Women and the Internet: A Source of Empowerment and Oppression
The globalized internet reproduces the oppressions women experience outside of the web while it simultaneously provides for knowledge sourcing and sharing among women and creates revolutionary access to media and global “viral” exposure for women's issues. Online, women are underrepresented in their access to internet services. Those women fortunate to be online are then confronted with the Internet's manifestations of sexism, sexual assault, classism, and racism. From sex trafficking to “revenge porn”, women face numerous obstacles to full, fair access and use of the Internet. Despite these hurdles, women have unprecedented resources through the internet. From viral activist campaigning and media exposure, women over the globe have been able to project their voices on issues such as Bangladesh factory fires, rape in India, and political cover-up of sexual assault survivors' suicides in North America into the homes of millions.
Much like the offline reality, women in developing countries trail behind men in the use and ownership of web-connected technology (Zambrano, UN Broadband Commission..., n.p.). Access and participation in the internet reflects offline oppressions and the global unequal distribution of wealth. In developing regions of the world, this access is exacerbated (Zambrano, UN Broadband Commission..., n.p.). HIV epidemics, civil war, economic depressions and recessions, gender oppression, and other geopolitical occurrences all affect access to the internet by women all over the planet. Often, addressing women's basic needs such as food, shelter, and protection from disease comes before ensuring fair and equal online access, demonstrating the difficulty government and non-governmental organizations face in efforts to connect women around the world to the internet.
Increasingly, not only women but internet users of all genders use social media and the internet to access news and...