During the Know How conference held in Mexico City from August 23-26, the Association for Progressive Communications Women’s Networking Support Programme (APC WNSP) issued a call to all grrls, librarians, lecturers, writers, techies, geek grrls, bloggers, emailers, SMSers, advocates, trainers, storytellers, poets, writers, web managers, theorists, graffiti artists, photographers… to take control of ICTs and consciously use it to disrupt gender relations. To Take Back The Tech is necessary in order to reclaim women’s critical contribution to ICT development, as well as their SPACES and RIGHTS to move, shape, define, participate, use, share freely without harassment or threat to safety.
*What is the campaign about?*
It is simply a call for every person who uses online communications (ICTs), e.g. for chatting, emailing, blogging, doing websites or developing tools, to use ICTs for activism against VAW (violence against women) for 16 days [the 16 days of activism against gender violence].
Primarily, we are asking women and grrls to “Take Back The Tech!” But you don’t have to be female to disagree with violence faced by women and be part of the campaign to transform gender relations. Unequal power relations lie at the heart of VAW, and this is apparent from the streets to online spaces. So we’re now saying technology should be used for equality, not to perpetuate violence.
What is this action?
* A call to everyone – especially grrls and women – to take control of ICTs and consciously use it to change power relations between men and women.
* For 16 Days (Nov 25 – Dec 10), to enable users to employ ICTs for activism against VAW.
What is VAW & ICT?
* VAW, or violence against women, means any act that results in harm and disproportionately affects women. The root cause of VAW lies in unequal power relations between men and women in almost all facets of life.
* Some examples of VAW include domestic violence, rape and sexual harassment.
* ICTs, or information communication technologies, broadly means tools and platforms that we use for our communication and information needs.
* Some examples include radio, mobile telephones and the internet.
* Both ICTs and VAW affect our capacity to completely enjoy our human rights and fundamental freedoms.
* There is an increased recognition of the connection between VAW and ICTs.
* For example, the websites can be a useful place for women in violent relationships to get information and help. However, tools like spyware and GPS tracking devices have been used by abusers to track and control their partner’s mobility.
* You can find more information about the issues from these papers:
o Cultivating Violence Through Technology? Exploring the Connections between ICTs and VAW
o Digital Dangers: Information & Communication Technologies and Trafficking in Women
o Women’s human rights: violence against women, pornography and ICTs
o There are also a whole range of other resources, including shorter summaries of the papers, and spanish versions from the GenderIT.org site.
Why Take Back The Tech?
* Reclaiming women’s critical participation and contribution to ICTs (e.g. Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper…)
* Echoing the “Take Back The Night” campaign
* Online Spaces – Right To Move Freely Without Harassment or Threat to Safety
* Right to Shape, Define, Participate, Use, Share
What are the goals of this action?
* To raise awareness about the way ICTs is connected to VAW.
* To provide simple strategies on how incidences of VAW can be minimised online.
* To generate a discourse around the connections between ICTs and VAW in online and *offline spaces.
* To build a community that will continue to strategise around eliminating VAW through, and in ICTs spaces
Who to speak to?
* Web communities and users
* VAW advocates
* People who profit from VAW
* Media, information & news providers
* Policy and law makers
Who will take action?
* Ordinary grrl, woman, female ICTs users
* ICTs developers
* Information provider & disseminator
* Content creators
* Knowledge builders
Basically anyone from librarians, lecturers, writers, techies, geek grrls, bloggers, emailers, SMSers, trainers, storytellers, poets, writers, web managers, theorists, graffiti artists, photographers…………