In the eighth episode of Feminist Digital Futures, Sohini Bhattacharya joins us to discuss the power of social media in allowing public sphere participation of women and people of marginalized genders, and why we need to work towards making it a safer space. Sohini touches upon the politics of representation, how gender plays into digital literacy and access to technology, and why we need rules and norms to govern online spaces to make them more equitable.

Episode Navigation
00:10: Introduction
00:47: About Sohini
01:58: How gender and other identities affect experiences of the online sphere
10:27: Why equal access to and participation in social media is a feminist issue
15:09: The importance of social media in public sphere participation
17:04: Sohini’s vision of a feminist social media
20:20: How platform design and governance needs to change, from a feminist and Global South perspective
25:39: Conclusion

Sohini Bhattacharya is an intrepid intrapreneur and social change enthusiast who has 25+ years of experience in the development sector. Currently she is President and CEO at Breakthrough, a global human rights organization working in the U.S. and India, that uses multi-media, popular culture, leadership development and community mobilization strategies to prevent gender-based violence. Prior to this, Sohini had helped found an organization working with women, worked directly with grassroots communities on livelihoods projects and built market-artisan interfaces. Before joining Breakthrough, Sohini spent 10 years at Ashoka Innovators for the Public, an international organization building an ecosystem for social entrepreneurs, first ramping up the India program and then working on institution building for Ashoka in South Asia. Sohini was also instrumental in helping set up Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN) in India, an offshoot of EVPA in Asia. Sohini has interest and years of experience in theatre and dance and loves cooking, reading, handicrafts and handlooms and travelling. Sohini sits on the board of Dastkar and Kolkata Sanved and is a Trustee of Read India, a sister concern of Read Global, creating community-led sustainable libraries.

Hosted by: Tanvi Kanchan
Research and conceptualization: Nandini Chami & Tanvi Kanchan
Post-production: Tanvi Kanchan
Podcast artwork by: Harmeet Rahal

This podcast series has been produced as part of the Feminist Digital Justice project, a joint policy research and advocacy initiative of IT for Change and DAWN (Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era). The series is co-supported by the World Wide Web Foundation.