What is Take Back the Tech?

Take Back the Tech! is a collaborative campaign to reclaim information and communication technology (ICT) to end violence against women (VAW).

The campaign calls on all ICT users – especially women and girls – to take control of technology and strategically use any ICT platform at hand (mobile phones, instant messengers, blogs, websites, digital cameras, email, podcasts and more) for activism against gender-based violence.

Take Back the Tech! plans several campaigns throughout the year, with the biggest being 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence (November 25 – December 10 each year). Creative, strategic actions explore different aspects of VAW and ICT.

How did the campaign get its name?

Inspiration came from Take Back the Night (or Reclaim the Night), a historic and international feminist march and rally to take direct action against rape and other forms of violence against women.

In the same spirit of reclaiming safe physical spaces, Take Back The Tech! is about creating digital spaces that protect everyone's right to participate freely and equally without harassment or threats to safety.

Who is behind Take Back the Tech!

Take Back the Tech! is initiated by the Association for Progressive Communications’ Women's Rights Programme (APC WRP), both a programme within APC and a network of women throughout the world committed to using technology for women’s empowerment. We promote gender equality in the design, implementation, access and use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and in the policy decisions and frameworks that regulate them.

Since the campaign began in 2006, it has been taken up, adapted and owned by individuals, groups, networks and organisations in countries such as Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Colombia, DRC, Germany, India, Kenya, Macedonia, Mexico, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, UK, Uruguay, USA.

Why was the campaign started?

In 2005, APC WRP developed research papers on the connection between ICT and VAW, an issue that received little attention at that time. From sharing the findings with women's rights and communication rights advocates in different spaces, APC WRP found this to be a critical issue that compelled further attention and deeper engagement. Take Back the Tech! was initiated as one of the ways of doing this, and sets out to:

  • Create safe digital spaces that protect everyone’s right to participate freely, without harassment or threat to safety.
  • Realise women’s rights to shape, define, participate, use and share knowledge, information and ICT.
  • Address the intersection between women’s human rights and the internet, especially VAW.
  • Recognise women’s historical and critical participation and contribution to the development of ICT.

What is 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence? What other campaigns take place?

Each year, between 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) and 10 December (Human Rights Day), people and organisations all over the world take part in 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. Take Back the Tech! leads its biggest campaign during this time to focus attention on newer types of gender violence taking place through digital spaces and through ICT.

Take Back the Tech! runs smaller campaigns at various points in the year. For instance, 2014 campaigns included The Day We Fight Back (against state surveillance), Love in the Time of the Internet, Imagine a Feminist Internet and What Are You Doing About VAW, which targeted the private sector.

Who funds Take Back the Tech?

Take Back the Tech! is organised through APC WRP's core funding. Some organisations and networks that have initiated local campaigns have secured small grants and funding independently.

In other words, the campaign is built on the collective energy of everyone involved, through the principles of collaboration, openness and activism. Many individuals, groups and organisations, motivated by their h2 commitment to ending violence against women, contribute not only their personal time, but also knowledge, imagination and talents into shaping this campaign.

In 2008 to 2010, APC WRP was one of the recipients for the MDG3 fund, under a project that aims to strengthen the capacity of women and girls to strategically use ICT to end VAW. As part of the project, local Take Back The Tech! campaigns were organised by partners in 12 countries: Pakistan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Cambodia, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, South Africa, Uganda, the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). From 2012 to 2015, Take Back the Tech! global and local campaigns in 7 countries - Kenya, Bosnia-Herzegovina, DRC, Pakistan, Philippines, Colombia and Mexico - have been funded through a Funding Women's Leadership and Opportunities award to APC WRP from the Dutch government.

Who can participate in Take Back The Tech?

Take Back The Tech! is open to everyone who wants to take action to end violence against women and would like to explore ICT platforms, skills and knowledge. You can take up an action on your own, collaborate with a few friends, plan a campaign with an organisation or any other way you can think of. In particular, the campaign aims to encourage women and girls to take back the tech, but anyone who is passionate about the issue is welcome to participate.

How can I Take Back The Tech?

There are many different ways you can participate:

  • Take part in campaign actions
  • Add a campaign banner to your site to spread the word
  • Suggest actions for users to take
  • Write, blog, tweet, document. Share your what you know, your experiences and your strategies to address violence against women.
  • Submit tools or write guides you think are useful through ka-BLOG.
  • Create campaign icons, digital postcards, audio and video clips, or share the good exmaples you find.
  • Translate resources, including our campaign kit, into your own languages.
  • Collaborate with partners to organise a Take Back The Tech! campaign

How do I find out if there is anyone taking part where I am?

Check out the list of local campaigns or join our mailing list.