For five days in June 2016, Tactical Tech conducted its second Gender and Tech Institute (GTI) just outside Quito, Ecuador, with fifty-eight women and trans persons: women's rights advocates, feminists, techies and activists. The focus was on technology, digital security and 'data politics' from a gender perspective, and involved trainings, hands-on skill shares, and discussion.
Why a Gender and Tech Institute in Latin America?
In Latin America, as in many other regions of the world, women working as activists are harassed and threatened online. Their need to rely on the use of internet and social media for their activism puts them at risk of surveillance, harassment, censoring and stalking - by both state and non-state actors.
This GTI built on the curricula that was developed for the original GTI, held in 2014, adapting it to some of the specific risks and needs of women and trans activists located in Latin America.
The 2016 GTI received 210 applications in two weeks. We selected 46 participants from Ecuador, Colombia, Perú, México, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Brasil, Chile, Venezuela, Argentina, Santo Domingo and Honduras. Supporting this group were a team of 12 facilitators from Latin American countries, and organizations such as Consorcio Oaxaca, EnRedas, and Mujeres al Borde.
What we did: six tracks over five days
Participants could choose one of six tracks to attend over the course of the five day event:
- digital security
- politics of data
- gender and tech
- holistic security
- training skills
- self care.
Within these tracks, individual sessions included:
- Imagining a feminist internet
- Digital security basics
- “Pimp your browser”
- About Metadata
- Understand alternatives (to commercial software)
- Malware and server attacks
- Politicizing Facebook
- Creative uses of social media (for campaigns and advocacy),
- Mobile security
- Planning training activities in unknown environments
- Create safe spaces for learning about tech
- Documenting and reporting violence
- Developing self-care
After-hours: hacker space, film nights, performances
In the evenings participants flocked to the self-organized feminist hacker space that became the go-to place for skill shares and 'install-parties' in a relaxed atmosphere. Participants could also watch documentary film screenings and performance.
Radio Berta Cacèeres
At the start of the week the participants created the Radio Berta Cacèeres, in memory of the murdered Honduran activist, with its first live show airing on the first day. The show ran interviews with the facilitators asking them about their experiences and motivation in becoming digital security and privacy trainers. Podcasts and recordings from Radio Berta Caceres will soon be available online.
Future plans and collaborations
In the final afternoon of the GTI, participants met to discuss possible actions and synergies that could be established thematically and regionally after the GTI. Those include continuing with documentation, joining the GTI list established after the previous GTI in December 2014 in Germany, and working together as a network of support and solidarity and within their local communities.
More significantly, participants came up with ideas for new projects, workshops and hackathons; we're looking for ways to support these going forward.
We would like to thank our collaborators, facilitators and to everyone who travelled to join the event; we're excited to see new partnerships emerge. Thanks also to everyone who applied - the selection process involved some tough decisions. We are, however, currently working on supporting and developing similar, more regional events in other countries, so there will hopefully be more opportunities to collaborate in future!