ICT in Cuba, for everyone

ICT in Cuba, for everyone
Fecha de publicación: 
4 May 2023
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The celebration of the International Day for Girls in ICT, Information and Communication Technologies, was the perfect occasion to talk with Ariadne Plasencia, Director of the Information and Communications Business Group, about the presence of Cuban women in this sector.

On to the Central Palace for Elementary Students, where several circles of interest related to ICT work, Ariadne and her team arrived. Why?

"In the Information and Communications Business Group, there are many women who, in some way, have a direct responsibility for the development of the New Information and Communication Technologies in Cuba, from many roles, not only managers, but also technicians, executives... and sometimes we do not give all the importance that vocational training activity could have at an early age, where the first relationships are created, the first habits are formed, the first convictions are set in relation to the future of the profession, of the trade, of what each one of us can be once we grow up.

«In the communications area of the Central Palace for Elementary Students, in the circle of interest that we particularly attend to, we aim to promote the creation of these habits, these relationships, this knowledge, that while it does not have relevant theoretical background, is about to create knowledge that the girls and boys can later manage in their own way and thus address their vocation.

I believe that each one of us, particularly women, could tell a personal, own, individual experience of how interests were built based on these professions and it seems to me that from our own life experiences we have to establish a commitment so that these girls can also be trained.”

How do you assess Cuba's progress in terms of the presence of women in these activities or professions linked to technology?

“I believe that there is still a lot to do. Today we still have many gender, access, training capacity gaps. There are some specialties that have been moving towards a more comprehensive participation, from which our business group cares for, particularly computer science, but certainly, other engineering fields such as electronics, electricity, still do not have much female representation and I believe that they do not. It is not about staunchly defending women's involvement, but it really shows that much remains to be done.

It is not a competition between men and women from the vain and futile approach. We actually promote gender equality, the possibility of shared access, because women have shown that, in terms of our intellectual and professional capacity, our ability to do things, we have no differences in relation to men. Cuba is essentially a society to generate opportunities and I think that is what we have to defend from the ICT as well.”

Today, a Deputy Minister of Communications has been here sharing with the girls and boys, but the Minister is also a woman, the President of ETECSA is a woman... to what extent shall we see these facts, that there are so many women directing the sector, as a sign that we should interpret as an example...?

 

“Yes, it is a paradigm, exactly. I think it is a result that could not come up intentionally. That is, nobody put us here because we are women, as sometimes misunderstood or given a simplistic interpretation of how it is managed in Cuba gender equality and opportunities also from gender. I think that we are the result of coherent actions in relation to the creation of opportunities, with training, with the possibility of showcasing that knowledge that we had gardened. Now what we have to do is to provide others with the same opportunity. I believe that we must see it above all as the opportunity to exercise the knowledge that has been formed in us.”

In relation to women and ICT, we do not only talk about access, but also security, because the digital universe has become another space where gender violence is exercised. What is your opinion in this regard?

"I believe that the most important thing is to learn. When you master technology, you do not become a victim of it in any of its modalities, neither from the social point of view, nor from the point of view of transformation, of innovation. I think that there is also a negative perspective here to the general phenomenon of violence against women. That is, technology has become a huge help for those who practice it, for those who tolerate it and for those who do not face it. I don't think we have to see it differently, it is part of that same phenomenon and therefore, what we have to fight against is the phenomenon and not the use of technology in an environment where these issues are not faced. We must confront gender violence, in all spaces."

Translated by Sergio Al. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff

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