On March 16, 2023, during the 67th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, which focused on the inclusion of women in innovation and technology, the gender advisor to the SERVIR-Amazonia Program, Marina Irigoyen, participated with a lecture on the importance of promoting gender equity in the use of geospatial information to address current environmental challenges.
In her presentation, Marina pointed out that, due to cultural issues and state neglect in a context of geographic dispersion, women in the Amazon have very limited access to information and communication technologies. Helping to reduce this gap could facilitate the work of local communities in defending their lands against growing problems such as deforestation, illegal mining, and territorial invasion.
To illustrate her thesis, Marina presented two examples of training for local communities on the use of geospatial tools. The first was training on the Terra On Track app for women in the municipality of São Félix do Xingu in the Brazilian Amazon. It was developed as part of the SERVIR-Amazonia Program by local partner Imaflora, to teach them to monitor deforestation in the region using smartphones.
The second example was about training on the Radar Mining Monitoring (RAMI) tool for women in the Madre de Dios region of Peru, organized by local partner, Conservación Amazónica (ACCA). The training has included teaching women how to use drones to track illegal gold mining activities.
Additionally, Marina stressed the importance of carrying out a gender analysis in order to develop reference technologies that consider the characteristics and needs of local communities.
In conclusion, she said that “we can encourage women to use geospatial services to take care of their territories and we have evidence of this,” as the prior examples show. However, in order to make this happen “we need the support of all countries to decentralize the states and we also need international cooperation”, which must go hand in hand with training programs adapted to their reality that reflect their knowledge and interests.