RightsTech Women is working to increase the numbers of women and girls in STEM who know their rights. To accomplish this, RTW does various activities including research, UN advocacy, organizing workshops and promoting women in STEM as role models.
RightsTech Women: Recent Activities
Geneva, 26 June 2019
On June, 26 RTW visited the ATLAS experiment at CERN which is designed to explore the secrets of the universe. The visit was organized by Women in Tech at CERN with whom we’ve co-organized programming and robotics workshops and Girls in ICT Day at CERN. Visiting ATLAS was a great opportunity to learn more about Physics and to exchange with a fantastic group of female physicists and engineers working at CERN.
Geneva, 20 June 2019
On 20 June, Ellen Walker, founder of RTW, spoke on a panel discussion in Geneva about the challenges of digital transformation, the future of work in the era of robotics and automation, and the limits of digital. The discussion was organised by Industrie-Genève and its partners OPI (Office de Promotion des Industries et des Technologies ), UIG (Union Industrielle Genevoise), CCiG (Chambre de commerce, d’industrie et des services de Genève), Operateur Urbain and Republique et Canton de Genève). The discussion was moderated by Fanny Randanne from OPI and took place during the EPHJ-EPMT-SMT event at Palexpo in Geneva, which is the largest international trade show dedicated to high precision, med-tech, and watchmaking innovation.
Together with other panelists such as Hélène Gache, Executive Director of Teamlog, Isabelle Harsch, CEO of Harsch, Fabienne Lupo, president of the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH), and Samira MARQUIS, founder of makers id; Ellen Walker answered the questions and presented the work of RTW and highlighted the importance of gender equality and human rights education in digital and tech in Switzerland. In addition, she shared the Swiss statistic. The panel was followed by a comment from Mr. Pierre Maudet, Conseiller d’Etat.
RTW was also invited by OPI (Office de Promotion des Industries et des Technologies ) to be present on Tuesday, 18 June at the Geneva Innovation stand. We took the chance to present our work and to talk to the local partners such as IFAGE, Hepia, and Geneva Creativity Center.
Girls in ICT Day at CERN
Geneva, 25 April 2019
On 25 April 2019, RightsTech Women celebrated the International Telecommunications Union’s Girls in ICT Day by collaborating with CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) to organize robotics and programming workshops for girls. The event took place at the CERN Globe of Science and Innovation from 9 am to 4 pm and attracted around 100 girl participants aged from 6 to 14.
The day started off with a presentation from RTW to girls and parents on its work and on the many opportunities now available to women and girls in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), including the growing numbers of jobs.
The day continued with four workshops on robotics and computing, led by a team of mostly female coaches from RTW, CERN Women in Technology, and other CERN staff. The trainings used Poppy Ergo Jr. educational robots and SNAP programming.
For more information, see the full story.
Coffee and Robots at WMO
Geneva, 4 April 2019
On 26 March 2019, RightsTech Women, which has as its mission to advance the human rights of women and girls in STEM, held two presentations at the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to introduce its organization and activities & to exchange with WMO staff. WMO staff members, the EU representation to the UN, as well as representatives from permanent missions and NGOs in Geneva participated during the day.
Celebrating International Women’s day 2019: A day of workshops for girls on robotics, programming and human rights.
Geneva, 9 March 2019
On Saturday, 9 March 2019, over 80 enthusiastic girls aged 6-18 gathered at HEPIA in Geneva for some hands-on workshops on human rights, robotics, and programming.
With support of the City of Geneva and as part of their Equality Week (celebrating International Women’s Day), RightsTech Women co-organized these workshops with partners HEPIA, CERN Micro Club, CERN Women in Technology, CERN Staff Association, On l’Fait and Informascience. HEPIA held an Open Day for the public on the same day, and the girls and their parents were invited to learn more about studying at HEPIA.
Photo Credit: Stéphanie Monay, Ville de Genève
Celebrating International Women’s day 2019: Taking part in a panel discussion
On 8 March, RightsTech Women took part in a celebration of International Women’s Day, together with over 70 women professionals in Geneva.
Our founder, Ellen Walker, was invited to the panel discussion on opportunities and challenges for women in tech and digital in Switzerland.
Check the official video from the event and listen to her thoughts about how human rights can enable more girls to choose a career in digital and tech-related fields: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBqTpExyImo
71st session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)
UN Geneva, 22 October 2018
On Monday, 22 October 2018, RightsTech Women attended a meeting of the 71st session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) as representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from Nepal, Republic of the Congo, The Bahamas, and Samoa presented to the Committee on the human rights situation in their countries.
CEDAW evaluates the progress of countries who are Parties to the UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (also abbreviated as CEDAW) as those countries work to eliminate discrimination against women by implementing the obligations in that treaty. During its regular sessions, the Committee meets with NGOs, national human rights institutions (NHRIs), and government officials in an effort to understand progress of a State in this critical area. After the different stakeholders have been heard, the Committee issues a report on its findings that includes concluding observations for improvement. These are like recommendations. This process is usually repeated every four years.
Currently, 189 countries are Parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, which lists the rights of women and the responsibilities of their countries in ensuring those rights. The countries that have not done so are the Holy See, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Niue, Palau, Somalia, Sudan, Tonga, and United States of America.
To learn more about the CEDAW reporting process and how your NGO can share with the Committee its own findings about implementation of the Convention in countries that are States Parties to the Convention, visit:
To know more about what’s happening during the 71st session, use the hashtag #CEDAW71 and follow @UNHumanRights on Twitter.
RightsTech Women in l’AGEFI Suisse
Geneva, 16 October 2018
Changing the low percentage of women in STEM fields is not an easy task, but at RightsTech Women we know it is possible. We have shared our vision and recommendations with AGEFI Suisse, focusing on early exposure, various forms of encouragement and female role models are crucial to attracting more girls and women to STEM.
General discussion on a draft general comment on article 15 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR).
UN Geneva, 9 October 2018
On 9 October RightsTech Women took part in a general discussion on a draft general comment on article 15 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) at the United Nations Office at Geneva.
Prachi Bhave, our Research Officer, has given a speech about the situation of women in STEM globally, including women in STEM education, women in workforce and girls in education. She has shared several recommendations to achieve gender parity in all levels of STEM education and employment. Ellen Walker, RTW Founder, has also given an oral statement for Panel 1: Normative contents, with additional recommendations.
We believe that a General Comment on article 15 should include the human rights of women and girls in STEM.
- Include the human rights of women and girls in STEM in the General Comment.
- Increase international cooperation in science to decrease inequalities among
peoples and nations, while building human rights infrastructure.
- Ensure that the development of science and human rights education go hand in
hand, and that each keep pace with each other.
- Increase international cooperation to ensure women and girls’ equal enjoyment of
article 15, in particular, with regard to education, employment, research positions,
equal pay, and equity stakes.
- Implement targeted measures to eliminate discrimination against women in STEM
and share good practices in equitable article 15 implementation for women and girls.
Robots, rights and programming for girls
Hepia Genève, 6 October 2018
On 6 October, a sunny Saturday in Geneva, more than 50 girls met at HEPIA to participate in a workshop on robotics and programming for girls. The workshop, a cooperation between HEPIA, Cern MicroClub, Fab Lab On’l’fait and RightsTech Women, offered a chance for girls from 10-18 years old not only to learn how to program the robot, Poppy Ergo Jr., and the hepiaLight programmable touch screen, but also to learn about their human rights related to education. The four partner organizations were eager to join up and explore the relationship between programming, robotics and human rights.
The Swiss NGO, RightsTech Women, based in Geneva since June 2018, focuses on this combination of women and girls, human rights, and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Ellen Walker, the founder of RightsTech Women, explains why they have chosen this particular focus. “Women are under-represented in STEM tertiary education and jobs around the world, and also in Switzerland. We are working for increased female participation in STEM at all levels by equipping girls and women with knowledge about their rights, and by sharing stories of female role models. We were happy to work together with HEPIA and CERN MicroClub on this great event. We hope to have many more events like this in future.”
The programming part of the workshop was given by Brice Copy, a representative from CERN Micro-Club and Adrien Lescourt from HEPIA, with the assistance of several volunteer coaches. The day included 2 introduction sessions on the right to education, 2 robotics workshops, and one hepiaLight workshop.
RightsTech Women at Geek Girls Carrots Geneva
SDG Solution Space, Geneva, 12 September 2018
RTW founder, Ellen Walker, gave a talk about human rights in STEM at Geek Girls Carrots Switzerland in Geneva, a meetup focused on attracting women to tech. Other team members were also present and we were glad to have the opportunity to meet like-minded women and men and to take part in exciting discussions.
RightsTech Women at Values of Internet Technologies
Human Rights and present / future ICT ‒ Why and how are they related? was a workshop organized by Internet Society Switzerland as a part of Values of Internet Technologies series. Ellen Walker, the founder of RightsTech Women, explained what are Human Rights and how did they emerge. We’ve enjoyed all the presentations and an insightful panel discussion.