Trauma and Technology: The Role of ICT in Women’s Safety and Mental Health Interventions

Wallenberg Theater
  • Revi Sterling, Ph.D.



This talk is motivated by increased efforts in ICTD to lower rates of violence against women (VAW) worldwide. Conventional wisdom in international development often cites women’s advancement as the key factor in sustainable development strategies, although overall, ICTD has historically done a poor job taking women’s unique development concerns into account. However, new anti-rape and anti-harassment ICT efforts combine gender and technology policy and activity, and raise interesting questions about design, agency and ethics. This discussion introduces these intersections as areas for future research and development.


Speaker Bio:

Revi Sterling is the founder and director of the first Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICTD) professional master’s program in the United States, a program that places equal emphasis on technology, methodology, and development studies.  Previously, Sterling worked at Microsoft for 10 years where she spearheaded Microsoft Research’s efforts in gender equity in computer science. She has served on the leading gender and technology boards, and testified before the U.S. Congress about the need for more women in the technical workforce. She moved into the field of ICTD to research the impact of technology on women’s empowerment in underdeveloped communities. She is most concerned on the “hidden” barriers to ICTD use and access. Some of these topics include gender and power relations, development readiness, community expectation management and systemic disempowerment. Her current research explores the potential of ICT to establish and sustain mental health interventions in remote communities with a history of trauma and isolation. She is the recipient of the 2012 Anita Borg Institute Women of Vision award for Social Impact.