From where I stand: “ICT empowers me to grow without limits”

For Reem El-Dabbagh, from Gaza, Palestine, there’s no better sector for women than ICTs, with its limitless potential for growth. She is currently developing a web application which will provide comprehensive online services for survivors of gender-based violence.

Date: Monday, April 23, 2018

Reem El-Dabbagh. Photo: UN Women/Hisham Obaid
Reem El-Dabbagh. Photo: UN Women/Hisham Obaid

Quote

I was 12 years old when I first touched a computer. It was as if a new world opened up to me. Since then, computers have been my best friends.

Today, I am part of Gaza Gateway (GGateway), a social enterprise specialized in ICT, and I’m developing a web application with my team for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence in Gaza. The application provides essential services for women and girls, such as 24/7 online counseling and referral to service providers. All stored data and online communication will be encrypted, only open to key service providers, to guarantee confidentiality. The application will also provide awareness raising materials on sexual and gender-based violence and information on available services.

Contrary to perceptions, ICT is a popular subject for girls to study in Gaza, as the working hours are flexible and you can work at home in many cases. But the biggest advantage of working in ICT sector for women, in my opinion, is that it provides you opportunities to grow without limits, as the technology advances every day.

Of course, there are challenges too. There is a common misconception that men are more professional and skillful than their female counterparts in the ICT sector. I would like to break this stereotype by showcasing that women can be as good as men in ICT and also make great managers. That is why I plan to pursue my PhD in ICT management in a few years. After getting my PhD, I will return to my hometown, Gaza, and help more women in ICT to advance in their career and get managerial positions.

I always knew that ICT empowers me to grow without limits, and now I know that ICT also empowers me to help others grow.”


SDG 5: Gender equality
SDG 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure

Reem El-Dabbagh is a junior project associate at Gaza Gateway (GGateway). Since January 2017, El-Dabbagh has been working on developing a web application which provides various online services for survivors of violence in Gaza, as part of a joint programme by UN Women and UN Habitat, “Utilizing Digital Tools to Promote Human Rights and Create Inclusive Public Spaces in the Gaza Strip”, funded by the Government of the Kingdom of Belgium. The web application, currently being developed by Ms. El-dabbagh’s team in GGateway in collaboration with Aisha Association for Woman and Child Protection, is expected to open to the public in November 2018, providing survivors of sexual and gender-based violence in Gaza a direct and enhanced online access to information, counseling, and follow-up support for the first time. El-Dabbagh’s story relates to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 9, which aims to foster innovation, as well as SDG5, which aims to promote gender equality and targets enhancing the use of enabling technology to promote the empowerment of women, and to end all forms of violence against women and girls.