On 23 March 2023, Rising Flame was at a virtual MozFest panel organised by feminist tech seeding grant organisation Numun Fund, represented by Co-Lead (Programs) Srinidhi Raghavan. She was joined by three feminist tech activists across the Larger World, working with sex workers and migrant women, among other vulnerable intersections.
They shared their approaches, philosophies and perspectives as connecting points of a bigger constellation of alternative approaches to tech that disrupt power from social movement organising.
Across the Larger World, feminist activists, collectives and groups are rupturing normative frameworks of engagement with technology through their vision, practice, interrogation and activism. ‘From community-created local networks, to Feminist Data Futures and more, how does the tech landscape shift when deconstructed and decolonized from these standpoints?’
This question was put forth as the beginning of an insightful conversation that questioned how we perceive technology as well as its different uses. Srinidhi Raghavan brought in a basic factor in how disabled women interact with technology: “One of the things I often encounter when we talk about technology and women with disabilities is that they’re not thought of as users of technology at all.”
She also spoke about Rising Flame’s International Women’s Day campaign around technology use by women with disabilities in the session. She mentioned how we spoke to women with disabilities for IWD 2023, talking about technology access and the expansiveness of daily living through technology.
She brought in technology’s intersections with financial agency and autonomy in the digital era, mentioning how the payment method for cards in India have mostly moved to touchscreen with the numbers all jumbled up. This means if it is inaccessible, and disabled women have to make a choice between privacy and the ability to choose how to spend their money, as well as navigate dangers of financial abuse by close ones and caregivers, she highlighted.
“[It’s important that] we’re not building tech only for that one kind of user… and we also have to navigate the spaces we have now when only one or two people have so much of the decision-making power,” she said, also speaking about the lived experiences of disabled people online and the specific violence faced by disabled women as they navigate technology spaces that are anyway inaccessible or less accessible to them.