Women in Sri Lanka Use Technology to Educate and Empower Women and Girls

Sri Lankan women are using tech to champion rights, amplify marginalized voices, strengthen democracy, and challenge regressive ideas and stereotypes.

Sixty-five activists, researchers, social media enthusiasts, marketing professionals and journalists shared their experiences at an event organized by Internews on August 10 in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

The Internews Social Media Meetup III represented the diverse experiences of women using technology to educate and empower Sri Lankan society in times of reform and change, as well as unlocking opportunities for women through technology.

The event was based on the premise that women in Sri Lanka are key change-makers, especially in the fields of – and with the use of – technology.

The speakers on the event panel talked about how they are using tech to drive forward the discussion around Sri Lanka’s constitutional reform process; to advance the place of women in the business world; how they are educating girls and women on how to combat online harassment — a problem which affects girls and women around the world.

The speakers included:

  • Iromi Perera (activist, researcher): on the role that tech has played in her work gathering and analyzing nationwide data and disseminating findings, on constitutional reform and urban development.
  • Tehani Ariyaratne (South Asia Women’s Fund): on SAWF’s experiences with grassroots women activists and organizations in South Asia using tech to mobilize and organize.
  • Paba Deshapriya (Grassrooted Trust): on her work educating young women and girls on combating online harassment and violence against women.
  • Savindri Talgodapitiya (entrepreneur, founder The Fields Travel Company): on how tech helped pave the way to her start-up and her fight to challenge gender stereotypes in the corporate tech community.
  • Manique Gunaratne: on her work, as a woman with a disability, training others with disabilities in IT, using tech to educate the public on disability-awareness and to advocate for disability rights.

The event was webcast live on the Internews Sri Lanka Facebook page.