The theme of International Women’s Day 2022 is #BreakTheBias: celebrating women’s achievements and increasing visibility, whilst also calling out inequality.
Here at the OII we are celebrating IWD by highlighting the work of our brilliant and innovative women academics, researchers, and students. Each are at different stages of their careers and working in diverse research areas, but all are contributing to the global discussion surrounding themes relating to technology, the internet and society. We want to #BreakTheBias by celebrating women from across the academic spectrum.
OII academics, researchers and students share their perspectives in support of IWD
OII Director, Professor Victoria Nash
The Director of the OII is Professor Victoria Nash, Associate Professor and Senior Policy Fellow. Her research interests draw on her background as a political theorist and concern the normative policy implications of evidence characterising children’s use of Internet technologies.
“As Director of the OII, I’m painfully aware that gender inequality continues to mar our experiences of digital technology. This is visible in the continuing under-representation of women in technology design, the disproportionate exposure of women to online abuse and even the experiences of our own field where the potential benefits of remote working during the pandemic led to unequal publishing outcomes for women juggling home and family life. I am privileged to be in a position where I can do more than observe, however, and hugely value my position providing leadership for OII’s outstanding students and researchers, who individually and collectively are doing so much to help society develop and deploy technologies in more equitable ways”.
Postdoctoral Researcher, Dr Vidya Narayanan
Dr Vidya Narayanan is a postdoctoral researcher studying machine learning for biodiversity, as part of the “Benchmark for Nature” project for the Oxford Martin School’s Programme on Biodiversity and Society. Her research interests lie in the interface between technology, ethics and policy, and she is primarily engaged in developing systems that use technology for the greater good of society.
“My research lies in the intersection of technology and society. I particularly enjoy working in domains that have a direct impact on our lives. In the recent past, my work has focussed on diverse areas, including tracking the spread of fake news on social media platforms, developing automated optimisation techniques for radiation oncology, and measuring the impact of investments in the public and private sector on biodiversity. My experience as a woman working in the cutting edge of technology has been very positive with strong support from my colleagues and line managers. However, there exist significant challenges for women undertaking research in traditionally male-dominated areas like coding, manufacturing, and finance. I believe that it’s imperative to ensure that, we as a university community, make every effort to ensure that these spaces are inclusive and supportive of our women researchers”.
Postdoctoral Researcher, Dr Funda Ustek-Spilda
Dr Funda Ustek-Spilda is a postdoctoral researcher and project manager on the Fairwork project. Her background is in sociology, with thematic focuses in labour, migration and gender. Her research examines the reasons and implications of being counted and not being counted in data, from the perspectives of ethics, responsibility and fairness.
“As a researcher at the Fairwork project, I strive to establish decent working conditions on digital labour platforms. Our research shows that across the world women workers remain invisible, undervalued and lacking opportunities for career development and growth. In the care work sector, for instance, where majority of workers are women, working conditions are the least regulated and consequently, very poor with low pay and no protections against work-related risks. As one worker told us, platforms are like a ‘ghost’. While they seem to be there through the interface of the platform, when workers need them, they simply aren’t there. I hold platforms accountable to the working conditions workers experience on their platforms. Follow Fairwork to see how we are trying to create a better future for women and all workers”.
Doctoral Candidate, Rutendo Chabikwa
Rutendo Chabikwa is a DPhil student at the OII. Rutendo’s research applies a gender lens to understanding the effects of digital media on political participation in postcolonial contexts.
“My research is an African Feminist approach to the question of how women and queer people experience their citizenship when they engage with the state on social media, using Zimbabwe as a case study. As a Black African woman in academia, I find that our experiences, knowledge, and contributions are usually an afterthought – if they are included at all. While the idea of ‘intersectionality’ is becoming more common in popular discourse, in practice intersectionality means acknowledging the historical, socio-political, and economic underpinnings of the inequality in our society. It means creating space where women, from all backgrounds, can bring their ways of knowing, their full beings, their entire experiences to their work and research and be supported in that”.
“This International Women’s Day, I celebrate Black women academics and creators who have pushed the boundaries and inspired much of the work I do. I also am grateful for those who have held space, in various ways, for an intentional and holistic diversity of thought in academia”.
Doctoral Candidate, Anna George
“We need to realise that everyone does not have the same experience online. Women and minorities are disproportionately victims of online abuse. To make the internet safer, I am studying those who make the internet unsafe by intentionally causing online harms (e.g., trolls and hate group members). Right now, victims have to safeguard themselves from these perpetrators. I hope my work showcases how these abusers operate online so that they can be stopped and victims can be protected”.
OII Founding Donor Dame Stephanie
“This year’s theme is Breaking the Bias. My arms crossed into an X shows commitment to calling out bias, smashing stereotypes, breaking inequality and rejecting discrimination. Together we can Break the Bias.”
Join us today celebrating IWD by finding out more about the work of OII academics, researchers, and students and their research contributions in the fields of technology, the internet and society. Learn more about Dame Stephanie and her incredible journey.