Content Suggestions for Women's Section

I joined Outernet as content creation and outreach began ramping up. One of our goals is to distribute information to marginalized people across the globe, particularly in areas without access to Internet. One of the most noticeable trends of marginalized groups is the serious gender gap in education, particularly in these areas.

Women, representing over half the population on Earth, face inequalities around the globe. Worldwide, women’s literacy rates lag behind men, and school enrollment is significantly lower for girls than boys. Investing in women’s education has proven to drastically improve outcomes not only for the women themselves, but their communities as well.

While Outernet helps to provide resources to advance education, we recognize that the mere existence of our technology doesn’t guarantee women will benefit. In a previous discussion, it was brought up that women are underrepresented in technology-related fields (see this article from Wired). For these reasons, we decided it is our responsibility to take steps to ensure women are included in Outernet, and so my role was born.

As Director of Women’s Initiatives I am putting Outernet technology in the hands of women by reaching out to organizations working to improve opportunities for women in places where these inequalities are most pronounced. Along with this outreach, I am curating open source content dedicated to women to be included in our Core Archive. Think of it as a women’s section you might find in a library. I am talking to experts for suggestions for content and guidance in addressing gender bias.

On this note, I invite everyone to weigh in on what should be included. I would love to have a constructive exchange of ideas.

Hi Rachel

Good thinking. I’d say it would be worth thinking about where the worst gender gaps exist. The map above is from Global Gender gap report

This then gives a bit of context: To reach the most oppressed women you are probably looking for content mostly in Arabic or French (North Africa).

I think your instincts are probably right in that the thing to do is ask women in these area’s what content they’d like.

I have been doing a separate bit of research into news-feeds I think would be interesting to send here I’m not sure how much (if any) of this research Outernet will end up using.

I found this Egyptian project that publishes creative commons content in English & Arabic which might be of interest to you.




Hi Sam, thanks for directing me to these resources. Your news feed has a great variety of news content to explore. In regards to language, it’s an ongoing challenge to find content that is credible when I don’t know the language. and its staff could be a great source for Arabic content.

Thanks and if you find anything else, please share!

I wonder if it’s worth being clear about which content stream this is for? I’m assuming this thread is for the 10Mb a day text only Lantern stream? Perhaps another where people could suggest video etc for the ‘pillar’ stream?

We’ll address Lantern-specific broadcast a bit later. For now it’s for Outernet’s general archives.

I think we can discuss content for both Pillar and Lantern together because there will be plenty of overlap. This should be a place to suggest what information or subjects should be included, and to share good sources for information, regardless of format. As Branko said, what of this content will go into the Lantern-specific broadcast will be decided in the future. It’ll include information that covers these important topics.

In a previous thread, almabella suggested:
correct and unbiased information about STDs, birth control, abortion, birthing, breastfeeding, FGM (female genital mutilation) and MC (male circumcision).

And sam_uk suggested: ‘Where women have no doctor’

I don’t want to steer the brainstorm too much by listing all of the topics I think should be included, but I’ll get the ball rolling by adding a few more suggestions:

  • Health: Basic biology and anatomy, breast cancer self-exams, cervical and ovarian cancers, puberty, menopause
  • Pregnancy: prenatal care, stages of pregnancy, nutrition, preventing infection after childbirth, pre-eclampsia and eclampsia
  • Laws: Legal rights and recourse

I think that the womens section as much as possible should only contain information exclusive to females, with references to things outside of the section where necessary.
For instance, it could be useful to have a page or article describing the process of birth more f4om a “what to expect” than a medical description, with a link to that and the organs, possible complications, and things to do during.
My reasoning behind this is anatomy is something that everybody should know for a variety of reasons, and there may well be more information that is useful in a similar way. Obviously cervical and ovarian cancer are probably not as much of interest to a farmer, but an aspiring doctor could find it usefulto have all of that in one location dealing with health, outsideof the women’s section. Also this would let the womens section be a section written for women to read instead of about them.

In that way, I suppose it might be difficult to separate out information to be aimed at women where a lot of the time the education would be good for everyone.
I need to know basic biology just as women need to know basic biology.
However, the other sections could just as easily link to this section.
I can see health and pregnancy being two sections that can be very female linked.
However Laws is problematic. Not that I don’t see the need for women to understand the law it’s just I see two main things to think about here:

  1. Logically they would be female only laws yes? Otherwise isn’t it more logical to set up a general ‘Law’ section rather than ‘Female > Law’
  2. What with the content being streamed to a large section of the world, aren’t laws likely to not carry over? Laws are heavily based in the country you are in or would you have the system go ‘Female > Law > North Africa’?

That is more or less my thinking on the matter. Perhaps as we have gender studies that may be more relevant. Subsections of things like health and law with tags indicating their relationship to women would be useful. Fully separating things out of their original section adds unnecessary segregation of information.

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Today I learned about dry sex:

Hey, me too. That is horifying. Rekha, my girlfriend, is also horified.

That article is indeed alarming. Definitely highlights the need for reliable information to get women in these communities questioning the beliefs behind this practice.

What information would be exclusive to females?

I agree that this information is relevant to people outside of women, such as doctors, but my concern is that women who are completely unfamiliar with this information might not know what they’re looking for. So much of learning is pure discovery.

When I think of designing a women’s section, I think the ability to browse is important. Women should have the ability to look through the section and discover answers to questions they might not know they had. Much of the misinformation that harms women is taken as truth and never questioned (for example, the beliefs behind dry sex), so we need to put the facts where they can be seen without requiring a search.

I think pared-down versions of these topics with references to the in-depth content might be a good way to handle this. For example, content about pregnancy in this section would resemble something you might get in a sex-ed class. Then we could reference something in the medical section that is more along the lines of what a obgyn would reference.

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I think exclusive was the wrong word. Things like dry sex, stds, health during pregnancy, and other commonly believed myths could be included. At the same time things with respect to the inequalities in gender roles. Anything you would specofically want women to see, and see first in their learning.

This is excellent. I was thinking the obgyn reference would be placed in the womens section, which is what I was set against.