Extraordinary advances in technology as well as its increased accessibility have meant a change in how we mobilize and advocate for change. Women’s groups in particular are using communications and information technology to empower, defend and educate themselves and other women in their communities. Here are 5 inspiring and creative ways technology has been used to:
HarassMap is a volunteer-based initiative that allows women to report incidents of sexual harassment and indicate where it occurred on a digital map. The project aims to shame perpetrators of sexual harassment, warn others and show the extent of the problem in their community. HarassMap also uses a variety of other tactics to counter gender-based violence (GBV). The project grew out of the belief that social and legal consequences that discourage harassing behaviours are essential to ending sexual harassment.
Tech jobs are some of the fastest growing in the United States, yet the gender gap in the field persists and is worsening. Girls Who Code noticed this trend and has worked to challenge it by supporting girls from middle school through to college who want the skills to work in this male-dominated discipline. The after school and summer internship programs teach girls how to code and build future careers in tech. Since it’s launch four years ago, Girls Who Code has grown from 20 girls in New York City to 10,000 girls in 42 American states in just 4 years! Watch a video featuring Girls Who Code participants here.
Hamara Internet is a digital rights campaign that promotes a free and secure digital environment where women can work and participate freely. Hamara Internet, which literally means “Our Internet” hosts workshops to raise awareness, technical trainings and disseminates digital security kits to respond to an increase of digital abuse and gender violence online. To bridge the digital gender divide Hamara Internet fosters digital literacy, pushes for equitable access to information and communications technologies and protects against digital abuse.
Techfugees is a social enterprise that coordinates the international tech community’s response to the needs of refugees. Techies from around the world have organized conferences, workshops, hackathons and meet-ups to come up with creative and innovative ways to help. So far they have developed educational apps, solar mobile changing units outside of refugee camps and have advocated for refugees’ unrestricted access to the Internet. Women refugees specifically are being offered classes in the art of coding to ensure that refugee women are part of the solution to the crisis.
Amakomaya is an innovative application that supports pregnant women in Nepal by giving them information to help them through their pregnancy and the early stages of their child’s development. web-application includes audio, video and text content so that it is accessible for low-income women. Too many mothers in Nepal die from pregnancy-related complications, but this is starting to change now that women, particularly in rural areas, are able to access medical advice from their mobile phones.
Five ways tech is crowdsourcing women’s empowerment, The Guardian, 3 February 2016.
Feminist Principles of the Internet, Gender IT, 15 April 2014.