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. RTW is active in all of these areas.
RightsTech Women: Recent Activities
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.