to ask ourselves about the benefits of securing our communications (phone conversations and texts, emails, etc.)? What does digital security means for women human rights defenders? How can we effectively use communication technologies to foster our individual and collective security as women peacebuilders, while trying to minimize practices that endanger us and our networks?
Research and communicating results: Continued activists-oriented research is needed to highlight the best practices with women's peacebuilders projects, but also the limits and challenges that we face. Moreover, the dissemination of research results ought to be done in accessible formats such as with short audio and video documentaries, tool kits, short publications and/or in articles in the media. Academic papers are no doubt crucial, but unfortunately are often not accessible to the majority.
Solidarity and partnerships: It is easy to be consumed by ones' own work and our day-to-day realities. However, the value of creating partnerships cannot be understated. Fostering partnerships and solidarity with groups in Canada and outside would strengthen campaigns and bring immense value to those involved. Being in solidarity with others, particularly First Nations Women, would strengthen our work as activists and break the silos we often put ourselves in."