Overview of 2013 Take Back the Tech! campaign in Bosnia and Herzegovina

OneWorld platform for Souteast Europe and feminist website ženskaposla.ba have once again this year, (proud to say – the sixth consecutive), joined forces in Take Back the Tech! campaign. All of the activities were focused on raising awareness on violence against women and information and communication technology, educating people on the matter by providing them with first hand real life experiences of girls and women, as well as discussing, writing, blogging, listening and learning.

The main objective of the campaign is to prevent violence against girls and women that occurs through the use of information and communication technologies. This year’s campaign started by calling the recognition of rights to privacy in the digital world, stressing that the right to privacy is a key step towards ending violence against women. Activities encompassed both, online and offline space. Offline events included:

1. Workshop Cyber feminism: The future is now!

Writer and feminist from Bosnia and Herzegovina Selma Kešetović held the workshop ‘Cyber feminism: The future is now!’. Main goal of the workshop was to discuss the influence and impact of cyber space in terms of our own social context, violence against women and the ways to fight the battle within cyber space, with the participants.

2. Training for IT women

On 30th of November a group of IT girls and women was gathered and held a training, presenting the map and making them long term ambassadors of the project. It was valuable because they gave further input on how to make the map more ‘friendly’ and usable on a bigger scale and to a larger audience.

3. Take Back the Tech Training

There were two trainings in two cities, Sarajevo and Banja Luka, simbolically called Take Back the Tech Training where agenda for participants included topics on safety of girls and women on the internet, prevention of violence within the virtual platform, protection mechanisms that can be used within a virtual platform, and finally presentation of the map for recording cases of violence against girls and women through ICT. Great advantage this year is that OWPSEE has got two new partner organizations; Center for education and research Nahla from Sarajevo, and Gender Center – Center for gender equality of Republic of Srpska Government.

4. Disco-Tech

As for final event of Take Back the Tech 2013, OWPSEE held Disco-Tech, an event which was closure of the 16 days of activism campaign. The sole event aimed at celebration of girls and women in IT world of Bosnia and Herzegovina but our region as well (Serbia and Croatia). The idea was to hear stories and experiences girls and women who successfully incorporated ICTs within their everyday lives, whether they directly work as IT personel or use ICTs within their business ideas, or as activists, etc. The event’s concept was a joint effort between APC and Tactical Tech. This form of event was first time presented at IGF 2013.

The team highly welcomed the idea of talking about technology in a way that no other organisations did by now, in a unique and more relaxed context, still keeping the content valuable – the success of numerous women from Bosnia and Herzegovina and neighbouring countries. The presenters were women who successfully manage their careers and goals within IT world which is, still, as in many societies around the world perceived as male-dominated terrain.

For 16 days there has been active involvement in providing the different audiences with information about VAW and ICT; we have discussed, compared, researched, emphasized, gave trainings, developed ideas, brainstormed. We have listened and we have taught. At the end of the campaign we wanted to show different side of the medal when it comes to ICT and women. So we have found and introduced seven women, from lawyers to activists, from professors to business women, all of them having that mutual ICT factor.

Guests who attended the event had the opportunity to hear real experiences, struggles but also numerous benefits that women can and do have when choosing ICTs as their sphere of interest. Even though they were coming from very different backgrounds, each story has shown how passion and knowledge combined can bring marvelous results and be quite an inspiration to not only girls and women but the society overall.

Other than that, the everyday online activities were successfully managed on the virtual platforms oneworldsee.org and zenskaposla.ba, and they provided the audience with useful information on the matter, real life examples (cases of VAW through ICT in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as global ones which were picked up and translated from takebackthetech.net). Online activities also included regular blog posts for 16 days, social campaign through Twitter using hashtags #16danaaktivizma (16 days of activism) as well as hashtag #takebackthetech so we could join the global efforts of creating a Twitter trend as well as providing others with information about our daily activites in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Social networks (primarily Twitter and Facebook) were valuable allies in this campaign in a sense of providing a space for discussion on this specific matter as well as inviting the audience to join more actively through the offline events.

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