Bytes for All, Pakistan have dedicated its efforts to invest in equality by strengthening women's strategic use of information and communications technologies (ICTs) to combat violence against women and girls. Its efforts are focused to empower women working for social justice, human rights, and development through the strategic use of ICTs. Globally acclaimed Take Back The Tech is a flagship of Bytes for All in Pakistan, which is a vibrant campaign in the country and now spreading beyond the borders towards Afghanistan too.
Violence against women is rife in Pakistan, in rural and urban settings within all classes, castes and religious groups. However governmental stakeholders and the women’s movement have both tended to focus more on violence justified by Islam and customary practices, ignoring more common systems of violence. With quite a few women using digital communication tools and Internet for their social wellbeing, there is evidence of massive violence they have to face while being online. Sexual harassment and blackmailing are few worst examples of such violence.
While there are some very good policy instruments available but with very little awareness among masses. Bytes for All wish to bridge this information gap by using social media tools, public campaigns, engagement with youth at the universities and policy engagement with the decision makers.
For the purpose, Bytes for All have invested in several digital tools and practices including Digital Story Telling, where victims are gathered at one place to take them through a healing process, where they share their stories and experiences on how to challenge the violence faced by them.
In addition, Bytes for All strongly believe in the digital security of young women and girls, who use Internet and digital communication for their empowerment and social well being. B4A’s team travels throughout the country to deliver capacity building programme in different universities and also work with individual victims.
Access to mobile technology is increasing rapidly in Pakistan, and women are also gaining access, albeit at a slower rate than men. Mobile technology is the most ripe for use in strategies of empowerment, as long as access to technology is accompanied by training and orientation to the device, and enticement to its many possibilities. This, in concert with online campaigns to raise awareness and agitate for greater state action will help reduce the cases of violence against women in Pakistan.
The staff team at Bytes for All is totally committed towards gender positive developments in the country and will continue its efforts to fight the menace of violence against women in the society.