An interview with Helen Nyinakiiza, who has recently joined Association for Progressive Communication as an individual member. Helen is a passionate digital security trainer, and in this interview she talks about the use of technology and internet rights in Uganda, the digital divide around gender and region, and how she does her trainings.
Helen Nyinakiiza (right), aside from being a digital security trainer, also works in an education project for orphans in Iganga district in Eastern Uganda.
Online harassment has taken various forms on the internet, including doxxing, intimate violence, stalking and so on. In this article, Part 2 of the series, Maya Ganesh explores a different way of thinking through this contemporary phenomenon by using an approach that emphasises 'design-thinking'. Possibilities that are explored include whether the system or platform can predict or respond to interactions that are escalating. However we also need to acknowledge that design, no matter how good, cannot solve social problems or harassment, but can be part of how we deal with it.
Collage with statute La Pensadora (Thinking Woman) by José Luis Fernández in Spain
The ‘Architectures of Online Harassment’ was the first in a two-part post that described the context and motivations of Tactical Tech’s work addressing the problem of online harassment through the lens of interface design. In this second post, I describe the results and outcomes of the workshop developed by Caroline Sinders and myself.
We can no longer ignore the pervasive datafication of our lives - the ways in which our habits, illness, abilities, relations are abstracted, and our bodies made into data by an intersecting range of institutions and processes. In this article, the gendered, sexualised and racialised nature of surveillance is unpacked, so we maintain a focus on the power relations involved. Surveillance affects racialised groups, the gender non-conforming, people with disabilities, and other marginalised populations disproportionately.
Original design by Paru Ramesh
The work of caring and writing about sexual surveillance elicits occasional productive puzzlement over its precise meaning. Questions usually boil down to versions of —
- What is sexual surveillance?
- What is sexual about surveillance?
- We are all under surveillance, why make it about _______?
Judith Owigar speaks about her journey entering into tech spaces, and also about their work with Akirachix in Kenya helping other women along the same journey marked by trials, exclusions and success. While speaking about the barriers of education in science and technology (STEM), she says that what inspires her work in many forums around women in tech in Africa, is that eventually a woman should have the space to make her own choices.
Image source: Akirachix
Judith Owigar is a coder, a blogger and a tech enthusiast. She has worked with Akirachix, a revolution for African women and technology. She is a native of Kenya, a country off the coast of East Africa, one of its 40 million inhabitants.
Namita Aavriti: Tell us a bit about yourself, what you are doing now, what motivates you.
Judith Owigar: I studied computer science out of curiosity initially.
Guy Fawkes Mask Collage
Article triggered by Ganesh
«Stand up for women and non-binary people in tech.
Join the general strike on February 23, 2017.
Pledge to stay home from work, stay offline, and/or publicly protest.»
The Distributed Denial of Women (DDoW) strike is an international call in protest to unequal conditions of women and genderfluid/queer in technology.
Multinational companies often put in place a policy for diversity and inclusiveness at the workplace, but does this guarantee the everyday, actual practice of accepting people from marginalized communities, and especially women from such communities. In this article, Christina Thomas Dhanaraj, examines what it means to be Dalit in corporate India - the continued invisibilising of caste, sexism and gender inequity and the effectiveness (or not) of diversity policies.
Original image source
“I strongly believe in the movements run by women. If they are truly taken in to confidence, they may change the present picture of society which is very miserable. In the past, they have played a significant role in improving the condition of weaker sections and classes.”
Dr B.R. Ambedkar
Before I delve into my article, I want to provide some context into why and how this is my story.
Educating Women in Technology
In India, there are gender barriers that uniquely prevent women from accessing technology right from an early age. From an intersectional perspective, such gender barriers overlap with economic, cultural, and class barriers for women from marginalized backgrounds. For women to be creators of technology and decision-makers, we need to first address such barriers so as to not be closed off within the same groups of women who are privileged enough to enter the field.
This article takes a look at where our hardware comes from, the electronics factories situated in primarily Asian countries, and the challenges facing the people, primarily women, who work there, and the issues that impact upon women workers in the electronics industry. Ten facts about your computer that illuminate the gendered nature of the labour that is embedded in our hardware.
Photograph of Seagate Wuxi China Factory Tour by Robert Scoble, Original image
The top-end of the computer industry is still seen as a sexy place to be. The culture may be designed to wed you to the job, but its a pairing that many professionals envy. And of course, as this week’s protest is designed to highlight, this side of the industry is not where the women are.
In this two part report on a workshop on thinking through online harassment, Maya Ganesh of Tactical Technology Collective teases out the nuances of how online harassment takes place, technologically and socially. The article looks at what troubles and concerns us about online harassment of women, and what could be the possible new directions opened up by using a design-thinking approach. Part 2 of the article will unpack further the design-thinking model.
On January 3, Caroline Sinders and I conducted a workshop at Tactical Tech about applying design-thinking approaches to understanding and addressing online and offline harassment. I write about the results of this workshop in two parts, the first, this one, dealing with the framing of online harassment in the context of speech, and why this needs to be reconsidered.
Addressing the internet gender divide in Africa can only be achieved through the deliberate creation of a feminist internet, and this was affirmed by the Gender and Internet Governance eXchange (gigX) workshop that was held on 10 October 2016 in Durban. We need a feminist internet that works to empower all of us in our diversities, creates equal power relations, and dismantles patriarchy in all of its forms.
A signboard in a school in Uganda. Public Domain Image: source
Article republished from APC blog, 11 Nov 2016.
The internet remains one of the historical developments transforming human behaviour, greatly impacting on the social, economic, cultural and political spheres of life at an incredible speed.