The World Trade Organisation (WTO), World Bank, World Economic Forum (WEF) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are driving the debates on the digital economy, setting the policy agendas that will shape its future directions. The dominant discourse in trade and economic policy spaces is that digitalisation of the economy will automatically empower women. However, this argument conveniently leaves out the fact that such benefits will remain limited to a small group only, mainly female entrepreneurs and in some instances female consumers in Western countries, excluding women without education or internet access.
The presented narrative actually creates a myth about the positive impacts of the digital economy on women. The reality is that this new organization of the economy brings forth a new kind of corporation that thrives on controlling data and reorganizes supply chains by creating or expanding precarious cheap labour opportunities for which women are in many places an easy target. The supposedly ‘new’ configuration is in fact another avenue to promote the neo-liberal economic and trade models that are based on a narrow conception of economic growth and the promotion of profit-maximization for companies, prioritised before the well-being and human rights of people.
This Webinar will unpack the myths and give recommendations surrounding the digital economy, by demonstrating how in mainstream policy debates, the real impacts of platform capitalism and its culture of data extractivism on the lives of many women, especially those in the global South, are completely lost sight of.
This Webinar is organized in the context of the project “the Future is Feminist” from the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), in collaboration with the Gender Trade Coalition and WIDE+.
Moderator: Crystal Dicks, a feminist activist, currently working as an independent gender and development practitioner, while completing a writing fellowship at the University of the Witwatersrand.