The Internet Is of Vital Importance to Gender Equality
Greater female participation will help companies working in the digital world achieve better results. This is the opinion of Adriana Ibarra, a lawyer specializing in intellectual property and electronic media who has been involved in LACNIC’s activities for more than 15 years.
Member of LACNIC’s Fiscal Commission since 2003, Ibarra advocated to prove the value of women’s participation in society and especially in the Information Technology sector.
In an interview with LACNIC News, Ibarra said that achieving gender equality “requires getting rid of stereotypes and identifying procedures that limit opportunities and discourage women; above all, it requires providing opportunities, training and information to build leadership”.
In the case of LACNIC, she encouraged other women to join her as, in her opinion, increased participation of the female community will contribute with different points of view, solutions or alternatives that will help achieve the goals of the Internet Address Registry for Latin America and the Caribbean.
How do you see the role of Latin American women in the digital world?
Today we are seeing large numbers of women studying, participating and presenting valuable ICT-related initiatives. However, the reality is that we are still far from equal participation in the digital world.
Latin American women are fighting to have access to opportunities, to prove that their contributions are valuable, and to reach positions of responsibility and leadership.
Why do you think that women’s participation in the ICT sector is much lower than that of men?
This is not due to a lack of knowledge or skills, but to a lack of opportunities. ICTs have traditionally been a male environment. Women are working not only to prove that their contributions are valuable, but also to change existing stereotypes.
Highly qualified women are interested in increasing their presence, participation and access to positions of responsibility as well as public visibility. We are all responsible for providing information, training, access and support so that women will be able to take advantage of available opportunities and creating opportunities that will be available to all.
Greater female participation is a matter of inclusion and empowerment that concerns the entire ICT sector.
How can we promote greater female engagement in the Information Society?
By providing access, information, training and opportunities for women. Also, by supporting and developing spaces that allow women to contribute their talents on an equal footing.
Among other actions, in the case of ICTs we must generate high-level discussions with leaders and persons in positions of responsibility, create mentoring programs, foster networking opportunities, provide information on existing scholarships, develop training programs focused on women’s needs, and support innovative initiatives and proposals.
Gender equality requires getting rid of stereotypes and identifying procedures that limit opportunities and discourage women, but, above all, it requires providing opportunities, training and information to build leadership”.
What can the digital world do for equality?
The digital world is of vital importance to gender equality, as it allows providing access, information, training and the opportunities needed to overcome stereotypes, support leadership, and offer the tools needed to prove the value of female participation in society in general and ICTs in particular.
Now, the challenge is to show interest by developing comprehensive projects using available technology to help achieve gender equality.
How long have you been involved with LACNIC?
I started participating in 2001, providing legal advice to one of LACNIC’s members. I have been part of LACNIC’s Fiscal Commission since 2003.
What has been your role during this time?
I am one of the three members of the Fiscal Commission. This Commission is LACNIC’s control organ and it is charged which supervising that accounting and administrative standards are met and overseeing compliance with LACNIC’s legal and statutory framework. I am a lawyer specializing in Information Technology and Intellectual Property, so my profession has allowed me to make valuable contributions to the work of the Commission.
The position requires that we travel to LACNIC’s offices in Montevideo, Uruguay to meet with the organization’s treasurer, CEO, and CFO. We also meet with the external auditors and have the necessary documentation available for review. Members of the Fiscal Commission are also required to attend the organization’s annual meeting for follow up with the Board and to present the financial report before the Member Assembly. They each serve a three-year term and are annually renewed on a rotating basis. Their duties and responsibilities are described in Article 27 of the LACNIC Bylaws (http://www.lacnic.net/web/lacnic/estatuto-capitulo-5).
What can you tell us about your experience on the Fiscal Commission? Why would recommend running for this position?
It is a very satisfying experience, both at a professional and a personal level, as it gives me he chance to represent women in ICT. I am the only woman elected by the Member Assembly to serve on LACNIC’s various bodies (Board of Directors or Commissions). My participation in the Fiscal Commission has allowed me to contribute my grain of sand to Internet development in Latin America and the Caribbean and encourage greater participation of women in ICT.
Transparency in compliance with LACNIC’s accounting and administrative standards is vital for regional Internet development and to support training programs and sponsorships for the organization’s members. Being part of the Commission offers the opportunity to be part of this effort, while at the same time growing as a professional and having access to dialogue with leaders of the ICT sector.
In your opinion, why is greater participation of the female community in the daily work of LACNIC important?
Gender diversity has been proven to help companies improve their results. LACNIC is no exception.
Greater participation of the female community –not only in LACNIC’s everyday activities but also in leadership positions such as the Commissions or the Board– would contribute different points of view, solutions and alternatives that would help LACNIC achieve its objectives. It would also help identify needs and develop work plans to increase participation of the female community and achieve gender equality in the ICT sector.