Call for Proposals: Feminist Internet Research Network

Call for Proposals: Feminist Internet Research Network


The FIRN project understands that the making of a feminist internet is critical to bring about transformation in gendered structures of power that exist online and on-ground. The objective is to ensure that the needs of women and gender-diverse and queer people are taken into account in internet policy discussions and decision making. This is to be achieved through the setting up of a feminist internet research network where members can undertake data-driven research that provides substantial evidence to drive change in policy and law and in discourse around internet rights.

The network will also be a space to facilitate exchange of learning and capacity building among the network members and practitioners in the field more broadly, including affected communities and activists, researchers, academics and tech developers, especially those who engage with issues on digital technology and human rights.

Since 2018, FIRN has continued to engage with and respond to several gaps in the field of gender and ICT research. These gaps include: the lack of global South perspectives as well as integration of feminist scholarship in ICT-related research; the need to engage in context-specific analysis that considers intersectionality as well as power dynamics and structures; and the need to engage key actors from women's rights, sexual rights and feminist advocates and activists in policy advocacy and reform.

The network has been advocating for innovative feminist methodologies around the ecosystem and landscape of digitally networked technologies that impact and intersect on different dimensions of human life – including ethics, reflexivity, position, methodology, process and outcome of research and the politics of knowledge.

Research questions

A feminist understanding of violence against women and people of diverse gender expressions and sexualities (namely LGBTQIA+ persons) aims to understand the multi-layered complexities of technology-facilitated gender-based violence (TFGBV) and online gender-based violence (OGBV), and reveal the embedded structures of hierarchical, patriarchal and gendered power.

This widespread challenge of online violence is evident, particularly in the post-COVID era, in the anti-gender backlash in public and legal discourse, targeted attacks on women in public roles, gendered disinformation, intimate partners using technology for invasion of privacy and violence, and technology-facilitated war and conflicts.

This third phase of FIRN, supported by IDRC, will explore and deep-dive into TFGBV and contribute to bridging the feminist knowledge gap that exists in this field.

The overarching research questions are :

  • How does TFGBV/OGBV profoundly shape the experience of women and LGBTQIA+ people and how does it limit their access to human rights, expression, pleasure and play on the internet? How pervasive is this phenomenon that affects access to human rights for more than half the population in the world?

  • How does TFGBV/OGBV take place in varied contexts across the world, and what forms does it take depending on regional and contextual differences, race, caste, ethnicity, class and diverse identities of women and LGBTQIA+ people?

  • What policy reform can and should be made by state actors in relation to TFGBV/OGBV and what are the potential/actual impacts of proposed technological solutions towards ending TFGBV/OGBV?

    What are the problems and issues (legal, cultural, social, technological, etc.) that arise at the level of implementation of legal and policy reforms that attempt to address TFGBV/OGVB (while making a complaint, investigation by police, the judiciary, etc.)?

    What are the emerging areas of concern, such as the growing power of multinational tech giants and companies vis-a-vis international entities, national governments and institutions; design and exclusions embedded in technological infrastructure; the changing nature of social media platforms; extended reality (augmented, virtual), the role of artificial intelligence as tools to abet or counter TFGBV; and so on?

    Through intersectional and feminist analysis, this project is
    intended to provide evidence-based interpretation of the continuum, overlap and differences between violence faced by women and LGBTQIA+ groups on-ground and what takes place online as well, and the pervasive gaps in legal and psychosocial responses.

    The network, which has now been in existence for five years, is a space to facilitate exchange of learnings and capacity building among the network members and others, through the main activities that include annual convenings of research, participation in key events around TFGBV/OGBV and internet rights, and engagement with a wider community of policy actors and practitioners, through dissemination of research findings in short-form materials such as policy briefs, guidelines and visuals, and in peer-reviewed academic journals.


    We will accept applications from individuals and organisations in the global South. You can also apply as a research team. All applications should identify a lead researcher and host institution. Any type of legal entity, including universities, research centres and civil society organisations can host the lead researcher.

    The lead researcher does not necessarily need to be working at the host institution at the time when the proposal is submitted. However, a mutual agreement and the host institution’s commitment on how the relationship will be established are necessary to be included as part of the brief.

    Representatives from the research teams are expected to participate in at least three research-related workshops. The first workshop will be held by the end of January 2024.

    Concept note for the proposed research (not more than five pages), including:

  • Thematic area

  • Brief context/rationale

  • Main research question/objective and proposed methodology. Please indicate the feminist theoretical framework and methodology that are proposed for the implementation of the research project, including data collection and analysis.

  • Community of engagement. Please locate your/your organisation’s positionality in relation to the prioritised community.

  • Ethical considerations.

  • Proposed research outputs and ways of engagement with findings (please also include priority stakeholders).

  • Research team members.

  • Proposed budget.

  • Curriculum vitae of lead researcher and research team members with relevant experience and skills, including previous research projects and related networks they are affiliated or connected with.

  • Letter of interest (profiling area of work that has been done with civil society as a policy advocate, researcher, activist, etc. by the organisation/individual)

  • Most recent/most relevant research undertaken in relation to gender and technology. Please include a URL linking to the study or an attachment if it has not been published online.

    Selection process and criteria

    FIRN aims to support the implementation of eight to 10 research projects to be completed within 18 months. Selection will be made in consultation with a group of peer network advisors made up of six individuals who have different experience, knowledge and expertise in the field, based on the following criteria:

  • Relevance to the thematic priority and project aims, in particular, to meet knowledge gaps.

  • Integration of feminist research methodology and theory. We welcome innovative approaches in this respect, particularly on feminist digital research methodology and theory.

  • Integration of a feminist and intersectional approach.

  • Potential impact on and contribution to the realisation of a feminist internet and policy advocacy from the specific area of the research.

  • Feasibility.

  • Regional, thematic and methodological balance.

    How to Apply

    For more information and job application details, see; Call for Proposals: Feminist Internet Research Network

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