CLOSING THE GLOBAL GENDER GAP IN TECHNOLOGY
Access to all types of technology, control of it in all aspects, and the ability to create and shape it your own way, is a fundamental issue of women’s human rights. Global Fund for Women’s Technology Initiative aims to help end the gender technology gap that is conflicting our country to empower women and girls in creating innovative solutions to develop equality in their communities. As an example, with a cell phone, an expecting mother in a rural area can stay connected to her midwife. For some women and girls, Internet access and a cell phone can mean access to new experiences as a young adult, or a tool to help someone learn how to read and write.
Worldwide, 200 million more men than women have access to the Internet, and 21% of woman are less likely to own a cell phone which can be a key resource in the global south where phones could provide access to safety, organizing networks, early severe weather warning systems, mobile health care and access to doctors, and banking activities. Global Fund for Women’s Technology Initiative is helping to close this gap and give women and girls the tools and access they want and need to these resources.
Global Fund for Women’s Technology Initiative is supporting efforts that is focusing on the production of new technologies or adapting technologies to adhere to women’s and girls’ contexts. They support women’s groups who use technology to address certain issues which can include violence against women, access to safe spaces, political movement, education, and health care. As an example, a current partner created a mapping tool to crowd-source reporting of sexual harassment in Egypt, and to use the same technologies to document and monitor it.
As part of this effort, Johnson & Johnson will help us support women-led organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia using technology to enhance health service delivery and outcomes. Way to go Johnson & Johnson!
Girls’ STEM and IT Education and Digital Literacy
Part of closing the gender technology gap will mean helping girls access training and educational opportunities in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and IT (information technology). STEM programs have been introduced this year in elementary schools across Canada which allows technology to be accessible to all starting at a very young age!
A partner of Global Fund for Women the Feminist Approach to Technology in India is creating a pioneering movement of tech savvy young women and girls by training and empowering young women between the ages of 12-18. They offer confidence in skill-building courses along with computer classes and trainings. In Sub-Saharan Africa, “we have supported for Women Educationalists in Malawi and Mozambique to develop a science, math, and technology model that includes both in-school and extra-curricular activities to increase girls’ interest and participation in STEM”.
Making the Internet Safe
The UN estimates that 95% of harassment, abusive language, and derogatory imagery in online spaces is aimed toward women. Global Fund for Women’s Technology Initiative is investing in projects and advocacy for safe online spaces for all, and in raising awareness hoping to end cyber bullying and online violence against women.
There is a project run by Si Jeunesse Savait that uses information technology to denounce the high rates of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Si Jeunesse Savait trains women’s groups and survivors of violence on online security, online advocacy, how to write blogs, and accessing online services.
Building Capacity and Driving Women’s Movements
Digital technology is an important tool for movement building, allowing organizations and networks to exchange information quickly, and to organize programs across geographical locations. It also creates a diverse group of voices to be heard and shared which is an important feature of strong social movements.
What the Technology Initiative Will Achieve
- Improving access to and the control of technology for women and girls, especially in remote and areas
- Creative technology-based solutions to gender issues like violence, health, and economic and political movement
- Increased safe online spaces for women and girls, and women’s rights organizations
- Encourage more women and girls into leadership roles in designing and shaping technology, especially in the advancement of women’s rights
- Stronger, more inclusive national and global women’s movements, collaborating regularly to share resources and ideas, and develop common advocacy strategies
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