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Central America: Women, Technology and Education

Categories: Latin America, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Citizen Media, Development, Technology, Women & Gender

Picture courtesy of Take back the Tech

A campaign called Take Back the Tech [1] aims to reclaim “Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to End Violence Against Women,” as well as continuing the battle against AIDS. This is one of the many initiatives across the globe that are encouraging women not to be afraid of technologies and through education [es] [2] on how to use it to improve their lives. Today more than ever, it is important for women and girls to use technologies to improve their lives, especially in Central America.

Women in this region often make the headlines, but not for the reasons that one would like to read in the news. Instead, their news are about gender violence, extreme poverty, lack of opportunities, malnutrition, high mortality rates even gendercide. [3] In spite of this, there are amazing women from all the region, who write primarily about technology and who try to make a difference in the lives of women.

Sweetsakura [es] [4] not only is a software expert, she is also a supporter of free software, sharing information and tips on her blog about software, hardware and Ubuntu from El Salvador.

From Honduras, Librecaos [es] [5]shares with her community the importance of software in local languages and celebrates that they finally have Ubuntu, an operative system, localized in Miskito [6], an indigenous language of Central America. She commemorated the recent International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women [7] and recalled some experiences [8]:

En esto días recuerdo más cuando empezaba a trabajar y me tocada hacer transcripciones de cassetes, todos eran talleres con mujeres hablando sobre sus experiencias, no podía evitar conmocionarme al oir como sus esposos las golpeaban, oirlas llorar cuando aseguraban que podían trabajar porque “No tenian permiso de su marido”, o peor escuchar como las usaban como si fueran muqueñas para sexo, y luego las dejaban.

During these days, I begin to recall the time when I started to work and when I had to transcribe cassettes of workshops where women spoke about their experiences, and I could not help but be moved when I heard how their husbands hit them, heard them cry when they were not able to work because “they did not have permission from her husband,” or worse hear how they were used as dolls for sex, and later they were left.

Vinculación [es] [9] by Ivonne Aldana from Guatemala, is quite impressive. She discusses new inventions, new models and designs, ICT clusters and the importance of development scientists. La Piensa Libre [es] [10], from Costa Rica writes with charm about technology, among other important issues, since it cannot be isolated from society, the environment and others.

Women literacy and improving education for girls can contribute to solve major problems by providing access to reproductive health information to prevent diseases, for example. Hopefully Central American women will increase in number of users of technology, producers and policy makers!