Preparing for Bogotá

¡Saludos! Greetings!

This summer promises to be an exciting one. Thanks to the generous support of the Women and Public Policy Program’s Cultural Bridge Fellowship, the Kenneth I. Juster Fellowship for International and Global Affairs, and the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard, I’ll be spending the summer in Bogotá, Colombia, working to increase women and girls’ access to information and communication technology.

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My materials to prepare for the summer.

The Internet and mobile technology are perhaps today’s most powerful tools for economic empowerment, social inclusion and political advancement—yet in the developing world, nearly 25 percent fewer women have access to the Internet than men.

There’s very little data or analysis available about the gendered digital divide in Colombia, which is part of what I’ll be working to fix. I’ll be interning with the Colombian National Government’s Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MinTIC), which, since 2010, has worked to build digital infrastructure, provide affordable service and devices, develop useful applications and digital tools, and promote the use and adoption of information and communications technology among its most vulnerable citizens.

As a member of the ICT Adoption team, I will support programs that promote and encourage the adoption of online and mobile technologies among women. To prepare for the summer, I’ve been devouring studies about women, technology and development, researching leading organizations in this field, and coordinating with my summer colleagues in Bogotá.

Some of my favorite findings have been:

Social outsourcing of IT work to women’s social enterprises:
http://ideas.repec.org/a/wly/jintdv/v22y2010i4p441-454.html

The Telecentre Foundation’s Women’s Digital Literacy Campaign:
http://www.telecentre.org/women/

Intel’s Women and the Web Report:

http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/technology-in-education/women-in-the-web.html

I can’t wait to put knowledge into action and hit the ground running when I land in Bogotá on June 20. I’ll only have 8 weeks of interning at MinTIC, and I’m sure it will fly by. Stay tuned for more.

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My office in rural Nicaragua, 2011. While working there as a documentary filmmaker, I saw how Internet access and computer literacy dramatically improved economic outcomes for rural and urban populations.

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