The Code To Change 2016 Amsterdam; We Rocked!

C2C 2016 conference Team announcmentsThe Code To Change 2016 (kickoff for the mentoring program) was back with a bang this November! The speaker line-up fr the second edition was even more amazing than last year! Over 20 Tech leaders and emerging leaders from across the industry shared their stories and journey into the IT sector. The topics included security, big data, high performance computing, design, sharing economy, art and tech, Artificial Intelligence, social media, digital marketing.

The talks inspired our participants (and graduates Code Newbies from the Code To Change bootcamp) to pursue their dreams and learn new digital skills in order to join the technology sector.

Please take a look at the Conference description here.

For conference programme details, see here.

To catch a glimpse of the excitement at the kickoff, take a look at our short video of The Code To Change bootcamp

Watch highlights from the Code To Change conference 2016 here!

Digital Inclusion of Women for Gender Equality at WSIS 2015, Geneva, Swtizerland

I am WSIS 2015 Panel-smallhappy to share that we presented the results of our ‘Work To Equality‘ campaign at the World Summit on the Information Society- WSIS 2015 in May in Geneva, Switzerland.

The session looked at different experiences of organizations that are working for gender equality, both internally and externally in their organizations. With these different visions and programs, we will have a better insight about what can be done to achieve #WorktoEquality. This workshop generated a debate to raise awareness and to collect possible suggestions and solutions for addressing the issue.

The panelists included Mine Ogura, head of Work To Equality campaign, Monique Morrow-Cisco, Cheryl Miller-Verizon, Catherine Mesot-Catalyst. Remote panelists included Rifat Arif- Young Digital Leaders, Hanna Luden- consultant and Miriam Tocino- Amsterdam Women in Technology and I had the honour to chair the workshop.

Details of the workshop can be seen here and recording can be viewed here.

ChunriChoupaal WSIS logo

Bringing digital empowerment of women to the Internet Governance Forum 2014, Istanbul, Turkey

Iffat Gill at IGF 2014

At IGF 2014, Istanbul Turkey

I had the pleasure to share my story of digital empowerment at the UN’s Internet Governance Forum 2014. The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) took place in Istanbul, Turkey from 2 to 5 September. This UN-initiated body is a multi-stakeholder, non-decision making forum of global importance for forward-looking discussions on Internet issues.

I had the opportunity to present my women empowerment initiative ChunriChoupaal at the flash session. This session was chaired by Leana Mayzlina of World Pulse. I highlighted the issues faced by girls and women to access trainings related to the use of modern information and communication technology and how my women-only center was sensitizing women and girls and exposing them to new horizons of social and economic empowerment.

 

 

Interventions for Digital Inclusion of Women at WSIS+10 High Level Event, Geneva Switzerland

World Summit on the Information Society WSIS+10 High Level Event, June 9th 2014, Geneva, Switzerland I am happy to share that I presented the perspective of grassroots level women leaders from World Pulse community of 60,000, at WSIS+10 High Level Event this month. The interventions emphasised on the need for inclusion of more women in the global information society to accelerate their social and economic situation, especially in the developing countries. This current ‘gender’ digital divide calls for more advocacy efforts to enable women’s access to technology, capacity building opportunities and hence, inclusion in global work force. The success of the interventions can be seen via the following statement which was included in the outcome document following our recommendations to the event: Continue reading

Female Digital Literacy in Europe- How different is it from other parts of the world?

Screen Shot from Cybersoek.nl websiteA few years ago, I moved to Amsterdam. Amsterdam is home to a hundred and seventy eight nationalities; the ethnic makeup of Amsterdam being 49.5% of Dutch ancestry and 50.5% of foreign origin. I am originally an activist specialized in women and youth empowerment projects. Due to my background in projects to improve female digital literacy in Pakistan, I mostly thought of the lack of resources and opportunities in the developing world. It was after I moved to Europe, that I got the opportunity to observe the digital literacy situation in a cosmopolitan city like Amsterdam.

I started working with women groups, networks and organisations in Amsterdam, working with different nationalities, ethnicities and backgrounds. During my interaction with these groups, I discovered that digital empowerment, especially for women, was needed here too!

Digital illiteracy has two levels; Continue reading

Women Empowerment through Digital Media in Pakistan

During one of  my visits to Pakistan, while on a visit to remote areas in the Thal desert of Pakistan, my life took a very interesting turn.

I was documenting the demonstration of student nurses and taking photographs of the chador-clad women sitting in the middle of the road, a rare sight in a remote city like Layyah. Some days later, a few young ladies came to visit me. One of them was Rashda, a fresh graduate from the local college. She had been interviewed for a job at a local relief organisation. The organisation needed female staff for helping out with their female beneficiaries. The only problem was that they needed someone with computer and internet skills. Rashda asked me if I could teach her how to use the computer for data entry in a day. Continue reading

Malina Suliman makes graffiti on walls of Kandahar

Malina Suliman

Malina Suliman (Source:http://maloaa3.com/)

Malina Suliman makes graffiti on the walls of Southern Kandahar (Afghanistan), a country which is considered to be the most dangerous place for women.

According to an article posted on Green Prophet, this brave female artist “finds inspiration in Southern Kandahar, birthplace of the Taliban and one of the most dangerous places in the world. She aims to change the cultural environment through sculpture and painting that depicts the challenges of her war-weary generation.” Continue reading

Veero Kohli:From a Slave to a contestant in national elections,one woman’s journey

Veero Kohli-Former slave turns politician

Veero Kohli, is the first contestant in General elections in Pakistan to have escaped the thrall of a feudal-style land owner who forced his workers to work in conditions akin to modern-day slavery. In a rural area of Sindh Veero escaped from her captors in the middle of the night and had to walk a long way barefoot, to seek help. After a long ordeal, she finally succeeded in ensuring her own freedom and 39 other labourers including her family. She took the terrifying risk to ensure the safety of her daughters. She feared that the landlord would sexually abuse her daughter.

Her courage and bravery won her the Fredrick Douglas Freedom Award. Continue reading

Update on Domestic Violence Bill 2009

As Pakistan is moving towards being an economically sound country, the situation for the 52 percent of the country’s population which compromises of women is not catching up with the speed. One of the recent improvement efforts is the introduction of Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Bill 2009, the first legislative step of its kind in the history of the country, which covers effective legal measures, civil remedies and compensatory provisions for the aggrieved persons. Continue reading

Will domestic violence legislation protect Pakistani women?

Seventeen-year-old Mafia’s brother brutally chopped off her head, ears and nose in the name of ‘honour.’ According to the local newspaper, Mafia had allegedly eloped with the man she loved. The family hunted the couple down and brought them back.  It was decided that the two would be married off but in the meantime her brother indulged in the cold-blooded act. Continue reading

ICTs and the case of young Pakistani women

A close friend, 19 year old Nazira, wore her best dress one evening. She came to show me her outfit before she went out to see someone ‘special’. Three hours later, she returned devastated; she could hardly speak. She wore a ‘burqa’ on top of what was left of her dress. Her rosy cheeks looked pale and eyes were sore. She was gang raped by the person she went to see and his friends. A male member from her family had seen her in that condition. Continue reading

Women stemming the tide of intolerance

In Pakistan, 2011 started with a shock. On the 4th of January Punjab Governor Salman Taseer was killed. Shot at close range by his own guard. It shook every intellectual who had a keen interest in the proceedings of the socio-political landscape of Pakistan and it was a particular blow to the relatively liberal mindset of the country. Taseer was allegedly killed due to his opposition of the country’s blasphemy laws and his visit to Pakistan’s first women convict to be given a death sentence. Continue reading

Pakistan’s Seeping Culture of Intolerance

Today Pakistan has buried another leader. Yet another extra-judiciary killing of a political leader has taken place. This time, the target was the Governer of Punjab Salman Taseer. The news came as a shock that the governor was shot by his own security guard when he was on a visit Islamabad. The guard shot from a close range and surrendered himself after the carnage. The incident is thought to plunge the country in a deeper political crisis as the coalition government becomes weaker. A member of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, the governor was allegedly shot due to his views on the country’s controversial blasphemy laws. Continue reading