Beyond the Net Women in Tech

Teaching Sri Lankan Girls How to Code

Girls in Technology is a community-based initiative to help increase schoolgirls’ participation in emerging Internet technology careers. The pilot project, lead by the Internet Society Sri Lanka Chapter and supported by Beyond the Net Funding Programme, will provide grade 9 girls with coding lessons and extracurricular activities to help them select ICT subjects at grade 10. Niranjan Meegammana, project leader and director of the Shilpa Sayura Foundation, explains how this initiative will contribute to gender equality in STEM education and help the young women reach for the stars.

Internet Society: What motivated the Chapter to take this initiative?

Niranjan Meegammana: Sri Lanka is fast becoming a hub for technology and innovation, offering a wide range of careers in technology fields. However, girls pursuing a career in technology still remain a limited number. Girls are representing 50.28% of school population, but only 20% are actually studying ICT. The gender gap keeps on growing and generating a labor surplus. The root cause of this problem is the scarcity of opportunities for girls and teachers in the Internet sector.

Which innovative solutions will the project attempt to solve this problem?

Girls in Technology is implemented by Sri Lanka Chapter with the partnership of Shilpa Sayura Foundation and Computer Society of Sri Lanka and aims to involve many stakeholders. The project will train 800 teenage girls in coding and IoT (Internet of Things), 80 ICT teachers and 40 university students in 40 different communities using embedded devices and electronics. We are going to provide IoT kits, conduct local workshops and engage girls in after school activities. University students and teachers will assist students to create innovative solutions. The students will attend schools exhibition and take part in a competition. The innovative aspect of the program will be the creation of an extracurricular Coding Club to improve creative thinking through the Internet and STEM educational resources.

How will this project be a great opportunity for Sri Lankan schoolgirls?

This project’s aim is to create a community platform to address the gender gap issue. We are going to develop innovative strategies for technology education and try to deal with the problem of girls not selecting ICT as a subject. We are going to identify challenges, barriers and best practices to replicate this project at a national level. This project is a great opportunity to advocate gender gap in technology sector and influence policy about gender equality education. We hope this project will make the educational system grow so that young girls will finally have a voice and challenge themselves to be part of the future society.

How will the project contribute to the Internet Society’s mission?

Our project model is aligned with the Internet Society mission of supporting gender equality and ITC education. Girls in Technology will use open standards and the power of the Internet to develop quality education to enrich teenage girls lives. We are going to create an open community to motivate them to select ICT at grade 10. Globally speaking, our project will also contribute to achieve the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, SDG4 and SDG5.

How can people engage with your Chapter and learn more about the project?

By visiting the Girls in Technology project page , our blog and our social media page that will keep you updated about project activities and progress.

Do you have a great idea to make your community better via the Internet? Apply for a Beyond the Net grant, which funds projects up to $30,000 USD, and follow Beyond the Net on Twitter!

Women in Tech

Kate Ekanem: Promoting the Education, Literacy, and Empowerment of Girls in Nigeria

While the personal is almost always political, sometimes the person affected takes action that changes the course of history. That’s what Kate Ekanem has done. The founder of Kate Tales Foundation has spent her entire adult life promoting education, literacy, and empowerment of girls in her home country of Nigeria. And it started with herself.

“I was born into a family stuck with intense adversity, and a rural community with no access to quality education, basic health facility, reliable or no Internet facility, or social and educational opportunities,” Ekanem said. “There was no public library, no clean water, poor power supply, and streets filled with littered debris. Girls were resolving to getting pregnant [by] older men to escape the sting of poverty they were born into.”

After losing her mother at the age of two, Ekanem struggled as the only girl in a family of half-brothers. Her education took a backseat to the boys—something that she never fully accepted.

“I know what it feels like to rise in the morning and have nothing to eat. I know what it feels like to have an unending burning question, but dare not ask, because girls were not supposed to talk when the other gender were talking,” she said. “I understand that feeling of heavy humiliation that comes with being sent home from school because your parent cannot afford the school tuition.”

To Kate, girls have just as much right to be educated as boys. Without that education, financial instability amid women in the country is surging.

“I know the feeling of depression that comes with having the desire to read books but there is no public library or reading center in your community. I understand the frustration that arises when as a teen, you are studying for exam and power supply goes off on you in the dark of the night. I have lived in darkness. I have felt hunger. I have been immensely depressed, and I know, I understand what it means to be a girl, before a woman, in a rural community.”

Kate Tales counteracts that by making sure rural communities have access to education through scholarships and mentorship programs. Since the beginning of the program in 2012, Ekanem has empowered thousands Nigerian girls and women with entrepreneurial skills and confidence through 20 different projects.

“After one year of planning and working alone, I started receiving local official invitations to speak in high schools, and conferences. It was my first achievement and a sign that I was on the right path,” she said. “ I started receiving volunteer requests from people who wanted to join my pursuit to liberate girls and women and create a conscious mind in the rural communities.”

The organization has multiple goals including leadership and entrepreneur roles and literary and artistic development for women. These are achieved through workshops and books donations in schools, author talks and symposiums, exhibitions where women artists can share and sell their artwork. All of this is in addition to scholarships available for less privileged high school students in Nigeria.

Ekanem owes much of her motivational debt to a woman who spent 29 years in the FBI after being told at 11 years old that women couldn’t work there because “girls spend too much time painting their nails.”

She met her mentor, Lauren Anderson, at a summit in Turkey, where Ekanem was chosen to represent the African Union, and Anderson was a speaker on Barriers Women Face.

“Lauren is a goal getter,” Ekanem said. “She’s the kind of woman every girl aspires to become, and she’s an example why girls should never give up on their dreams.”

Anderson worked with several international and domestic non-profit organizations, focusing on emerging youth and women leaders. She worked with Vital Voices Global Partnership and serves on the U. S. Comptroller General’s Advisory Board at the U.S. Government Accountability Office, amid many other tasks.  Ekanem feels blessed to have been taken under her wing.

“Lauren’s story and her achievement inspire me immensely,” Ekanem said. “Her achievement is the reason why I keep moving, and consistently reminding myself daily, ‘Kate, there are more goals to smash. Lauren did. You can.’”

And smash them she will.

After working nonstop for Kate Tales for the past four years, Ekanem decided to go back to school, and is currently enrolled at Muhlenberg College, where she navigates between classes, assignments, meetings, deadlines, project creations, and continues to run her organization, checking up on her teams, and media projects, daily.

“My breakthrough from adversity was not magical. It’s more of divine intervention, and a strong determination to break the cycle of poverty,” she said. “You are more than what they tell you. Go ahead, smash those goals.”

This International Women’s Day, shine the light on the incredible women you know who are using technology to make an impact. Join the #ShineTheLight TweetChat with @SIGWomenISOC!

Women in Tech

Makkiya Jawed: At The Intersection of Technology and Medicine

The intersection between technology and medicine is perhaps one of the most important junctions of our time, and, in a world where access is king, many people—in fact, entire countries—can be left behind in the dust. That’s where Makkiya Jawed comes in as the director of social enterprise for Sehat Kahani in Pakistan.

The tech wiz joined forces with two doctors who launched the health tech enterprise, which circumvents Pakistan’s tradition of women having to choose family or career. It also caters to populations often overlooked by established medical communities.

“Sehat Kahani is a tele-health platform that aims to democratize healthcare via nurse-assisted video consultations by ensuring quick access, prevention and efficiency for healthcare,” Jawed explained.

Dr. Sara Saeed Khurram and Dr. Iffat Zafar, the co-founders of Sehat Kahani, both encountered the socio-cultural barriers to healthcare, but instead of giving up, they used their medical background to “democratize healthcare by building an all-female health provider network to deliver quality healthcare,” Jawed said. “They are the people who have taught me the power of team work and the importance of patience and dedication…In all honesty, whatever I have learned, they have had a major role to play in it. And the best thing is, they are females – females who have stood against all odds, fought against all barriers and proven time and again, that when one is committed, losing doesn’t remain an option.”

Specifically, Jawed tackles the IT challenges the system faces on a daily basis, including lack of operation areas and Internet providers, low bandwidth and high Internet illiteracy rates in the villages. She’s working to expand the network to include the rural populations. And she’s working to get more women into the technology field, despite social and cultural barriers.

“I love being on the field, empowering women to use technology, interacting with the underprivileged and helping them realize that technology can save their lives,” Jawed said. “My biggest achievement is not an award that I receive, rather it is when I hear the clinical staff tell me that they can now teach their children how to use technology, having never used even a smart phone, let alone a tablet before. Or when a patient walks up to me and tells me that I am a sweet soul simply for helping them connect to a doctor, something that is their basic right.”

Pakistan, which contains a population of 182 million people and one of the fastest growing economies of the world, is struggling to provide basic healthcare to more than half of its population. More than 40 million people live below the poverty line and nearly 30 percent of the total population lack access to even the most basic healthcare facilities.

As such, the mission of Sehat Kahani is four-fold. It works to use technology to surpass those socio-cultural and economic barriers discouraging women health providers from participating in the workforce, while at the same time creating sustainable e-health models at a third of the cost of traditional clinics, giving access to those with low incomes. In addition, the organization educates marginalized communities in preventative healthcare, an important step to low-cost health maintenance. Finally, the virtual doctors, specialists and mental health experts provide care to those who cannot physically get to a clinic. The model currently comprises a network of 14 e-healthcare hubs across Pakistan. In the past three years, the team of three has been able to reach more than 600,000 people directly.

So, how did Jawed get involved, and at such a young age, to boot? Coming from a life of privilege, early on, she saw the vast inequality around her and wanted to make a difference.

“Growing up, I underwent an existential crisis. It was difficult for me to understand why I was so privileged and had no qualms about wasting money whereas people didn’t have enough to be treated and lost their lives to preventable diseases,” she said.

Jawed is now on the forefront of tele-medicine in a tangible way. According to the World Health Organization, digital health is helping more than 400 million people globally who wouldn’t otherwise have access to essential care. The market is expected to grow by more than $12 billion by 2022.

This global problem can be attacked locally, Jawed said.

“When a patient walks into one of the clinics established in an urban slum community, a nurse who belongs to the community and plays the role of an intermediary assesses her vitals and connects her to an online doctor via a highly customized health platform that is being used in all Sehat Kahani clinics,” she explained.

Being a one-stop solution, patients can also access specialists, hospital referrals and basic dispensary items, at minimal cost, without having to travel for long hours outside their village.

“Sehat Kahani, for me, is a forum, which has not only provided me with a platform to raise my voice against gender discrimination but has also enabled and empowered me to cater to the most basic human desire; being a healthy human being.”

This International Women’s Day, shine the light on the incredible women you know who are using technology to make an impact. Join the #ShineTheLight TweetChat with @SIGWomenISOC!

Women in Tech

The Power of Women to Change the World: A message from our CEO on International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day, with the goal to empower women in all settings. This year, the Internet Society is celebrating by shining a light on the women who are shaping the Internet, including our own CEO, Kathy Brown. She shared her thoughts how we can ensure that all women have a place at the table in our increasingly-connected world.

The Internet Society: Who are the women who have inspired you throughout your career? How have they inspired you?

Kathy Brown: It is sometimes seen as cliché to point to the women who raised you as your first inspiration — but for many of us, and for me, I believe it is nevertheless true that our mothers are the first fuel for our activism. My mother was a “community organizer” in the 1960’s War on Poverty in the U.S. She was an activist in rural, upstate New York — organizing communities to alleviate poverty. She was a mover and a doer; she was fearless and never yielding to powerful forces who either did not see or would not see the effects of poverty on individuals and families. Having grown up with a woman with that kind of passion for people, watching what one woman can accomplish, I have never doubted the power of women to change the world.

How do you rate women’s representation across the Internet sphere, from technologists to content creators?

The Internet is one of the most powerful tools ever invented by humans to empower people. It allows us to access information, knowledge and know-how from a global community. We can also communicate, connect and collaborate with those who are closest to us. It is a tool for social and economic growth and is especially intuitive for women — who are natural communicators and organizers. Everywhere in the world, I see women using their individual and professional talent online to better their lives. And the number of young women who are now “digital natives” is growing. These young women are leading the way in using the Internet to follow their dreams and aspirations. More women are coding, building and enhancing the Internet than ever before. Women create content every day and their presence is making a difference in the way social and ethical norms are evolving. We encourage and applaud these efforts.

How has the Internet Society worked to ensure that women have a role in shaping the Internet? What can individuals and organizations do to make a difference?

The Internet Society’s Special Interest Group for Women (SIG Women) is a community created to make a difference. This amazingly dynamic group of women was born from determination among members to encourage the involvement of women in technology, help reduce the gender digital gap and ensure that women have a role in shaping the Internet. SIG Women is working to influence positive change in each region, but the road is not easy and more efforts — from all of us — are needed. Joining SIG Women could be the first step.

What does the future look like for women?

The future is about women. Women leading the way for a better world where they can live fulfilling lives, pursuing their individual dreams and those of their families. The tools of the 21st century — connectivity, access to knowledge, access to each other — are tools that women can and do put to powerful uses.

The most satisfying experiences of my time with the Internet Society have been meeting and learning from women, in every part of the world, who have used the Internet to become even stronger leaders in their communities, who have become entrepreneurs — in charge of their own economic future, who have embraced technology as a powerful means of communicating and coordinating with their families close and far, who are moving forward and will not settle with being left behind.

Want to be a part of the global conversation? Join today’s #ShineTheLight TweetChat with @SIGWomenISOC … then join SIG Women!

Photo: Kathy Brown visiting Barefoot College in India.

Women in Tech

Shine the Light: Six Women Making a Difference

This International Women’s Day, we’re boosting the profiles of incredible women around the world who are pushing boundaries using technology – and we encourage you to do the same!

Last month, during Safer Internet Day – a call to action for everyone to play their part in creating a better Internet for everyone – women in the Internet Society’s 25 Under 25 group, using just their smartphones to record video, answered the question, “What does a safer Internet mean to me?”

Watch the videos, explore the different ways these young women are using technology to shape tomorrow, then Shine The Light on some of the incredible women you know who are making an impact. Join the #ShineTheLight TweetChat with @SIGWomenISOC on March 8th… then join SIG Women!

Poornima Meegammana (Sri Lanka)
“A safer Internet to me is a place where a girl’s voice can be heard without harassment.”

Mary Helda Akongo (Uganda)
“To me, a safer Internet would be a place that is free and safe for me to have my voice heard, a place where I can share my creative content, share my opinions and my thoughts without ridicule, backlash and hate from different people just because of probably my gender, my race, my religion or my beliefs.”

Kate Green (UK)
“I believe that the infrastructure we use online – Google, Facebook and other social media platforms – should also keep us safe, and be really explicit about the data, what they’re going to be doing with our data so that we can make informed decisions about what we want to share online.”

Jazmin Fallas (Costa Rica)
“For me, a safer Internet is a space where people can feel free to interact but at the same time have security that their rights are protected.”

Makkiya Jawed (Pakistan)
“For me, a safer Internet is a place where instead of feeling judged, where you’re not hiding behind facades, people come across and actually speak their views and opinions freely; a place where even mental health can be discussed openly; where illnesses such as TB and diabetes are actually not hidden but rather people say them out loud; a place where we find support from across the globe, to be who we are, a place where I’m simply me.”

Paula Côrte Real, (Brazil)
“A safer Internet to me would be a place where people could express themselves without the fear of censorship or surveillance. It would also be a place free of hate and free of violence where people could exercise their rights without disrespecting other people’s rights, because freedom of expression doesn’t allow you to spread hate and to mistreat anyone, either online or offline.”

Read Lia Kiessling’s blog 2018: Time To Listen To The Voices of Women

Human Rights Women in Tech

Not Backing Down: Women Across The Globe Fighting To Make The Internet Safe

There is nothing worse than showing up to a party uninvited.

The awkward conversations, the constant justification of why you’re there, and often facing up to the downright hostility of the hosts. It’s enough to make any of us want to quietly make our way towards the closest exit sign we find and never look back.

And that’s exactly what’s happening to many women around the world for simply taking the time to log on.

For those of us that work with the online world, there isn’t any doubt. Online harassment and cyber bullying are real. In theory, these things can happen to anyone— but they don’t.

They happen overwhelmingly to women.

According to 2014 study by the Pew Research Center, the worst online harassment, including attacks that go beyond name-calling to include stalking and sexual harassment, is disproportionately targeted at women.

Too often women are told they must quietly adapt. If you don’t like the way you’re being treated online, you should log off.

In other parts of the world, women don’t even get through the front door.

So, as the Internet increasingly becomes woven into the fabric of our everyday lives, it means many women are blocked from the limitless opportunities it offers.

This shouldn’t be something that we accept. But the good news is, many women are pushing back.

Some are technologists changing how to build the Internet, some are journalists pushing for the free flow of information, others are bloggers questioning ingrained value system, and still others – millions of others – are logging on time and time again to take part.

Let’s not underestimate this act.

So on March 8th, International Women’s Day, the Internet Society is calling on everyone who believes the Internet should be for everyone to celebrate this spirit of persistence.

Over the course of the day, we will be shining the light on stories of women who are making the Internet a safer and more trusted place, many by logging on.

Take Japleen Pasricha, an Internet blogger and campaigner who leads the Delhi-based non-profit organization called Feminism in India. It offers online spaces for women to write about gender equality issues and combat sexual harassment. Japleen’s research explores challenges to women and girls’ online freedom of expression in India.

Or then there’s Olutosin Adebowale. Olutosin is a passionate gender equality advocate and founder of the non-profit organization, Star of Hope Transformation Center in Lagos. Its programs empower local communities to end child sexual abuse, heal survivors and train women to earn their own income. Olutosin is researching methods for improving women and girls’ Internet access in rural Nigeria.

Or Angélica Contreras, a young Mexican blogger and one of the founders of the Internet Society’s Youth Observatory. She is deeply involved in creating a more inclusive culture online.

By celebrating the work of women like this, we are letting others know they are not alone. There are, in fact, millions of women who are logging on every day.

This act, as simple as it may seem, is essential to creating a culture that emulates the very building blocks the Internet is founded on – diversity, inclusion, and collaboration.

If we don’t celebrate these every day acts of persistence, we stand to lose the millions of voices and ideas that women can bring to the table.

Ideas that are critical to our world.

So critical, in fact, that world leaders agreed that women and girls having access to information and communication technologies would be a key indicator of the success of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Consider this:

  • The OECD estimates that on average, across its member countries, a 50 percent reduction in the gender gap in labor force participation alone would boost GDP an extra 6 percent by 2030, with a further 6 percent gain if gaps closed.
  • Eliminating barriers to employment for girls and women could raise labor productivity by 25% in some countries.
  • If 10% more girls attend school, a country’s GDP increases by an average of 3%.

This isn’t news.

But a recent report by ONE shows the Internet’s gender gap in the poorest countries grew by 2 percent between 2013 and 2016. Based on current trends, 71 percent of women in the forty-eight poorest countries will still be offline in 2020.

While higher rates of Internet access help to boost GDP per capita, the report notes, cultural, economic, and educational barriers, as well as lack of awareness, prevent many women from accessing and benefiting from online content and services.

For any policymaker that is serious about expanding Internet access to benefit their societies, the inclusion of women needs to be a priority. As described in the Internet Society’s policy framework for an enabling Internet access, infrastructure can only take you so far. An Internet that can support development and economic growth has to be inclusive, trusted and accessible to everyone – and that requires more than fiber and routers. If this idea is now mainstream in global policy fora, from the ITU to the Internet Governance Forum, translating it into reality is the real indicator of success.

From the stories we’re sharing today — and the millions more that are out there — we know that women getting access to the Internet are using it to solve some of the world’s toughest problems. Faster than we ever thought possible.

But for that to happen by 2020, we need to make sure that all people —and especially women —have a voice in building and shaping the tools that will affect their lives.

For the digital revolution to truly be great, it can’t just be for a certain set of people. Join us and celebrate everyday role models of women, everywhere, who are making the Internet a safer place we can all trust.

Want to help?

Growing the Internet Women in Tech

Gender Parity Starts with the Internet

Today, on International Women’s Day, I want to acknowledge the many contributions made by women to the development and growth of the Internet. I am also asking others to join me in the Internet Society’s effort to “Shine the Light” on women who use the Internet to innovate and make a difference –in their families, in their communities and for themselves. Women around the world have made tremendous advances socially, economically and politically, but progress towards gender parity will be stunted if we do not increase the number of women who have access to the one technology that has transformed the lives of billions of people – the Internet.

The disparities are evident. Worldwide, there are 200 million fewer women than men online. In developed countries women and men have access to the Internet at close to the same rates, but in the developing world women are 25% less likely than men to have access, and the number jumps to 45% in regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa. Even in rapidly growing economies such as Asia and the Middle East, there are 35% fewer women than men online.

This gender gap in the number of women with Internet access can be measured economically–according to the Broadband Commission Working Group every 10% increase in access to broadband translated to a 1.38% growth in gross domestic product– but equally important, it can be measured socially. Women who have Internet access are more likely to use it in their daily lives. They use their connections to access education, health care, government services and to organize their families and communities for social, economic and political empowerment.

With access to the Internet, women in Bolivia learning digital literacy skills can now take part in the online job market, and in India they are creating micro enterprises using the Internet in fields like fishery and sustainable agriculture. The Internet is a powerful tool in the hands of women for organizing their villages, starting new businesses and building local economies.

While we know there remains significant work to be done, I believe that women are already empowered to make a difference and to bring about change. We need to highlight their accomplishments and achievements so they serve as a beacon for other women and girls.

There is a powerful community of women who are successfully using the Internet to create opportunities and change lives. Many of these women have faced personal and professional barriers, whether they are from a remote village in Pakistan, or an executive for one of the largest technology companies in the world. I like to think of these women as digital trailblazers.

Women such as Nighat Dad, a lawyer and Internet activist who founded the Digital Rights Foundation and included in TIME magazine’s list of next generation leaders for helping Pakistani women fight online harassment, and Mariel Garcia who organizes workshops for young women in Mexico on online privacy.

We need to Shine the Light on these women and all women who are using the Internet to make an impact. Whether it’s adding content that is relevant to other women, encouraging and inspiring other women and girls who are just getting online, or creating and innovating – women have a central role in helping to build the Internet of Opportunity. So as we focus on achieving gender parity for women this International Women’s Day, let’s also celebrate the voice of women online and the many achievements they have made through the Internet. #Shinethelight

Human Rights Internet Governance Women in Tech

10 Great Ways the Internet is Empowering Women Around the World

This year, International Women’s Day will focus on the empowerment of women, highlighting the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which was signed 20 years ago by 189 governments to establish an agenda for realizing women’s rights.  The celebration of this historic milestone gives us a good reason to reflect on advances in women’s rights around the world, and to examine the Internet’s role in this effort.

To this end, drawing from our Community Grants archives, our global membership and other organizations, the Internet Society has assembled below a list of innovative and interesting ways that the Internet  and technology are empowering women (and girls) far and wide. Some initiatives we found are global, while others are local, but all are worthy of recognition because they are empowering women in parts of the world where women’s rights are at risk.

These initiatives are breaking down barriers and building bridges that support greater education, better health, career advancement, and stronger community. They are fostering greater reach through local-language content that is sensitive to regional education levels and cultural conventions. They are creating new channels of opportunity, and using data to ensure that gender equality is a key beneficiary of technological advances.

1. The Amakomaya Project (Nepal)

The Amakomaya project (or Mother’s Love) was started to provide women in rural Nepali villages with life saving digital content in their own local language via the Internet. The program brings educational materials to pregnant women who would have no access to it otherwise, with information about pregnancy and pre-natal care to reduce the region’s high maternal mortality and neo-natal death rates. With the region’s high mobile penetration, the program has expanded with a mobile platform, and it also connects rural health workers with urban based hospital doctors.  Find out more about Amakomaya or find them on Facebook and Twitter.

 2. Samasource (Global)

Billed as a “bridge to the global talent pool,” this non-profit gives computer-based data projects to women and youth in areas all over the world where “technology is unfamiliar and traditional gender roles may prevent women from pursuing careers.” Since its founding in 2008, Samasource, which pays its workers a living wage, has built the number of women it has trained and employs to over 3,000 through data projects with companies including Getty Images, DropBox, Microsoft, and TripAdvisor in countries such as Haiti, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya and India. Learn more about working with Samasource or find them on Facebook and Twitter.

3. Hamara Internet (Pakistan)

Hamara Internet is a campaign by the Digital Rights Foundation that promotes a secure digital environment for women and protects their online and offline freedom of expression. Through workshops, training and research, the campaign is empowering Pakistani women to connect with online communities via social media channels, to learn how to increase their online security, and to combat cyber-violence, among other things. Find them on Facebook and Twitter.

4.W2E2 (India)

Women for Empowerment and Entrepreneurship (W2E2) provides digital tools, Internet connectivity and digital literacy skills training to help rural women in India set up social and/or entrepreneurial micro-enterprises. Many of these women are now using the Internet for their own projects in fields like sustainable agriculture and rural health. Some are setting up their own kiosks and shops to provide online services to the local community, while others have taken up work as digital literacy trainers in their own local communities.  Learn more about W2E2.

5. International Girls in ICT Day (Global)

An initiative of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), International Girls in ICT Day aims to create a global environment that empowers and encourages girls and young women to consider careers in the field of ICT, Information and Communications Technology. Celebrated on the 4th Thursday in April every year, the main goal is to make girls and young women aware of the vast possibilities offered by ICTs and give them the confidence to pursue ICT studies and careers. To date, over 111,000 girls and young women have taken part in more than 3,500 Girls in ICT Day events held in 140 countries worldwide. ITU has also developed Girls in ICT Portal, with a database of programs and other informative and inspirational materials to help girls and young women to enter the ICT sector. Click or tap to find the ITU Girls in ICT Portal.

6. Tujiunge (Democratic Republic of Congo)

Tujiunge is a computer resource center for women coping with violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where violence against women is rampant due to ongoing political instability and armed groups based in the region. The center is designed to give women access to information, education and support services via the Internet to help them cope with violent situations in the Uvira community. More information is available on the Tujiunge blog.

7. Ayni Bolivia (Bolivia)

Ayni Bolivia provides training for underserved young women interested in computer maintenance and security on the Internet.  The classes, which include learning how to assemble computers and load Linux and Windows operating systems, provide more than technical training – they help girls become more confident. One course participant noted that her new skills have enabled her to help her Dad repair computers – helping generate income for her family and giving her an opportunity to work with her father.  Learn more about Ayni Bolivia and watch the girls at work on via a video on YouTube.

8. Afchix (Africa)

Afchix is designed to encourage girls and young women in Africa to take up careers in tech. It provides mentoring, training and support for young women interested in the Internet engineering and computing fields so they will be equipped to build next generation IP infrastructures. Afchix activities include organizing events that draw hundreds of girls and young women to share experiences and learn what they can achieve by devoting themselves to the study of computer science and information technology.

9. Respect Girls on the Net (Sri Lanka)

Cyber-harassment is a growing phenomenon in every part of the world, but can pose an even greater threat in regions where there are fewer regional resources to educate people on its consequences. Respect Girls on the Net (RGNET) is an initiative by Youth Empowerment Society (YES) founded by Shilpa Sayura e Sri Lanka Project  to create youth awareness and dialogue on the problems faced by girls on the Internet.  RGNET offers local-language content that builds awareness of the issue, advocates for and trains kids in “safe and respectful online discourse,” and provides resources and guidance to victims. Find them on Facebook.

10. Take Back the Tech! (Global)

As technology advances, women and girls have increasingly become targets of cyber-stalking and digital voyeurism, harassment, blackmail and threats. Take Back the Tech!,initiated by the Association for Progressive Communications’ Women’s Rights Programme,raises awareness, builds online equality and preserves digital freedom of expression for women and girls. For 16 days between Nov. 25 and Dec. 10, Take Back the Tech! issues a call to action: use every technology platform to shine a spotlight on the problem, create solidarity, and teach women how to combat it. Since it launched in 2006, the campaign has been translated into numerous languages and adopted by groups from Bangladesh to Bosnia and beyond. Find them on Facebook and Twitter.