Take Back The Tech

Take Back the Tech: take action – online and off – to end violence against women

Whether its through community radio, posters, sms, emails, audiocasts or websites, creative and informed use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) helps get the word out on violence against women (VAW). We have to know about technology to best use it for our activism, we have to understand it to protect ourselves and others, and to keep shaping an internet for all. From 25 November to 10 December it’s time once again to “Take Back the Tech!” and use ICTs to end violence against women.

Women around the world are increasingly using ICTs to strategise, protest and mobilise: an SMS message brought together hundreds of women to protest their right to choose in the UK in a “flashmob”; an online petition in a social networking community attracted signatures against the stoning of women in Kurdistan from corners of the world previously unimaginable; mobile phones allow for quick snapshots to document abuse; blogs in dozens of languages decry VAW. At the same time, perpetrators of VAW also take advantage of technology: a husband switches his wife’s SIM card to spy on her mobile phone callers in Free State, South Africa; the Iranian government repeatedly blocks access within Iran to a website calling for an end to discriminatory laws against Iranian women.

For 16 days of activism against VAW, the APC Women’s Programme (APC WNSP) calls on all ICT users to stretch and hone internet skills and strategies for activism to ensure women’s safety online and off.

What is the campaign about?

Take Back the Tech is a collaborative campaign by internet users, advocates,collectives and organisations that take issue with the prevalence of VAW in our diverse realities. Initiated by APC WNSP in 2006, the campaign is part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence initiative.

It is our right to shape, define, participate, use and share knowledge,information and technology, and to create digital spaces that protect everyone’s right to interact freely without harassment or threat to safety. Take Back the Tech calls on all users of ICTs – especially grrls and women – to take control of technology and consciously use it to disrupt unequal power relations.

How can you Take Back the Tech?

Throughout the 16 days, daily actions using the internet to fight against VAW aim to stretch skills and knowledge around ICTs and VAW. It’s an opportunity to take time to play with technology for a purpose – exploring mapping, editing audio, transforming photos, sending mass SMS through the internet – to take action with new tools or apply the tools you use every day in a different way. Simply visit the campaign website at http://www.takebackthetech.net to check out the latest daily action.

Local campaigners have embraced Take Back the Tech in different ways: training women’s organisations in web 2.0 tools to help get the word out in Mexico and Uruguay; putting resources in local languages such as Khmer in Cambodia; building computers – and learning how to sew – in Brazil. Campaigners are organising online protest petitions and audiocasting public forums. Every other day a new campaign will be featured on the Take Back the Tech website. Check out a campaign spotlight, learn about the local reality of violence women face and challenge, and help their cause from afar.

Start your own Take Back The Tech campaign. Every year, independent and creative initiatives to Take Back The Tech have taken off in different parts of the world, translating content and action to address local needs and priorities. Use the campaign website to highlight your action, find useful tools and tips, and adapt images and graphics to your needs. You can even create your own page on the site, just email us to let us know how we can support your action.

Deepen the debate around violence against women by joining the 16 day blogathon. New to blogging? This is the perfect reason to start your own, or at least, click that ‘comment’ button to have your say. Daily topics will be posted on the campaign site to stir conversation, as well as instructions on how to set up a blog.

Learn by listening to the experience and stories of women and men affected by VAW. The campaign website will feature digital stories, audiocasts, video clips and postcards. If you have something you would like to share, just log on to the campaign site and submit your story.

Help shape the campaign by sharing your experience and ideas. Submit your thoughts at the campaign website, and make it part of the campaign.

Check the www.takebackthetech.net daily from 25 November to 10 December, and take action. Reclaim technology to end violence against women.

For more information, consult the FAQ at http://takebackthetech.net/about/campaign or send an email to ideas@takebackthetech.net