Who We Are
The Women's Peer-to-Peer Network is a platform and global community of girl-geeks, professional and grassroots women to create technology for the 700 million women who are off the communications grid in developing nations, and experiencing the “technology gender gap”. Women without access to technology and connectivity are more vulnerable to gender-based violence and trafficking, economic poverty, exclusion from politics and elections, and being left unaccounted for during natural disasters and crisis situations.
The Women’s Peer-to-Peer Network builds on what women already have and do, uniting women-friendly technology applications with local women’s networks (such as market women), and on-the-ground partner organizations. We work with local programs and infrastructure, such as community radio and voice-to-text interfaces, to resolve the issues accentuated by illiteracy, access, and safety/privacy concerns for women in the developing world.
Our programs are designed by women for women, in partnership with the users themselves.
Today, technology use presumes literacy, access to hardware, and cultural freedom – in a world where access is actually not universal:
- Global Internet user penetration is only 34% - most of the world has no access to the web
- Over 33% of the world’s women cannot read, and only 37% of poor women have ever sent a text - literacy is an assumed precursor to technology use
- Traditional belief systems and societal norms create barriers to women’s travel, interaction and technological empowerment in many countries
The traditional top down, one-size-fits-all approach has created unusable technology “solutions” for women around the world. Women are rarely represented in the technology development for the products/services they’re expected to use: Less than 5% of Open Source developers are women, and women are vastly underrepresented in technical fields. Global attrition rates for women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math are well over 50%.
How We Work
We unite women-friendly technology applications with local women’s networks (such as market women), and on-the-ground partner organizations.
The Women’s P2P Network works with:
- Cross-border hackathons
- Global mentoring and sister communities
- Partnerships with local organizations
- Online community and Global Meetups for cross-border collaboration and conversation
- Education/Influencing in the Public Forum, changing the standard for technology programs
- Field prototyping, with a user-centric view, encouraging real usability for women
We also provide online training in Open Source tools to help technical women at all levels participate, and we are developing a toolkit and online community to enable local chapter formation and collaboration.
Our first deployment is in Haiti, where we are partnering with women engineering students at the State University of Haiti to connect 55,000 market women, who are members of our partner organization, Fonkoze. Read More
The Women’s P2P Network is beginning a program in Kenya to increase women’s participation in the upcoming Presidential election, and we have projects planned for India, The Sudan, and in the Middle East.
Watch our TED talk about our project in Haiti and visit our Facebook page for updates.
*The Women's Peer to Peer Network is 501c3 sponsored by nonprofit organization Empowerment WORKS, Inc (EIN 31-1796801). Contributions are tax-deductible as allowed by law.