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Pakistan: Take Back The Tech Campaign

Categories: South Asia, Pakistan, Digital Activism, Technology, Women & Gender

Take Back The Tech [1] is a collaborative campaign which takes place during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence [2] (25 Nov – 10 Dec). Its goal is to promote ICT to end violence against women. In Pakistan, P@SH@- Pakistan Software Houses Association [3]- is taking the initiative forward and have already launched the campaign on various online platforms.

Jehan Ara, President of P@sh@, initiated the campaign after holding a small meetup with bloggers to help find ways in which the campaign could be beneficial. On her blog  In the Line Of Wire [4], Jehan shares details of the campaign and ways in which people can help collaborate.

From 25 November to 10 December, get ready to click your mouse, flex your SMS fingers and engage full energy to take control of technology to end violence against women. PC’s Women’s Programme calls on users of the radio, television, internet,
emails and mobile phones to Take Back the Tech!

Meanwhile Jehan also launched the campaign on Twitter which has received an overwhelming response from men and women alike.

jehan_ara [5]: Let us discuss what legislation exist to fight Violence against Women using ICT and whether they need to be changed/reviewed #takebackthetech [6]

rai_azlan [7] It is well-known that violence often ends when others intervene. #takebackthetech [6]

faisalkapadia: [8] FOR THE WOMEN OF PAKISTAN lets put an end to domestic violence against them #TBTT [9]

Fariha Akthar at Far Quest shared announced the online campaign in a post [10]:

I devoted most of my free time today in attempting to TBTT….yes to “Take Back The Tech!” and it’s going to be so at least till the next 16 days. [..]

We here in Pakistan have planned to run the local TBTT Campaign.(..) We have laid down a basic day-to-day activities plan as well that we will follow mainly to create awareness about female harassment issues and sharing tips on how to fight back this menace.

Rai Azlan at “My land Pakistan” [11] blog discussed the need to highlight incidents of violence against women.

Living in a male dominated society I sometimes  consider myself superior over the opposite gender, it might be the influence of the overall social air. However I believe that superiority comes with responsibility and one can only be superior if the entire obligation toward him is being fulfilled.

[..] As soon as I got to know the importance and the aim behind this campaign I felt like it might be the way I can try to fulfill my responsibility.

Teabreak [12], Pakistan's largest Blog aggregator, announced [11] its support for the campaign, calling all bloggers to join in and spread the word. Teabreak is home to over 1200 registered bloggers across Pakistan. Taking up the initiative will help amplify it to a larger audience. More support poured in when “The Laid Back Show [13]“, hosted by renowned bloggers Awab Alvi [14] and Faisal Kapadia [15], dedicated an entire episode to the campaign in order to help spread awareness and gather more support.

The campaign has triggered debate over the use of social media tools and has discussed cases of online harassment. Lets hope that this initiative culminates into a more powerful campaign to combat violence against women- a campaign that is not limited to 16-days but will last till the percentage of women facing violence declines appreciably.

This post is part of Global Voices special coverage on Ending Violence Against Women 2009 [16]