Women’s Empowerment: Regional Initiatives


Management nodes

LACTLD has noticed the impetus of gender issues and the debates and initiatives centered on the empowerment of women in recent times. This is why we want to highlight and share the projects and activities that are being successfully developed by organizations in our region.

Chile WiC (1) started as an initiative of three Chilean women academics who, after attending the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in the US, wanted to hold a similar local event in Chile. The first meeting was held in 2011, within the framework of the Chilean Computing Sessions, and it kept growing over the years until it became an independent event in 2016.

Chile WiC carries out several activities, such as presentations of initiatives to promote computer science at the school and university levels, and technical presentations of projects, theses, studies, and short presentations on the topics these college women are working on. Also, there are sessions to deal with topics of interest to the community with the purpose of drawing attention to the work of women in computing, sharing experiences and creating networks of collaboration. A significant input of the event is the celebration of the contribution of women to computer science.

These sessions have gained prominence to become an official celebration of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) (2), the leading organization in computing worldwide.

The Chile WiC team tells us: “We are driven by the certainty that equal gender representation in computing is critical for future technologies to better satisfy our society’s needs.”

Moreover, NIC Argentina, since 2016, on the basis of its main line of action (to promote the growth of the Internet in Argentina and to increase society’s trust in the network) has maintained that it is necessary to take part in all the discussions related to how the Internet can and should evolve —as citizens, as companies, as government organisms, as academics or technicians. Otherwise, third parties could make all the decisions for us. This is why, to them, it is fundamental to work on the wide Internet governance agenda, encouraging cross-sectional dialogs and collaborative work: “In this regard, we know that women’s empowerment in technology is an issue that worries us, speaks to us, and concerns us.”

Within this framework, NIC Argentina has implemented a series of “Talks about Internet Governance” whose edition in December 2017 addressed “The role of women in technology and in the legislative progress on revenge porn.”. This informal discussion sparked deep interest in the topic and it pushed WIDE(3) to propose to carry out a new event called “More women in technology: Discussing the digital gender gap”. Such event took place in May of 2018 in NIC Argentina’s headquarters and it was attended by seven civil society organizations specialized in bridging the digital gender gap.

In addition, NIC Argentina produces different contents for its website and social networks, which seek, on the one hand, to inform people about several aspects related to the Internet and technology and, on the other, to express the opinions of a wide range of specialists. In its interviews, videos and other content published, voices from all the different sectors can be heard. Finally, on International Women’s Day (March 8), they share articles that focus on women who made history in the world of technology in order to draw attention to their work and inspire new generations.

At the regional level, UN Women (a United Nations entity working for gender equality and the empowerment of women) has set in motion the program called “Win-Win: Gender Equality means Good Business” (4). This initiative, first implemented in 2018, has been underway in six countries and it will last for three years. It is a program financed by the EU Association Agreement and implemented jointly with the International Labor Organization (ILO) to promote gender equality in the private sector. The goal of this program is to strengthen women’s leadership and economic empowerment as a basis for sustainable, inclusive and equal growth. It is intended for companies and networks led by women, multinational companies and relevant stakeholders in Europe and certain Latin American and Caribbean countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Jamaica and Uruguay). It seeks to promote commercial bonds and innovation among women in both regions, while fostering inter-regional dialog and the exchange of good practices to increase the capacity of the private sector in a more comprehensive manner in businesses with gender equality.

The main platform for the Win-Win Program is the Women's Empowerment Principles (WEPs), created by UN Women and the UN Global Compact in 2010, and signed by almost 2,000 companies around the world. The WEPs provide companies with the opportunity to adopt policies and invest in the promotion of gender equality in the workplace, in productive chains, and in communities.

“Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but its achievement has enormous socio-economic ramifications. Empowering women fuels thriving economies, spurring productivity and growth.”

One of the regional activities carried out by UN Women was a series of 4 Workshops (5) that took place in Uruguay. This activity addressed different topics, such as: why should we discuss gender in companies?; what is the role of men in gender equality?; what are the gender legislative frameworks?; and what are the best practices in Uruguay?; among others.

- The original post was published in the LACTLD Report No. 11

(1) http://chilewic.cl/ - Steering Committee: Valeria Herskovic (PUC), Claudia López (USM) y Bárbara Poblete (UChile).

(2) Association for Computing Machinery (ACM): an international learned society for computing. ACM brings together computing educators, researchers, and professionals. This organization has members worldwide and is recognized as the number one association for computing professionals. .

(3) WIDE - Women in the Digital Ecosystem - https://wideinitiative.org/

(4) UN Women - Win-Win: Gender Equality means Good Business Programme - Teresa Pérez del Castillo in charge in Uruguay http://lac.unwomen.org/es/que-hacemos/empoderamiento-economico/ganar-ganar

(5) Workshop Contents, available at: www.asuntospublicos.tv