It has been a really amazing week in the presence of inspiring women from all over the Arab world at the ATWomen gathering, held in Lebanon from 11 to 14th May. The event was organized by Arab techies and Smex in the lovely Youth center of the city of Jouneh – Lebanon.
ATWomen was organized basically to bring Arab women techies under the spotlight and give them a voice in a male dominated field. The gathering was an opportunity for women leaders from around the Arab World to meet and exchange ideas and expertise. The blending of the different cultures was quite interesting to observe but it only proved how diversity is the greatest catalyst of innovation.
The event was very "cozy" which made it even more enjoyable. Every day was a mixture of workshops, discussion panels and projects' presentations. And what was truly amazing was “the water cooler effect” that reined the coffee breaks. Ideas were floating everywhere and many collaboration possibilities were looming in the air.
Photo courtesy: smex.org
I have truly enjoyed every presentation and every workshop I was able to attend. On this first blog post of the series, I’ll try to present some of the ideas I took note of on the morning of the first day.
Discussion panel by Nadine Moawad about: Gender and ICT
I have once asked the question why is the blogosphere male dominated? And this panel was truly refreshing. Geeky female presence in the virtual realm leaves a lot to be desired and the problem is, as stated in a WSJ article, “… twofold. First, you have women's own self-limiting views of themselves… but equally problematic are the stereotypes, perceptions and expectations…” that believe women far from being good at anything Geeky.
Nadine presented a very interesting initiative called: take back the tech – Arabia, which aims inter alia to encourage, train, and support young women to use ICTs creatively, purposefully, and efficiently and incites them to geek up and venture into tech-related careers.
– Wiki Syria: presented by nada Albunni. Collaborating on wikis for a better translation and far more accurate information.
– R-shief.org: presented by Laila Shereen Sakr. A working environment that integrates existing open source software in order to archive 21st century knowledge production on the Middle East/ North Africa and its Diaspora.
– Mizaj: presented by Mira Loutfi a web platform for promoting young unsigned musicians
– Arab Digital expression summer camps: presented by Ranwa Yehia which is a summer camp program for Arab youth aged 12 to 15 encouraging the use of ICTs for digital expression and artistic creation.
Ok, I think I have been long enough; these were basically the ideas/projects that have been officially presented on the first morning. If you are interested to know more about the projects, or have an idea that could help these initiatives, please leave a comment or contact me on @lammiia.