Women and technology: Kranj City Library Back

Women and technology: Kranj City Library

How can we help libraries and communities explore how citizens can meet, live, and work in the Europe of today? And how can we find new ways to tackle social challenges, such as equal opportunities, while also contributing to building public spaces and engaging in democratic conversations?

The Europe Challenge brings libraries and communities together to define their most pressing challenges. It supports them to find ways to tackle those challenges by recognising that our libraries have a unique role in helping communities meet the everyday challenges across our continent.

Among the seven libraries selected to be part of The Europe Challenge, each library identified seven challenges, with one of them focusing on equal opportunities for all with the inclusion of women in the STEM [science, technology, engineering en mathematics] field. With the general public being influenced by the prejudice that areas of STEM are not for women and women face prejudices concerning their technical abilities. Kranj City Library (SL) chose their local Europe Challenge: women’s participation in STEM environments and titled their project Technophobia is not for women.

Their project Technophobia is not for women penetrates deeper into the understanding of the advantages and challenges that women face in science and technology. With the help of their Europe Challenge team, they identified and supported their local and broader community’s needs and focused on how the library can connect the community to encourage women to participate in science and technology environments by offering education, workshops, and other events.

With Technophobia is not for women, they launched a short stories contest inviting individuals to write a short story about their experience or encounter with prejudices concerning women and their technical abilities. The competition raises awareness among the general public about the inequalities in society. Furthermore, it aims to break down stereotypes, reveal new possibilities, and encourage women to participate in fields usually subject to stereotypes. In promoting the competition, Kranj City Library created short films to draw attention to the stereotypical treatment of women. In one of these short clips, Lea Naglič, a software tester at Nicelable under Loftware, expressed her personal story of how Technophobia has affected her and, highlighted the fact that women are not taken seriously when discussing the matter of technology.

Their local communities have also driven the challenge by organising a Living Library. The Living library uses oral storytelling to present women role models from different STEM fields with various institutions working in STEM and helped with the women who were “living books” and role models from the field.

Kranj’s local Europe Challenge integrates with the broader Europe Challenge by upgrading our public space to vocalise critical thinking and deal with stereotypes by giving a voice to the local community and the chance to cooperate with possible solutions for the challenges. PhD. Saša Novak, a participant of their Europe Challenge team, states that “As a strong player in the public space, the library can address the widest public of the local environment and co-create programs with the local community that follow our goal; of creating an environment of equal opportunities.”

Kranj City Library has successfully gained positive attention, with a representative from the library being nominated for Woman of the year by City of Women (our 2019 ECF Princess Margriet Award for Culture laureates) due to this project.

You can watch the short films made at the Kranj City Library to promote the competition for writing good stories entitled Technophobia is not for women below. Read more about their community stories here.