APC WNSP’s Karen Banks Wins Anita Borg Award for Social Impact


Karen Banks of the APC’s Women’s Programme (APC WNSP) is being honoured as recipient of the first Anita Borg Award for Social Impact at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference Awards Banquet on Thursday October 7, 2004 in Chicago, USA. The Anita Borg Award recognises significant and sustained contributions in technology.

The Anita Borg Awards are presented by the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology, a nationally recognised organization that provides platforms allowing women’s voices, ideas and spirits to influence technology. The Institute’s mission is to increase the impact of women on all aspects of technology and to increase the positive impact of technology on the lives of the world’s women. Karen Banks will receive the Anita Borg Award for Social Impact. A second award will be presented for Technical Leadership to IBM’s Dr. Fran Allen. Karen will be presented with her award at the premier event for technical women in computing, the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference.

“At this critical time, the recipients of these first Anita Borg Awards offer us a reminder of the substantial influence technology has on our lives and the potential for technology to have a significant and positive role in shaping the future, said Dr. Telle Whitney, CEO and President of the Anita Borg Institute. “This year’s winners embody the qualities, understanding and compassion essential for a more positive future. In honouring them, we honour all those whose lives exemplify an individual’s capacity to excel while making a better future for all.”

Winner of the Anita Borg Award for Social Impact: Karen Banks

For nearly 15 years Karen Banks and the APC Women’s Networking Support Programme (APC WNSP) have worked around the globe to bring the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs –eg. internet, radio, video, cell phones) to underserved women and communities as a tool for women’s empowerment, gender equality, social action and positive social change.

As the global Coordinator for APC WNSP until July this year, Karen has pioneered the use of ICTs for the empowerment of women around the world.

In Africa, the APC WNSP is involved in training women’s groups in content generation and dissemination, using ICTs to bringing women’s voices on HIV/Aids, peace-building and violence against women directly to the policy-makers, decision-makers and the mainstream. In the Asia-Pacific region, the network has conducted and coordinated regional and national Women’s Electronic Network Training (WENT) workshops, which started in 1999, and have become a model for similar women’s training in other regions of the world.

Karen and the WNSP have worked with NGOs, activists, and local internet service providers to understand the needs of a particular region’s national IT policies and barriers to promoting universal access. In the Philippines, they have worked on intellectual property regimes, media control, and the struggle of communities to access frequency allocations for radios and audiovisual work. In Latin America the network is engaged in work with local telecentres and public access centres to ensure women and men benefit equally in access to and use of public resources.

“Karen has been working in the ICTs for development sector for a decade and a half and played a key role in providing email to campaigners and development workers in Asia and Africa before commercial internet access arrived,” says APC WNSP colleague, Erika Smith. “She’s a techie at heart but she also truly understands how policy affects not only technological developments but PEOPLE. She has served as a mentor to hundreds of women and men around the world”.

“Our strategy is to get women central, active and visible in all walks of technology. We want to see women everywhere,” says Karen. “We don’t want it to be a surprise to see a woman running a wireless shop, fixing a pc, or leading a campaign to break with the telecom monopoly in her country.”

About the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology

Anita Borg’s Institute for Women and Technology increases the positive impact of women on technology through programs, partnerships and events designed encourage women’s engagement in technology development and to support women already working in technology fields. For more information see: http://www.anitaborg.org.

About the APC WNSP

The APC WNSP is a global network of women who support women networking for social change and women’s empowerment, through the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs). The WNSP promotes gender equality in the design, development, implementation, access to and use of ICTs and in the policy decisions and frameworks that regulate them. The WNSP is part of the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), an international network of civil society organizations dedicated to empowering and supporting groups and individuals working for sustainable development and social justice, through the strategic use ICTs, including the internet.


For more about WNSP initiatives: http://www.apc.org/english/news/women_index.shtml


Erika Smith


Erika@apcwomen.org or +52 777 382 1873 (Mexico)

Eric Mason

Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology

ericm@anitaborg.org or +1 650 236 4079 (USA)

Photo: Karen Banks (far right) and colleagues of the APC Women’s Networking Support Programme. APC.

Author: —- (APCNews)
Contact: communications@apc.org
Source: APCNews
Date: 10/05/2004
Location: MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay
Category: Press Releases


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