For us, a feminist approach to technology is a gendered critique of the design, use and impact of technology, as well as empowering women to participate in its future. We believe that equal participation of women in producing and decision-making regarding technology is important to ensure that widely used technologies do not affect women adversely.
At FAT we see women’s relationship with technology in three different ways - women as users, creators/makers and decision-makers around technology. Accordingly, we work in 3 thematic areas:
Women as users – Technology, today, has become a basic necessity around the world. And still majority of women in India are denied access to basic technology like computers or phones. We believe that access to technology can not only provide equal growth for girls and women, but also act as a facilitator of increasing agency of women over their lives. It can encourage them to take an active leadership role within their community, which will further ensure greater gender equality in our society. To this end we work with women of diverse backgrounds to provide them with basic technological education from a feminist lens. Our primary focus within this theme is to work on developing leadership and agency of adolescent girls and young women from disadvantaged communities through innovative use of technology through our Young Women's Leadership Program. We also work with grassroots women’s rights activists to improve their usage of tech tools in their work.
Women as creators/makers – It is well known that there is alarmingly low participation of women in science and technology related fields. However, what is usually not noted is that women from economically and socially disadvantaged communities have almost no access to a career in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) fields. At FAT we believe that if we want to effectively close this gap in STEM fields we must invest in making STEM education and experimentation accessible for girls and young women from socio-economically disadvantaged sections. The focus of our Girls and STEM Program is to understand and counter the challenges that restrict girls from disadvantaged backgrounds from gettting STEM education and entering STEM fields.
Women as decision makers – Technology is a wide term, which includes everything from basic home appliances to satellites and nuclear weapons to genetically modified food. In today’s technology driven world, everything from basic necessities to the development and destruction of society is controlled by technology. There is a saying that those who control technology control the world. In this framework if women’s voices are absent within the various sectors of technology, we feel that true gender equality and emancipation of women will never be possible. Hence, an immediate consciousness on the importance of inclusion of women’s voices in decision making around science and technology, whether at home or outside, is mandatory to ensure that women are equal participants in the future of technology. This can be achieved only when a larger movement of including women’s opinions in technology is fostered through the cooperation of all stakeholders. Through our Advocacy Initiative, we aim to engender the conversation around women and technology in different forums, network with various organizations to increase the efforts to build this consciousness, and explore the various ways science & technology intersects with women’s rights.