An Agenda

I believe in the powerful link between women and technology, whether that technology is programming or “merely” literacy. I believe in the possibility and in the necessity of peace. And I believe in Security Council resolution 1325. I think that for a lot of women “peace” means “security”. And I hate flawed data.

Last night I attended a conference about said resolution, and I heard there that we need more information and data about women’s lives in situations of wars and conflicts. Some horrid examples were given with regarding to the special influences and impact of armed conflicts on the lives girls and women. I know from first hand experience what it’s like living in a certain neighborhood in Jerusalem where being an Israeli woman gives Arab-Israelis and Palestinians a green light to harass and threaten you. I also know that in this case, I pulled a long straw in the cruel lottery of women’s lives in armed conflict.

But I also know that linking women with technology, as we do in Hollaback Israel – technology that we already got and know how to use, such as phone camera – is both powerful and needed in order to bring change.

And I have an idea.

I suggest Ushahidi-based reporting systems – not necessarily in every detail, but in similar spirit. Similar to the idea of Hollaback: so that all women and girls, everywhere, can and will have the means to report the special aspects of their lives under armed conflicts. I don’t mind if it’s drawing your testimony with stick on the ground, telling it to a literate friend, using your iPod or program an application – women’s voices need to be heard in order to achieve peace, as resolution 1325 teaches us, and as I know from personal experience. In Hollaback, we see a difference on at least three aspects: first, the personal comfort of telling someone what happened. When you’re being considered as crazy for not excepting harassment, or “imagining” it, it’s an empowering comfort. Second, when we got multiple reports on what sounds as the same person/s with the same MO/in the same place, we report it to the police. And third, and most importantly – by collecting evidences we expose this knowledge, and can convince others that there are specific problems that should be addressed. Of course, said Ushahidi systems would have to be carefully planned and tailored on the local level, to get maximum information and providing maximum safety for the reporting girls and women.

I know the significance of reliable, good information. I think that this specific information should come straight from the ladies, as directly as possible.  And at Hollaback, we know how to get a lot of reliable information from women, using technology.

I want to know three things: 1) where am I wrong? Right?, and 2) Are there others who think this can and should be done?, and most importantly, 3) do the people behind 1325 implementation think they need this sort of information? Do they want it? If the answer is positive, not only I’m willing to start working on this idea immediately, but I also volunteer to run the Israeli branch of this project.

If you have a say on the implementation of 1325 and find this idea even remotely applicable/interesting, leave a comment/get in touch. Our lives are on the line, and I’m done being silent. Feel free to pass it around for the attention of other relevant people.

-S.


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