The Internet Society to “Shine the Light” on Digital Trailblazers

Global campaign to highlight women who are using the Internet to
make a difference

WASHINGTON & GENEVA–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Internet Society has launched a campaign aimed at recognizing the
many contributions made by women today to the development and growth of
the Internet. By encouraging others to “Shine the Light” on women who
are using the Internet to innovate and make a difference in people’s
lives, the organization hopes to celebrate the online achievements of
women and draw attention to the issue of gender inequality when it comes
to Internet access.

Worldwide, there are an estimated 200
million fewer women than men online
. In developed countries women
and men have access to the Internet at comparable levels. But recent
research by the Web
Foundation
shows that women in several developing countries are 50
percent less likely to be connected to the Internet than men in the same
age group, where technical literacy levels and high costs are the two
main barriers keeping women offline.

Despite the fact that the number of women on the Internet lags behind
that of men, once women do have access, they are most likely to use it
in their daily lives. The same research highlights how many of these
women are digital trailblazers, using the Internet to speak out on
important issues and maximizing its potential to create opportunities in
education, healthcare, government services and in organizing their
families and communities for social, economic and political empowerment.

Kathy Brown, President and CEO of the Internet Society, said, “More than
half the world’s population is still not using the Internet. The stark
reality today is that the majority of this offline population is women.
However, women are key to advancing the Internet’s development and in
making sure that it is useful and relevant to other women. Smart,
empowered women are already making enormous contributions to this effort
and collectively, we must ensure that their voices are heard as an
integral part of the dialogue to build a secure, resilient, globally
connected ecosystem.”

From engineers to activists to bloggers, the Shine the Light campaign
will celebrate the voice of women on the Internet and promote their
achievements. The Internet Society has worked with its community and
members from around the world to bring the portraits of women and girls
who are empowering themselves on the Internet today.

Some of the women highlighted include Linda Liukas, a Programmer and
programming instructor in Finland who raised $380,000 on Kickstarter to
fund a coding book for children, and Nighat Dad, a lawyer and Internet
activist who founded the
Digital Rights Foundation
and was part of TIME magazine’s list of
next generation leaders for helping Pakistani women fight online
harassment.

“Women bring distinct perspectives and skills to the Internet,”
continued Brown. “They are uniquely positioned to champion breakthroughs
using the Internet for equality, poverty alleviation, better security
and many other challenges. The quality, relevance, and impact of the
Internet will only be improved if the people who are building it are
demographically representative of the people who are using it, so we
must recognize the contribution that women are making today and the
significant role they can play in the future evolution of the Internet.”

Shine the Light encourages everyone to use the hashtag #shinethelight
to nominate a woman who they think is creating opportunities for
themselves and others through the Internet.

For more information, please visit: www.internetsociety.org/shinethelight.

About the Internet Society

The Internet Society, www.internetsociety.org
is the trusted independent source for Internet information and thought
leadership from around the world. It is also the organizational home for
the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). With its principled vision
and substantial technological foundation, the Internet Society promotes
open dialogue on Internet policy, technology, and future development
among users, companies, governments, and other organizations. Working
with its members and Chapters around the world, the Internet Society
enables the continued evolution and growth of the Internet for everyone.

Contacts

Internet Society
Allesandra de Santillana, +41-22-807-1451
desantillana@isoc.org