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Women in Tech: Empowering Change in the Digital Landscape

Updated: 3 days ago

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) held its 67th session and this year's theme was innovation, change and education of women in tech in the digital era to achieve gender equality and the empowerment and vindication of women's rights. Committed to working for sexual and reproductive rights through our mobile app Aya Contigo and in the framework of International Women's Day, we interviewed young women from our advisory board to share their reflections on the struggle for equality and vindication of rights through these new platforms:

Jhoana Chirinos, 22 years old

“The main challenge in using technology to promote the rights of women and girls is to make it accessible in all spaces.”

In what ways do you think women in tech could work for women's rights?

Technology and digital media have the powerful ability to provide youth-friendly, accurate, youth-friendly information at a “click” of a button. In terms of sexual and reproductive rights, it gives us tools to make informed decisions about our bodies and our lives. It gives us autonomy, independence.

What do you think are the disadvantages and challenges of using technology and digital media to work for women's rights?

Venezuela is a particularly challenging country. It is currently going through a deep social, political and economic crisis, and is facing a Complex Humanitarian Emergency. In that sense, not all people have access to the internet, digital tools or devices. Undoubtedly, the main challenge in using technology to promote the rights of women and girls is to make it accessible in all spaces, including historically marginalized communities and rural areas.

What do you think should be done through digital and technological channels to continue working for women's rights? Anything to improve or what should be done in addition to what is already being done?

Recently, I was thinking about how important it is to implement an intersectional perspective within the strategies that are developed in digital tools to achieve gender equality. It is important to recognize the different realities that women face: How can a visually impaired woman access information? How can a Wayuu woman join our initiative, even if she can only speak Wayuunaiki? How can we recognize diversity and include the LGBTIQ+ community from the language we use? Of course, it is a huge job, as the variables are many, but it is undoubtedly what will allow us to make our projects more inclusive.

Do you consider that Aya Contigo represents a digital tool that works for sexual and reproductive rights? How could young people take advantage of it?

Aya Contigo is a safe space where young people can learn - and unlearn - about issues related to our sexual and reproductive rights, especially topics that are not usually discussed at home or in educational institutions. In addition, it allows them to be in contact with professionals who are willing to resolve each of our doubts. For me, Aya Contigo is an effort to close gaps, empower youth and build spaces for dialogue, learning and reflection.

Delanys Carrillo, 17 años

“Technology provides opportunities to somehow drive change.”

How do you think we can use technology to empower women and girls?

I think that technological empowerment mainly helps us to train and advance in digital competencies. We can also build both professional and personal skills that go beyond simple use; whether it's to search for or capture information of any kind.

I feel that I would especially build on the study issues. Because technology provides opportunities to drive change. For example, if some teenage girl got pregnant and couldn't continue with her studies, technology could give her that opportunity to continue studying online. And you can raise awareness, about everything. Our voices can be heard. Women in technology can be more integrated in society, because nowadays I think that information consumption comes more from technology than from any person or any kind of book. That's where we mostly look for learning, as well as deciding where we want to go, what we want to support.

Using the technological resources you have, what would you do to talk about equality?

Technology encompasses the issues of empowerment and gender. There are things that provide us with a lot of valuable information. However, from my point of view, sometimes the information is wrong. From my outreach I would like to create some kind of dynamic on social networks where girls could give their point of view, ask questions, feel comfortable; share their own stories, comment on what they have felt or what they feel but shouldn't feel, and all that kind of stuff.

I feel that the important thing about promoting equality through technology is that we understand that we should not be the way we are used to be. That we should not follow a path that may not be the right one for us, that we feel strong, and know that we also have rights and many opportunities. Expressing that through social networks, whether it's Tik Tok, Instagram or Facebook is important. That these things are seen or done by girls, adolescents and it would be very good because it is to capture the attention of people who may feel these doubts, these fears and one can help them a lot.

What do you think you can do in Aya to make women your age aware of their rights?

Aya provides you with support beyond the emotional. It's not just anywhere you find someone to talk to, someone you feel familiar with to tell them your fears and what you're going through. That's why I would really like Aya to maybe create a Tik Tok account where they promote more topics, other than what they already talk about. Whether it's empowerment, gender roles, human rights and all that kind of stuff, where they talk about it in a dynamic way, in a youthful way, that can reach any kind of audience. And in that way, include more people, that they know what Aya Contigo is, more people who can support us, to continue growing. It would be very important because it would make a difference between what we want to be and what we are.

Yoki Mata, 22 years old

“I would like to change cyberbullying or digital violence.”

Do you think that through technology and the digital world it is possible to educate about sexual rights and the inequality experienced by women?

The digital world has been a springboard to connect with women around the world, to inform, raise awareness and educate about sexual and reproductive rights. In addition to making visible the realities of women and the context in which we live today, talking about different aspects of life and how we function in society.

How could trans rights work through technology and digital?

It is possible to work for trans rights through digital platforms, clearly, with representation, testimonies and the indicated accompaniment. Also accurate information for trans people and new generations. Representation saves lives, I will never tire of saying it. By seeing someone like you, who has similar experiences that identify you, you can connect and build bridges.

As a trans woman, name one thing that hurts you and what you could do to change it through technology.

Something I would like to change is the cyberbullying or digital violence suffered by women in technology. There are adults who generate these aggressions through social networks, such as hateful comments. That is what I would change. It is what affects me the most. Many people -speaking in general- feel affected by this kind of hurtful comments that come from uninformed people or people who have information but don't care.

What would you propose to youth who use technologies and digital to work for women's rights?

Aya is an amazing platform where you can add so many things; where you can add more information to reach out to minority communities and youth, inform them about what their rights are and work for them.

Lya González, 19 years old

“It could motivate and inspire those youth who don't have the right tools.”

How do you think young people can use technology to talk about women's rights and sexual and reproductive rights?

Through apps and social networks in general, young people could express themselves through their own experiences. With truthful and confirmed information thanks to the learning they have acquired from their rights. It could motivate and inspire those young people who do not have the right tools to get that knowledge of the subject.

Have you noticed any inequality between men and women in technology?

Quite a lot, especially because of social stereotypes that make me feel that we fit in less and less, at least those of us who are a little different from the “common denominator”. This perception can also be due to a lack of social empathy.

What do you think Aya should do to continue working for women's rights, especially sexual rights?

Promote more frequent physical or virtual meetings to talk more about these issues. I propose to generate trainings for groups or individuals who wish to expand the knowledge to more women in our environments.

Looking for secure and confidential support and accompaniment? Download the app Aya Contigo.



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