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Q&A: How can civi-tech advance gender equality?

Devex

Created 03/16/2021

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Civic tech is an emerging field that tackles local challenges by bringing together tech practitioners, policymakers, activists, and local organizations to design projects that enhance citizen participation. While driven by democratic ideals, it nonetheless risks falling into the same pitfalls as other design and tech fields, where men hold the majority of jobs. Without inclusivity, there is a danger in trying to create solutions that do not truly meet the needs of the populations they are meant to serve.

The National Democratic Institute is working with civic tech organizations to change the face of politics and advance gender equality in democracy. Code for All is just one of the partner organizations NDI works with to promote inclusivity in the civic tech space.

Sofía Corona is community-of-practice coordinator at Code for All, an international network of civic tech organizations working to advance democracy. “It’s really hard for women, especially if you don’t have that [tech] background, to recognize yourself as a user and as part of the tech ecosystem,” she said.

Devex spoke with Corona about Code for All’s efforts to diversify the civic tech space and the role women can play in opening up the field to other marginalized groups.

This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

What is civic tech, and why do you think it is important for women specifically?

Changing the Face of Politics

Listen to NDI’s podcast episode in which Christiana Figueres, former executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and co-founder of Global Optimism, discusses her work on combating climate change.

Civic tech is a very new concept that still doesn’t have a clear definition. When we’re talking about civic tech, we’re talking about tech that is used to give people a space so they can participate in decision-making processes, give their input, and have a stronger and a closer connection with their government. We’re also talking about tech that is used to inform the public about what’s happening in their cities, in their governments, and in the environment they live in.

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