Building Capacity for Research on Privacy and Gender

The right to privacy is foundational for human development: it is a safeguard for the right to dignity, for autonomy, and for freedom of thought, expression, and assembly in democratic societies. The right to privacy as a constitutional guarantee protects citizens and consumers from, and provides legal recourse against, discrimination on the basis of gender, race, faith, and class.

While the rapid expansion and adoption of information communication technologies (ICTs) and global networks affords many benefits and efficiency gains, it also represents a rise in surveillance and censorship. The capacities of the state and private entities to track citizens, consumers, and users is unprecedented in scale and scope. Through data mining and other profiling techniques, governments can prevent access to services or restrict movement, while companies can exclude people from opportunities, restrict access to markets, and exercise unfair differential pricing. People living at the margins of society, including women, trans, and gender-diverse peoples, are most vulnerable and susceptible to discrimination and harm.

However, there has been little research that focuses on the intersection between the question of privacy in the digital age and gender. In particular, there is a need to explore the way surveillance is a tool in perpetuating patriarchy, particularly with respect to identity, online gender-based violence, sexual rights, and reproductive rights.

The Privacy International global research network studies questions around the right to privacy, data protection, biometrics, and surveillance in the digital age. It has been successful in contributing to public policy discourse, curtailing potentially harmful surveillance, and influencing national policy towards robust data protection frameworks in a number of countries. This project aims to strengthen the capacities of member partners in the Privacy International global research network in addressing gender inequality with respect to the design, promotion, and deployment of national identification systems and surveillance apparatus and to advance women's empowerment and prevent or reduce harm.

Project ID


Project status



18 months

IDRC Officer

Phet Sayo

Total funding

CA$ 375,000


Networked Economies

Project Leader

Dr Gus Hosein


Privacy International

Institution Country

United Kingdom

Institution Website