Impact of Technologies on Gender Equality and Human Rights

Impact of Technologies on Gender Equality and Human Rights
Human Rights: Ethical, Social and Political Challenges
María López Belloso & Demelsa Benito
Deusto Values Research Team
We are looking for a candidate with background (MA) in Law, gender studies, or a related field; with proven interests in and knowledge of human rights, gender inequality,but also with knowledge in the fields of ethics, data protection and privacy and relevant research experience. An excellent command of written and spoken English is needed.
  • Social Sciences and Humanities (SOC)
The proposal will address the impact that digital technologies might have on human rights, with a focus on women’s rights. For that aim, a detailed study of different technological tools will be carried out from a human right, ethical and gender perspective. The research will also analyse how digital tools may be mobilized to promote gender equality and contribute to fighting offences targeting women and girls. Research main objective will be to highlight tools available in the technological sector which have the potential to contribute effectively to promote gender equality and combat gender violence, all while having due regard to protection of basic rights such as human dignity, data protection and privacy. For developing the research both quantitative and qualitative methodologies will be used.


-María Silvestre Cabrera, María López Belloso, Raquel Royo Prieto (2020). La aplicación de la Feminist Standpoint Theory en la investigación social. Investigaciones Feministas.
-Benito Sánchez, D., López Belloso, M, y López Rodríguez, J. (2020 ). El delito de trata de seres humanos en los tribunales de justicia de la Comunidad Autónoma Vasca. Revista IgualdadES, 2
-López Belloso, M.; Sanz Urquijo, B. (2019). Hic Sunt Draconis: derechos humanos y big data. Análisis de una colaboración inexplorada Retos Emergentes de los Derechos Humanos: ¿Garantías en Peligro?. Tirant Lo Blanch. pp.497-516.
-López Rodríguez, J. y Benito Sánchez, D. (2019). El fenómeno de la trata de menores de edad en los instrumentos jurídicos internacionales: avances y retos pendientes. Iqual: revista de género e igualdad, 2, pp. 41-72.
-Pérez Cepeda, A. y Benito Sánchez, D. (2014). Trafficking in human being: A comparative analysis of the international legal documents. Europa Law Publishing.
1) Proyecto: Gender Equality Actions in Research Institutions to traNsform Gender ROLES.GEARING-Roles
Entidad financiadora: Comisión Europea (H2020) (call H2020-SwafS-2018-1)
Duración: 2018-2022
Investigadora principal: María Silvestre
Financiación: 2,999,962.25€ (465,153.5 € para la Universidad de Deusto)
Referencia: 824536
2)Proyecto: Trata de mujeres y niñas con fines de explotación sexual en Euskadi.
Entidad financiadora :Emakunde – Instituto Vasco de la Mujer.
Investigadora principal: Prof.ª Dr.ª Elisabete Arostegui Santamaría. Univ. de Deusto. Financiación: 14.967,70€.
Duración: 2018.
3)Proyecto: Hacia un modelo de justicia social: alternativas político-criminales.
Entidad financiadora Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades del Gobierno de España en la Convocatoria 2018 de proyectos I+D+i “retos investigación” del programa estatal de I+D+i orientada a los retos de la sociedad Ref. RTI2018-095155-A-C22.
Investigadora principal: Profª Dr.ª Demelsa Benito Sánchez. Univ. de Deusto.
Financiación: 12.100€.
Duración: 2019-2021.
4)Proyecto: Análisis de la tercera brecha digital de género de las personas adolescentes de la CAE
Entidad financiadora: Gobierno Vasco (Convocatoria Investigación Básica y Aplicada)
Duración: 2016-2019
Investigadora principal: María Silvestre
Financiación: 55.750,00
Referencia: PI_2016_1_0029


The proposed research is inserted in an area where different disciplines and areas of knowledge intersect. On the one hand, Human Rights studies, from which the treatment that has been given to women’s rights and those areas which have affected them most will be analyzed. In addition, the potential of new technologies for the promotion and defense of women’s rights will be analyzed, without losing sight of the risks that these technological advances may pose for the fundamental rights of women.
Furthermore, in an approach such as the one proposed, close collaboration with the new technologies, data science and artificial intelligence sectors is required, which will be essential to be able to make an accurate analysis of the potentialities and risks of these technological advances for the rights of women.
Finally, gender studies will cross-section all the proposed work.
yes, the candidate will be co supervised by María López Belloso and Demelsa Benito who have both a sound track on legal research focused on gender inequalities. Moreover, the two supervisors have also a solid experience in collaborating and working with experts from the Engineering Faculty to analyse different Human Rights topics from an interdisciplinary point of view
As mentioned before, the two supervisors have also a solid experience in collaborating and working with experts from the Engineering Faculty to analyse different Human Rights topics from an interdisciplinary point of view. This nalbles them to support and advice the candidate from a diverse point of view, but also will enable the candidate to get in touch with experts from the ICT field, with whom the supervisors have been collaborating for a long time. The interdisciplinarity is at the core of the topic definition and will also guide the project methodology, aiming at analysisng the challenge of womens right from a diverse and holistic approach.

Aligned with the 2030 Agenda, the Horizon Europe missions and goals and the Basque Country Smart Specialisation Strategy, DEUSTO research blends competitiveness, innovation and technology to tackle challenges for communities, companies and public bodies in the region. Ageing and Wellbeing; Cultural and Creative Industries and Cities; Gender; Social Justice and Inclusion and Strengthening Participation are the focus of the 5 Interdisciplinary Research Platforms. Besides, advanced research units contribute to generate knowledge and innovative solutions in the fields of efficient and clean Energy, Industry 4.0 (advanced manufacturing, data analytics…), Health and Territory.


Through its work, the applicant will contribute to the Focus Area’ Boosting the Security Union’s effectiveness and the implementation of the Security Union priorities and Europe’s endeavours to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG5 `Gender Equality´ and SDG 16 ‘Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies. Moreover. it is aligned with the EU Artificial Intelligence Strategy that bets on trustworthy AI by encouraging collaboration between different disciplines and fields of knowledge. Ethics is given the highest priority in EU funded research: all the activities carried out under Horizon 2020 must comply with ethical principles and relevant national, EU and international legislation, for example the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the European Convention on Human Rights.
The researcher will work in close collaboration with Gearing Roles Project, but we expect also to be closely linked to a new H2020 project on the use of Human centred AI for law enforcement (TAILOR_EU)
It is not envisaged but it is a possibility. Both supervisors have a large number of international contacts and collagues that could provide this possibility and for sure ensure the European doctorate.


The proposal will be developed in close collaboration with relevant stakeholders, such as NGOs, Women Associations and Women Institute and also law enforcement agencies engaged in the use of ICT tools for law enforcement. This colloaboration will be enabled throught the Interdisciplinary Platform on Social Justice and Inclusion and the existong networks of both supervisors. These stakeholders will participate in the whole cycle of the research, from the project design and definition, to the implementation and evaluation, in order to ensure societal impact of research.

Deusto Research works closely with more than 1250 organisations (public administration, business, non-profit organisations, education and training institutions, technology centres, etc.) in areas such as health, urban development, gender, social justice and inclusion, democratic participation, regional competitiveness and energy. Since 2014 DEUSTO has been involved in 89 international research projects and worked with more than 770 partner organisations. From data collection to the implementation and piloting phases, stakeholders have an active role throughout the research project life cycle.


The use of ICT technologies is gaining protagonisms in almost every area of society. However, HUman Rights have been reluctant to incorporate new technologies to the field arguing the risks that these technologies might entail for fundamental rights. The research proposed will help different social stakeholders, including policy makers, Law Enforcement Agencies and civil society organizations, especially women associations, to understand the potencial of their use and how to implement the use of ICTs respecting core EU values and fundamental rights.

Deusto Research pursues societal impact that goes beyond academia focusing on the transformation of today’s society, leading to fairer and more diverse societies, where inclusive social development and welfare are enhanced.


The most innovative aspect of the proposal rely on the methodology to be implemented, especially in a field where interdisciplinar collaborations between legal scholars and technicians are not established. This methodology will result on an innovative research with great societal impact.

DEUSTO research internationalisation strategy pursues innovation through the participation in international research and innovation initiatives (H2020 projects, Innovation Radar)


Women have been traditionally excluded from the STEM areas, includding ICTs and engineering. The lack of diversity in the discipline results not only on biases in the field but also in a lack on research dealing with the use of ICTs for the protection of women´s rights and vulnerable groups. The research will adopt an intersectional approach that will consider not only gender as an axis of discrimination, but also race, class, dissability or age.

Inclusion is an underlying principle of the 6i Dirs project. The leadership vocation of the University of Deusto goes hand in hand with its aspiration to excellence and quality and a firm commitment to social justice and inclusion. The Interdisciplinary Platform on Social Justice and Inclusion articulates interdisciplinary collaborations and channel research efforts for contributing to social justice and more inclusive and fairer societies.
Deusto recognises gender equality as a key driver for sustainable development and inclusive growth across regions, and believes that equality of academic opportunity for women is key. The Interdisciplinary Research Platform on Gender is a dynamic vehicle that teams up experts from different areas of knowledge with the dual purpose of fostering collaboration and integrating existing expertise to address society’s emerging challenges on gender issues. (
Moreover, to seek real inclusion for people with specific support needs, the 6i Dirs project ensures equal rights and opportunities with respect to access to the programme and the acquisition of the skills expected to achieve the PhD and enhance their career development and future employability. All vacancies on the Euraxess EU portal bear the Science4refugee logo to encourage refugees to apply for them. Furthermore, DEUSTO is a partner of the Scholars At Risk Network (SAR), which offers safety to scholars facing grave threats.