Technology for development

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ne of the main goals for developed countries is increased the number of companies and users in the network economy. Perhaps, some countries would not confront issues provoked by the digital divide but it is impossible to deny that this characteristic differs in every nation and it is common observe the negative effects on different groups as poor, elder people or women. Beyond the efforts from governments and many international and local organisations; we could not ignore the fact that the main issue is related to the education system, which had not defined the best process in its quest to increase the number of female students interested in maths, science and technology. Perhaps, we are living in a world where rules have been defined by masculine understanding of things since the beginning of our civilization,which endured the gender bias in tech field as it does in many others, from political domain until science research.

If we are trying to develop a world without inequality, we could not ignore the importance for establishing an economy composed by diverse talent. Especially now, that United Nations has determined, as one of its goals for the future decades, finishing with the disparities between both sexes. About these issues, every measure would be defined by the purpose of ending the gap between women and men in distribution of richness in develop and developing countries should be a priority for governments, NGO´s and corporations. If we analyse any possibility, it is common to deduct that education is the only way to change women’s conditions. And this goes beyond basic political measures to control birth, which nowadays received more attention as a way to limit the risks of suffering from the lack of resources for next generations.

Why am I so concerned about education? Because I grow up listening some people in education system expressing: “You are poor and that is the way you should accept to live, you should not expect more or try something outside these limits”. Although, at the same time, I have known women who will not let what society said define who or what they should be, and that was a bless. Now, I witness the same response in education system to every girl around the world when I search for methods to increase the interest of girls for science: “Gals and women are not interested in studying science, maths or tech careers and there is no way to change it”, those words just let me discover once and again how our blindness to transform this reality, let us live as supporters of inequality. It is impossible to deny the differences in cognitive process for men and women but we use that as mere excuse to perpetuate the same unfair conditions for female students and workers in any field. As anyone could define my expressions as the same old story women had expressed in media since the 70’s. However, this discussion has empowered some groups to change the gender gap but it replicate the same type of phenomenon, the subject ends as a gender issue leaving men out of the commitment to change this reality. How could we ignore this state, which stops the deepest change of our societies?

Women in science

My support for increasing and promoting this path for young women would probably influenced by the idea that technology could reduce and change this gap, in that way is possible to keep the best of the information technological paradigm, as its first characteristic expressed: “these are technologies to act on information”. Furthermore, if the paradigm propose flexibility as a value will let modified some patrons, why are we going to ignore the possibilities to use them to end gender bias in our society? Especially, when this type of change is necessary not to destroy our social system, against all fears about women empowerment that any male would stand, the truth is the best possible scenario would be the creation of a stronger society because every individual would be better prepared to be part of the economy.

Then, we could understand the importance of women vision in the analysis of what society would and should consume or even create. For example, a few weeks ago, media replicated the words from the well recognised physics scientist Stephen Hawking about the creation of artificial intelligence and the possible menace for human beings’ survival. Under my humble criteria I think that this would be only possible if the method and the epistemology of this type of research is developed under the political philosophy of war, which has been behind incredible discoveries, and we could not deny that it has been the main purpose for innovation since the second war world. However, in the case of ARPANET or Internet we witnessed how the state would change the history. However, the increase of innovation comes through the ideas of citizens, who develop different ideas to change the way of communicating, learning, trading and being part of communities.

Perhaps, it is time to enhance the mechanisms to support the participation of girls and women in this information technological paradigm and discover what would be their influence in our societies.

December 29, 2014 ·Rossana Naveda

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