Public libraries as learning spaces to promote data literacy for civic participation among women

Session Description

The ongoing data revolution has created opportunities for organizations and communities to produce and use data more effectively to better inform policy making and more meaningfully engage in civic action and dialogue. Despite this transformation, many groups continue to significantly lack opportunities to participate in the production, analysis, and use of data to change their communities, a situation that particularly affects women. Exacerbated by social norms, political considerations, and limited data literacy learning opportunities, women remain pervasively underrepresented in all aspects of data development, use, and its applications in decision-making processes. This situation significantly constrains women’s civic participation and their role in informing policy-making, resource allocation, and overall assessment of communities’ wellbeing.

 

To reverse this trend, it is critical that we strengthen non-formal educational environments and explore alternative learning opportunities that provide women the data literacy skills necessary to participate more meaningfully in community development and policy-making. This interactive session, led by the Sula Batsu Cooperative in Costa Rica and the Technology & Social Change Group at the University of Washington’s Information School, will explore ways in which public libraries can support the building of data-related skills for women to facilitate their civic participation.

 

By using a design thinking approach, participants will interactively learn from Sula Batsu’s TIC@s program - an initiative founded on feminist, equity, and social justice principles that focuses on the development of women’s technological skills - and use their own experiences to think critically about ways public libraries in different contexts and resource levels can create data-related trainings and opportunities for women to participate more meaningfully in civic dialogue and action. Participants will gain a better understanding and new ideas for questions such as:

  • How can public libraries create different social learning opportunities for women to improve their data literacy and its application for civic participation?
  • What are the characteristics of learning spaces and training programs that successfully advance both digital gender equity and civic participation in different social contexts?
  • Can data literacy offer women of different backgrounds and ways of knowing unique opportunities to more meaningfully participate in community development and give them agency through knowledge?
  • What are the social and political considerations behind how women participate in the development and use of data to change their communities

Presenters

Kemly Camacho
Director, Sula Batsu Cooperative.Costa Rica

Kemly is a researcher and lecturer at the University of Costa Rica and General Manager and Co-Founder of the Cooperativa Autogestionaria Sulá Batsú. She specializes in the areas of information and communications technology for development and gender and technology. Kemly has over twenty years of experience working on research, evaluation, and program design in areas around digital literacy, women and technology, and the role of digital technologies in promoting social, political and economic development. Currently, she leads the TIC@as program, an initiative in Central America that aims to increase the participation of girls and women in technology design and development with a specific focus on women living in marginalized and rural areas.

 

Maria Garrido
Principal Research Scientist, Technology & Social Change Group (TASCHA), University of Washington Information School. United States

Maria is a Principal Research Scientist at the Technology & Social Change Group of the University of Washington’s Information School. Experienced in conducting multi-country studies, much of her research focuses on the appropriation of digital technologies to catalyze social change, specifically in communities facing social, political, and economic challenges. Maria has worked closely with civil society and community organizations, public libraries, and funders to conduct participatory research that results in actionable recommendations for policy and practice. Recent examples of her research include the role of MOOCs in advancing youth employability in Colombia, the Philippines, and South Africa; and employability of migrant women and e-skills in the European Union. She is currently leading a multi-year research effort focusing on the role of meaningful access to information in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). She holds a Ph.D. in Communications from the University of Washington and a Masters in International Relations from the University of Chicago.

 

 

Chris Rothschild
Senior Research Scientist, Technology & Social Change Group (TASCHA), University of Washington Information School. United States

Chris Rothschild is a Senior Research Scientist at the TASCHA. His work focuses on community information systems and the social and economic impacts of information access to users and non-users of ICTs. Chris has used qualitative and quantitative research methods to conduct research in over 20 countries, with current work that includes the data for decision-making in Myanmar and the impact of libraries on Namibian communities. In addition to his research on information systems, Chris teaches study abroad courses in Tahiti and Ghana on traditional knowledge systems, oral traditions, and research methods. Chris holds a Master of Public Administration and a Masters of Arts in International Studies, both from the University of Washington.

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