[Profile] 31 Fantastic adventures in science – Women scientists of India

Rohini Lakshané, Director (Emerging Research) at The Bachchao Project has been featured in a book entitled “31 Fantastic adventures in science – Women scientists of India” authored by Nandita Jayaraj and Aashima Friedog. The book was released in August 2019.

Front cover of the book "31 Fantastic adventures in science"

From the cover:

We don’t see them on TV, in textbooks or in newspapers, and most of us can’t name a single one. But there are thousands of women scientists in India, who perform experiments in laboratories, peer through powerful telescopes and camp out in harsh and extreme conditions.

This unique book presents the stories of thirty-one of these trailblazing women who work in a diverse array of fields, from environmental biotechnology to particle physics, palaeobiology to astrophysics. Through their research, they uncover the mysteries of the universe, find more sustainable ways of living, cure life-threatening diseases and study animals and plants that are long gone.

Find out what drew them to science, read about how they deal with the difficulties and pressures of their work, and learn how they push the boundaries of human knowledge further and further every day.

Listing on Amazon: https://www.amazon.in/31-Fantastic-Adventures-Science-Scientists/dp/0143445685

The Bachchao Project at Rightscon 2019

Members of The Bachchao Project spoke at two sessions at RightsCon held in Tunis, Tunisia from June 11 to 14, 2019.


Session on Internet shutdowns, ICT4D Conference 2019, Uganda

Slide deck_Of Sieges and Shutdowns_ICT4DCon_2019

Rohini Lakshané of The Bachchao Project spoke at a session entitled “Impact Of Intentional Internet Shutdowns And Unreliable Mobile Connectivity On Women In Conflict-Strained Manipur” at the ICT4D Conference 2019. The session was featured under the “Humanitarian Response and Resilience” track. In the session, Rohini presented the most significant findings of the study “Of Sieges and Shutdowns“, which she conducted with Chinmayi S K in late 2017 in Manipur, India. The exploratory research project was aimed at studying the impact of intentional Internet shutdowns from the lenses of gender, conflict and the status of ethnic minority.

Read the full report of the study at: Of Sieges and Shutdowns

The conference was held from April 30 to May 2, 2019 at Kampala, Uganda. Details: https://www.ict4dconference.org

Leadership in public policy course 2018, New Delhi

Rohini Lakshané of The Bachchao Project attended the Leadership in Public Policy Course held on November 29-30, 2018 in New Delhi. The course was organised by the British High Commission and Takshashila.

Panel discussion on intentional internet shutdowns at Digital Citizen Summit 2018

Rohini Lakshané of The Bachchao Project was a speaker on a panel on the topic of intentional internet shutdowns at the Digital Citizen Summit held in New Delhi on November 1-2, 2018. The panel discussion entitled “Living in Digital Darkness — Internet Shutdowns in India” was organised by the Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) and Software Freedom Law Centre (SFLC).

Lakshané spoke about the findings from The Bachchao Project’s research report entitled “Of Sieges and Shutdowns” on the impact of intentional Internet shutdowns on the lives and livelihoods of women in Manipur, India.

The other panelists were Prashanth Sugathan (SFLC), Tripti Jain (SFLC, moderator), Nikhil Pahwa (Medianama) and Mansi Kedia (ICRIER).

View conference agenda.

View event report by the organisers [PDF].

Panel discussion on intentional internet shutdowns at Digital Citizen Summit 2018
Photos from the panel discussion on intentional Internet shutdowns at the Digital Citizen Summit, New Delhi, 2018. Photo credit: Osama Manzar, Digital Empowerment Foundation
Panel discussion on intentional internet shutdowns at Digital Citizen Summit 2018
Photo credit: Osama Manzar, Digital Empowerment Foundation
Panel discussion on intentional internet shutdowns at Digital Citizen Summit 2018
Photo credit: Osama Manzar, Digital Empowerment Foundation

South Asia Online Safety Summit, New Delhi, October 2018

As part of our focus on issues of technology-mediated violence against women, Rohini Lakshané attended two events organised by Facebook in New Delhi:

  • South Asia Online Summit held on 29 October 2018. The day-long event was organised by Facebook in partnership with the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India. Live-stream video of the event
  • Roundtable on Facebook’s Approach on Online Safety on 30 October 2018.



The Bachchao Project featured in RightsCon Community Voices series

The Bachchao Project was recently featured in the RightsCon Community voices series: https://www.accessnow.org/community-voices-the-bachchao-project-fights-for-gender-rights-online

Community Voices: The Bachchao Project fights for gender rights online

28 August 2018 | 2:29 pm | Nikki Gladstone

CC-BY 2018 accessnow.org

The Bachchao Project is a techno-feminist collective working at the intersection of technology and gender rights. Chinmayi S K, a computer science engineer by training, is the founder of the project, which she started in recognition of her own experiences developing and using technologies that do not reflect the needs of women and queer individuals online.

“There has always been a gap between those who produce technology and those who use it,” says Chinmayi. When that gap exists, and technological innovations do not represent or consult users, particularly those from historically marginalized groups, they risk coding existing discriminatory biases into tools that do not serve everyone.

The India-based organization works with what they call “both ends of the spectrum”: technologists and users. Both groups, Chinmayi acknowledges, struggle. Technologists face difficulties understanding the on-the-ground reality of user groups, while users new to technology lack the support needed to navigate these innovations. The Bachchao Project seeks to bridge the two, under the overarching mission of equal rights for women, gender minorities, and LGBTQIA persons.

Since the team is made up of both technologists and human rights defenders, they’re able to deconstruct technological concepts while simultaneously understanding the needs of different communities. They also rely on concerned individuals to build circles of trust within their communities and pave the way for impactful interventions.

Despite this, they face ongoing challenges in the work they do. The tendency for organizations to work in silos makes it difficult for them to get buy-in for an approach that seeks to promote collaboration. In some cases, it can be difficult to get organizations not only to consider seriously principles of diversity and inclusion, but also to integrate them in their work and tools.

For the Bachchao Project, RightsCon is an opportunity to confront those challenges head-on, in a space that thrives because of engagement and strategy building across sectors and disciplines. At RightsCon Toronto, the team released its latest publication, Of Sieges and Shutdowns, a report detailing how unreliable mobile networks and intentional internet shutdowns affect women activists and entrepreneurs in the economically underdeveloped and conflict-ridden state of Manipur, India. The project is a starting point for understanding the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) by women in the region.

Learn more about the Bachchao Project on their website or follow them on Twitter, and get in touch directly if you are interested in volunteering or collaborating with The Bachchao Project on one of their initiatives.

Paper on Safe Goa project presented at Tech4Dev Conference 2018

Chinmayi S K presented the methodology for the Safe Goa project at the 5th International Conference on Technologies for Development (Tech4Dev 2018) held in Laussane, Switzerland from 27 to 29 June 2018. A working paper titled “Low Technology Participatory Methodologies in Research and Advocacy for Making Cities Safer for Women” authored by Chinmayi S K, Yugendran Muthuvel and Tania Devaiah was submitted for the conference. The final paper is scheduled for release in September 2018.

The conference was organised by the UNESCO Chair in Technologies for Development at the Cooperation & Development Center (CODEV), École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland.

Workshop on building tech for diversity and inclusion, Brussels

The Bachchao Project, Open Knowledge Belgium and BeCentral partnered to host a hands-on and insightful workshop on July 5 and 6, 2018, called “Building Tech for Diversity and Inclusion”.

The workshop was delivered by Chinmayi S K and was hosted at BeCentral. On July 5 the workshop was open to the general public. The next day it was held exclusively for Open Sumer of Code participants. It was based on the curriculum from the “Manual to build technology for diversity and Inclusion” devised by The Bachchao Project.

The Bachchao Project released version 1.3 of the manual at the workshop.

Workshop on building tech for diversity and inclusion at BeCentral, Brussels. Photo credit: Manon Brulard
Workshop on building tech for diversity and inclusion at BeCentral, Brussels. Photo credit: Julia Thomaschki