We reached out to women in Internet governance to see how they work and live. The following is an interview with Lilian Ivette De Luque Bruges, from Columbia.
Lilian Ivette De Luque Bruges is originally from Riohacha, La Guajira, Colombia. She is a social communicator – Journalist of the Jorge Tadeo Lozano University in the city of Bogotá D.C.
She belongs to the WAYUU ethnic group that inhabit the peninsula of La Guajira on the north coast of Colombia and we are the most numerous indigenous group in the country.
She works as Director of communications and information technology (CIO) of the municipality of Manaure La Guajira since 2001, from this work she promotes the implementation of digital government and the work of technological inclusion of vulnerable communities especially indigenous.
She is co-owner of the computer security company Muusa Colombia S.A and I also work there as a consultant in digital government since 2016.
She is a member of the ISOC Global, Cybersecurity and SIG Women chapters.
Who are some women you look up to within our field? Who has mentored you? (If you’ve received little or no mentorship, can you describe why mentorship is important?)
There is something very positive in our field and it is the large number of admirable women who stand out, particularly I admire many but especially to a young woman Shwetal Shan who does an amazing job to empower young women into technology, especially between the ages of 8 to 13 with digital skills. She works as the Head of Outreach at Erase All Kittens, an award-winning startup company creating a game that inspires girls to code whilst teaching them real-world languages. Shwetal was included into Forbes 30 under 30 Class of 2018, among many other recognitions and awards. Regarding tutoring have received a lot of support from Renata Aquino Ribero more than a tutor she has been a guide. Tutoring is extremely important because it guides us to find our space in the immense ecosystem that forms the government of the internet.
What are you currently doing in your field? What other organizations inspire your work?
We are currently organizing a series of conferences on basic principles of internet governance for indigenous children and youth, but since 9 years ago my field of action is the work with vulnerable communities, especially indigenous people, focusing on actions for inclusion and shortening the digital divide through technology. We have trained them in digital literacy and training for the use of ICT in productive environments. Provision of computers and Internet to rural schools, we have taken the Internet to remote areas and we have several Internet access centers. At this moment, we face a genocide of indigenous Wayuu children under 5 years of age who die of hunger from causes associated with malnutrition, teaching them to use the internet, social networks, emails and digital government programs, we have contributed not only to make this sad visible situation, but to save lives. Another important point is to promote electronic commerce of artisan products that contribute to the development and economy of this indigenous community, we have encouraged the creation of micro-businesses through web pages and various social networks to market their products that are reaching the entire world.
I am inspired by the work of ISOC, I am even a member of several chapters, for their work based on cooperation for the development of the Internet. And also the work on training in cybersecurity is being carried out by the OAS through CITEL, which is focusing a large part of its work on training on gender and cybersecurity.
What do you see as the greatest barriers for women in our field? How can we be better for women?
There are many barriers, the most important is education, we must awaken the passion and love for technology in women from an early age, motivate our young professionals to be enterprising and created your own tech bussiness. Another barrier to overcome is discrimination, the world of technology is dominated by men and for this reason, women have to work twice as hard to open a space, here an important role is played by the union through networks and support groups that allow you to fight together.
Why do you do what you do? What has kept you motivated to continue this work?
The main reason is because I love what I do, because I want to contribute through technology to the development of vulnerable communities and it keeps me firmly seeing the results achieved, especially since the technological community is becoming aware of the importance of inclusion of these communities in the digital ecosystem but there is still a long way to go.
What is something you’re most proud of in your work? (This could be a single event, happening, policy change that you helped influence, an impactful conversation or presentation)
Three events make me feel proud of the results achieved by the effort put into the various works carried out. The first is have managed to take the fiber optic network to the municipality and with this connect it through broadband internet benefiting approximately one hundred thousand people and with this to have it approached the municipal government, in which I work, to the indigenous communities through a digital government policy, which made us deserving recognition for three consecutive years by the National government. The second is to successfully achieve an entrepreneurial project by being the co-owner of a computer security company called Muusa Colombia S.A. and third, having been chosen as a participant in the Global Indigenous Ambassador program for the meeting of ICANN 61 in Puerto Rico, an experience that allowed me to acquire a lot of knowledge which has been fundamental to continue developing my work with vulnerable communities, as well as at a business level.
Do you wish you knew more of something? Is there a subject you don’t know about but would like to learn? (This question is meant to inspire a network of women to potentially reach out to each other to enhance each other’s work)
I would like to strengthen the bonds of cooperation between women who work in the area of technology and internet governance and deepen the topic of human rights in the network.