Mujeres en Internet Interviews: Lia Patricia Hernández

We reached out to women in Internet governance to see how they work and live. The following is an interview with Lia Patricia Hernández, from Panama.

Lia is a lawyer from Panama and Spain. She is the Co-Founder and Executive Directress of IPANDETEC, a digital rights organization based in Panama City working in advocacy in Central America. She also helps startups and entrepreneurs in Panama City with their legal structure. She is member of ICANN At-Large, NCUC, Creative Commons, Open Knowledge, Global Forum Cyber Expertise.
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?)
In 2014, at the NetMundial event, I met Carolina Botero, Director of the Karisma Foundation, followed her work and the from many other digital rights organizations in Latin America. I told her the direction we wanted to give to IPANDETEC and from the minute 1, she was willing to help us, we had a coffee and she got involved in some initiatives that are currently part of our main areas of work.

What are you currently doing in your field? What other organizations inspire your work?

We are currently working in different areas such as Internet Governance, Data Protection and basic Digital Security workshops for digital Internet users in Panama. Our country is one of the countries in Latin America with the best structure and connectivity on the Internet, but our participation is very limited in spaces like ICANN and from IPANDETEC we are creating a community so that more and more Panamanian and Central American actors can participate.

What do you see as the greatest barriers for women in our field? How can we be better for women?

Our main challenge is to fight with the macho attitude of both women and men who try to discredit the work of women. The best way to be better is to continue working continuously and demonstrate with our work what we are worth and why we are here.

Why do you do what you do? What has kept you motivated to continue this work?

It all started as an idea to unite professionals from different areas who were motivated by the Law of New Technologies and now we are one of the most active digital rights organizations in influencing public policies in Central America. When you do what you like, you are happy and I am happy, with the work that I do every day, although sometimes the work is so much and the time so little that we can stretch ourselves. It keeps me motivated as being a small organization with little staff and funds, we have gained space and respect in the global Internet community.

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)

What I am most proud of is how a year ago everything changed for us. We obtained the host of LACIGF 2017, very few people bet for us, we fulfilled and exceeded expectations and that has made new opportunities continue to open up for our organization and for the Internet community in Panama and Central America.

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 love to develop my technical skills, learn to program, install a network and even hack (play) with a computer. I am inspired and loved by the women who do this work.