Proudly presenting: Women Rock IT 2015!

Ladies and gents and everyone else! Second generation of fabulous girls and women of our Women Rock IT is here!

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Our second “Women Rock IT” training on digital security, privacy, information communication technology and violence against women with subname “You, me, us, security and feminism” with girls and women from Bosnia and Herzegovina, was held in Sarajevo from 5.12.2015 to 7.12.2015. Women Rock IT  included 17 participants from across BiH- a diverse group of young women interested in gender social justice, feminism, privacy and digital security. The trainers were Alexandra Hache (TacticalTech), Valentina hvale Pellizer (One World Platform), and Gillo Cutrupi (who was there as a trainer within Digital Integrity Fellowship by HIVOS).

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The motivation for the organization of this training was mainly the surging trend of cyber bullying and online harassment, used in many ways to discriminate, marginalize and ultimately remove women and girls from online spaces. Be it the gaming world, or political campaigns run by female politicians, all-out attacks, and practices employed in solidifying the unbalanced power relations between men and women remain present, and unaddressed by the BiH authorities. Therefore, the intention was to integrate the learning of the tools with the thinking and planning of coordinated responses to such attacks. Digital security training proved to be one of the most successful and efficient activities, as well as great eye-openers for women and girls in terms of their own security and how they should use technology and Internet accordingly in their daily lives, professionally and personally.

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The first day started off with discussing the House Rules, and Shared Agreements, followed by participants getting to know each other better through ”speedgeeking” exercises. The next phase of the first session was Agenda Hacking where participants expressed the topics of interest, including- Tools and Apps, Problem-Challenge Issues, Devices, and Social media or means of communications. The second session focused on the experiences of the participants with ICTs, specifically their first contacts and initial use of the Internet and Social Media. Trainers used some creative methodology, such as the Spectogram, which featured a creative exercise/discussion by which the participants were called to discuss topics and issues that they previously expressed as most concerning. The last segment was the ”Barbie session” – understanding how tech, gender and spaces in between function,  – from Barbie computer engineer to Barbie Hello. The day concluded with the fourth session which was the Hall of Fame: a celebration of the contribution of women to tech and other important areas for all of us.

The second day we started off with discussion on Feminist Principles of Internet, and continued with a hands-on day. Morning session included discussions on How the Internet Works, followed by a lecture on TOR and circumvention. In the afternoon, there were sessions on digital hygiene, anti viruses, backups and passwords. The third session included a Tech Bazaar, where participants were trained on File Encryption, E-mail Encryption, Chat Encryption, and on Mobile Encryption.

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The third day focused on social media, the introduction to the history of social networks and social media – going through basic notions of social networking platforms, terms of services, and understanding your digital traces and digital shadows. Doxing excercises were carried out later on, as well as exercises in privacy and anonymity on different platforms of social media – Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and Tumblr.

Third day was completed with discussion on our research done with APC, where we introduced girls with internal policies of social media giants, and then talked about real cases of online harassment of girls and women in local context.

The participants made a very heterogeneous group. A lot of diversity complimented to a rich atmosphere with different standpoints and worldviews expressed throughout. Despite the diversity, a lot of bonding took place, for the girls realized that they felt pretty alone in relation to their interest in technology and gender-related topics. This connection of shared interests and a mutual feeling led them to make friends among the group and stay in touch. We can say that the overall feedback expressed a sense of empowerment by the training, as well as greater understanding on the connection between feminism, gender, privacy, digital security and tech related violence.

Check out our photo stream here!

                                                                                          See you in #WomenRockIT2016! IMG_5135

This brief reflection was done with help by Alex Heche and Adnan Oruč. Thank you!

Thank you APC, HIVOS and Tactical Tech for turning big dreams into a reality.

Belma Kučukalić

Virtual nomad and storyteller. Passionate lover of social media and potential that it provides. Interested in education on ICT sector, its intersection with women’s rights, believer in visual power of transmitting the message. Loud activist when it comes to all forms of cyberbullying.

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