The VSA at the Annual Women in ICT Conference

Anna Wertlen was invited to give a talk at the 2nd Annual Women in ICT Conference at the Southern Sun Montecasino Hotel in Johannesburg (24/3/12). Her talk was about “Community-driven ICT Enabled Development: Making the ICT services accessible to the communities and to develop awareness of these resources.” Other speakers were Meryl Malcommess (Marketing Director, SYSPRO South Africa), Robynne Erwin (CEO of SmartXchange) and Teryl Schroenn (CEO of Accsys).

The main points of Anna Wertlen’s talk were:

  • In an online social network, everyone is equal, because everyone has exactly the same space, rights and opportunities. Gender makes no difference to a computer unless you ask the computer to do so.
  • Equality is the basis for development. You cannot force a group to become more active by giving them superior rights. But equality means that everyone has the same right to come up with a new idea or with a special need.
  • To be able to define a special need or come up with an idea you have to be well educated: First, one needs to learn about the existence of choice, then get a real sense of choice, then comes the most challenging part of actually using choices and then only the achievement of choices become visible (Kleine 2010).
  • Development is increasing (peoples’) choice. Others also call it empowerment.

The Conference opened eyes of a very interesting and multicultural group of women, and everyone was of the opinion that there should me more such conferences.

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