Breaking Barriers For Women With Visual Impairment
(A talk by Vidhya Y in WSIS Forum 2022 Brainstorming Session)
“Technology is a great enabler, it’s a necessity for women with visual impairment rather than a luxury”, says our co-founder Vidhya Y in a brainstorming discussion conducted by World Summit on the Information Society(WSIS).
It is not a secret that the number of men in the IT sector far exceeds the number of women due to gender stereotypes and lack of equal opportunities. For a woman with visual impairment, this gap only widens. WSIS Forum invited Vidhya Y, the co-founder of Vision Empower, to participate in the “Brainstorming and Knowledge Cafe of World” session as a speaker which revolved around the theme of ‘ICTs for Gender Mainstreaming’on 26th November from 2:00 to 3:00 pm CST.
The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum 2022 represents the world’s largest annual gathering of the ‘ICT for Development’ community. The Forum provides structured opportunities to network, learn and participate in multi-stakeholder discussions and consultations on WSIS implementation.
Being a woman with visual- impairment, Vidhya shared from her personal experiences about the difficulties a woman with visual impairment faces to become a part of the ICT ecosystem. The lack of accessible and safe spaces, lack of role models/mentors and inaccessible educational resources are some of the challenges she named.
To bridge the gender divide, ensure women empowerment and equality through the use of ICT for women with visual impairments, Vidhya shared about the importance of creating awareness about visual impairment and providing opportunities to pursue a career in the field of technology. She also highlighted the importance of being financially independent as a woman with visual impairment so one has the right to choose and make decisions without depending on anyone.
Vidhya further spoke about the objective of Vision Empower, the non-profit she co-founded to make STEM education accessible for children with visual impairment. 40% of Vision Empower’s beneficiaries are girls which gives Vidhya immense hope knowing that the coming days will witness a larger number of women, who are visually impaired, leading in the ICT community.
The co-speakers who participated from all over the globe as women leaders in the technology sector acknowledged Vidhya’s ideas to bridge the gender gap through awareness, opportunities and a positive mindset.