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Feminist Approach to Technology
By Suneetha

Technology and Women have always gone hand in hand, or have they?  While Indian women play key roles in our booming tech industry, there is much to be done for the rest of India. Techie Gayatri Buragohain had founded the Feminist Approach to Technology (FAT) in 2007, convinced that effective female empowerment comes through technology education.

FAT is a not-for-profit organization based in New Delhi, India, working towards empowering women through technology. Their mission is ‘to enhance women’s awareness, interest and participation in technology in order to decrease the gender divide in this field and strengthen the involvement of women in the technical workforce and in policy making.’

They hold workshops, do technical advising and work to raise awareness on the digital gender divide and the benefits of empowering women through technology. They aim to create a general awareness amongst both men and women on the particular need for women to participate equally in technology; encourage women to take initiative in learning, using and making technology; and also support women who do take such initiatives.

Gayatri has a strong team with her in Lisa Hodges, Hassath and Zandra Karlsson. They are at present endeavoring to ‘Engender Technology’ through the ‘We, women in Technology Campaign’. The WeWIT campaign actually has been kick-started already on the International Women’s Day in March 2009.

Techgoss spoke to Gayatri, about the current work and future plans of FAT.


Techgoss (TG): Gayatri, how does FAT choose workshops?
Gayatri: Presently our work is very limited because of limitations in resources. We are just 1 year old, and do not have any funding. Most of our workshops are self funded, meaning they are supported by the small amount of donation/contribution that we get from the organizations of the participants. That is why we have hold most of our workshops in Delhi only, because to extend our work to other places we need funds which we presently do not have. We also do some workshops in slum areas which are free of cost. These we do by using volunteers and as much lesser resources as possible.

Recently we have started to partner with other NGOs to host workshops in their locality and we go to impart the training.


TG: And the locations, like how many have been in rural areas? Most of them seem to be in Delhi, Have you helped out any rural initiatives and do you have any workshops coming up that way?
Gayatri: No we have not done any workshops in rural areas yet. But we have plans, and are working towards fund raising for the same. Presently we are planning a few in the rural areas on Assam.


TG: What are the new things being planned? Is anything happening in Bangalore, where many women techies live?
Gayatri: The latest would be our WeWIT Campaign (www.wewit.in) and its recent partnership with ACM-W on the women in computing chapter. I am the new ACM-W ambassador in India and there is an event on 21st Jan in Bangalore. We will be announcing the plans of our work there.

ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society and they are launching their India Council on 21st January 2010 in Bangalore. Coinciding with the ACM India Launch Event, ACM-W (ACM's Council on Women in Computing) is organizing a "Women in Computing" event in the evening of 21st January 2010.

This event is an effort to encourage women in computing in India to network and organize to form a community which works towards improving working and learning environments for women in computing in India. The event will be held on 21st January 2010, from 5.45pm to 7.30pm at the Hotel Taj Residency, Bangalore. It will be held just after the ACM India Launch Event.

Visit their website for details if you want to know more and contribute to the cause of women in technology.



(1/14/2010)
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