Ministry hosts talks on technology for gender equity

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Gender and Child Affairs, Ayanna Webster-Roy (centre, front row); with Vijay Gangapersad, Acting Permanent Secretary in Gender and Child Affairs (front third from left);  Marlon Bascombe, Country Director, USAID, Y-RIE (front second from left); Shelley-Ann Hart, Director, Gender Affairs Division (front third from right); and Sanjay Singh, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Gender and Child Affairs (front second from right) with panellists, students and teachers in attendance at the Youth Tech Initiative on Wednesday, at the Gender and Child Affairs Division’s St Clair office. –

Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) Ayanna Webster-Roy urged 29 teenage boys on Wednesday: “Become agents and voices of change in your communities in the fight against all forms of gender-based violence.”

The boys were attending the Youth Tech Initiative held at the PM’s Office in St Clair, which aimed to give young people a platform for conversations on gender and technology-related issues.

A statement sent on Thursday said it is one of the strategies of the Gender Affairs Division, Webster-Roy’s portfolio, to improve the quality of life of men, women, boys and girls at all levels of society through promoting gender equity and equality.

Two students of Innovative Robotics Services (IRS) interact with IRS-built robots at the Youth Tech Initiative on Wednesday at the Gender and Child Affairs Division’s St Clair office. –

It was the second Youth Tech event, and moderators addressed social media, mental health, technology-facilitated gender-based violence, technology, stereotyping, media literacy and using technology for advocacy.

Boys from Belmont, Woodbrook, South East Port of Spain and Mucurapo East Secondary Schools and the Black Hawks Martial Arts Management Network Association attended.

The discussion was moderated by information technology experts Keron Smith and Rayard Sookoo; medical social worker Joel Duncan; child rights ambassador alumna Malique Auguste; and Richie Bansraj, a gender training officer at the Gender Affairs Division.

Speakers focused on the need for young people to become critical thinkers and positive-change agents on issues intersecting gender and technology.

The sessions sought to enhance students’ understanding of the misuse and excessive use of technology, to improve their confidence when holding similar discussions with their peers and to stress the importance of being vigilant against online predators.

Bansraj called on teens to self-reflect before posting online, asking them to question whether their post would hurt someone.

Keron Smith, an information systems specialist, facilitating one of the sessions at the Youth Tech Initiative on Wednesday at the Gender and Child Affairs Division’s St Clair office.  –

Students were shown emerging technologies, told the benefits of technology opportunities, offered free training and introduced to new career pathways by the information booths of the Ministry of Digital Transformation, Innovative Robotics Services and NIHERST.

The statement ended by saying Youth Tech hopes the strategies taught will aid in the fight to remove gender stereotyping in current technical, vocational and information technology education and training programmes to promote equitable access for young women and men, develop a more knowledge-based, innovative and entrepreneurial society and end the use of technology as a tool in gender-based violence.