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Blog Posts by Carla Briceno

Women's Access to and Use of ICT in Latin America

January 31, 2013 - 10:01 AM

WISENET (Women in ICTs Shared Excellence Network) is the International Bureau’s convening platform that aims to leverage the experience, resources and connections of the international Information and Communications Technology (ICT) community to better the situation of women, their communities and their countries. As part of this work, the FCC has invited prominent women and men in technology from around the world to post blogs sharing their experiences.

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Several years ago, as a Peace Corps volunteer, I worked with women in rural Guatemala and had the opportunity to witness, first-hand, the challenges that Latin American women and young girls face every day – gender discrimination, limited access to education, and lack of health care, just to name a few. My experience with those women continues to motivate me and my team at Bixal to seek out opportunities that use information and communications technology (ICT) to address gender disparity

Gender inequality in Latin America does limit women's access to ICT. But for years, researchers have been unable to provide definitive metrics on the issue.  Instead, routine theories have persisted on the topic, such as that "women face barriers that include lack of access and training, and are confronted with software and hardware applications that do not reflect their female needs." Relying on anecdotal evidence, some studies have even concluded that women in Latin America are less likely than men to use digital technologies because they are "technophobic" and/or less tech-savvy than men.

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From Developing the World to Developing the Web, and Back Around Again

by Carla Briceno, Co-Founder of Bixal
August 6, 2012 - 08:34 PM

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My career in international development began almost by accident when I heard my undergrad sociology professor talk about the Peace Corps. I had just returned from my first visit to Latin America and was strongly impacted by the poverty and difficult living conditions. I was hell bent on joining the Peace Corps and returning to the region, which I ended up doing in 1989 when I moved to rural Guatemala to serve as a health nutrition extensionist.  

In 2000, after five years of supporting international development programs in the region and at the peak of the first dot com wave, I made a career transition into the world of web development. I thought I wanted to become a hardcore programmer, so I dug in and studied everything from HTML to the fundamentals of object-oriented programming. I ended up working with two different Fortune 500 companies where I put these skills to use, but I soon realized that I was a bit too extroverted to sit in a cubicle and program eight hours a day.

I decided to pursue opportunities that allowed me to take advantage of my project management skills and ended up at Sprint Nextel, working on their Hispanic web presence, where I was able to combine my Spanish language skills, project management experience and my web skills and learn a great deal about culturally-relevant communications and how Latinos in the U.S. and Latin Americans are using digital technologies. 

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