Cyber bullying. Shaming. Intimidation. Hate threats. These are just a few of the tactics used to attack women on the Internet. The Take Back the Tech! campaign is one way women are fighting back. Tied in with the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence (25 Nov. – 10 Dec.), Take Back the Tech! calls on all information and communications technology (ICT) users – especially women and girls – to take control of technology and strategically use any ICT platform at hand (mobile phones, instant messengers, blogs, websites, digital cameras, email, podcasts and more) for activism against gender-based violence.
Initiated in 2006, the campaign has set out to create safe digital spaces that protect everyone’s right to participate freely, without harassment or threat to safety. It also supports women’s rights to shape, define, participate, use and share knowledge, information and ICT.
Here are a few of the activities taking place this year:
1) 16 Daily Actions From 25 Nov to 10 Dec: The campaign website will announce an action during each of the 16 days that explores the creative and strategic use of ICT in connection with an issue related to violence against women.
Previous actions have included changing default homepages in internet cafes to women’s rights websites, communicating experiences and knowledge on VAW in multiple ways including making digital postcards, creating short videos, blogging, sending SMS messages, collating screenshots of campaigning websites, producing audiocasts, tagging and aggregating online resources, making and sharing stickers and stencils, feminist-ing Wikipedia and even writing haikus.
2) Ka-BLOG: Users are invited to blog during the 16 Days of Activism and populate the internet with debate, thoughts, reflections, information, questions, poetry, and ideas on how to end violence against women, especially in connection with information and communications technologies. Bloggers are asked to tag their posts using the same tag, which is aggregated through Technorati, or to register their blogs on the campaign website.
3) Take Back The Tech! local campaigns: Take Back The Tech! campaigns have been organized and initiated by individuals, groups of people and organizations in many different parts of the world. Campaigners have created, adapted and shaped actions that resonate with priorities and platforms in their contexts, including hands-on workshops, media monitoring, digital storytelling, film screenings, evening discussions, SMS campaigns, mural painting, theatre productions, and solidarity marches online.
A collaborative effort, Take Back the Tech! was Initiated by the Association for Progressive Communications’ Women’s Networking Support Programme (APC WNSP), a network of more than 150 women from different parts of the world who support women networking for social change and women’s empowerment, through the use of information and communication technologies.
Since it began in 2006, the campaign has been taken up, adapted and owned by individuals, groups, networks and organisations all over the world. Campaigners have taken action and initiated local Take Back The Tech! campaigns in Bangladesh, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, the Congo, Germany, India, Macedonia, Mexico, Malaysia, the Philippines, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, UK, Uruguay, USA, and more.
How is it funded? The global campaign is organized by APC WNSP through its core funding. Some organizations and networks that have initiated local campaigns have independently secured small grants and funding. Many individuals, groups and organizations motivated by their strong commitment to end violence against women contribute not only their personal time, but also their knowledge, imagination and energy. Through the principals of collaboration, openness and activism, Take Back the Tech! is working towards a safe, equitable and respectful digital world.