“What happens on the internet is a reflection of what happens in life. So harassment, sexism, chauvinism, violence against women—all that continues to happen on the internet,” says Steffania Paola Costa di Albanez. For her, and for other activists fighting gender inequality, the fight remains the same, whether it’s online or IRL, in real life.
Brazilian-born Costa, a Ford-Mozilla Open Web Fellow, is a feminist, visual artist, and self-taught developer, who leverages the power of technology to advance women’s rights and equality. Key to this is creating safe spaces for women on the internet, and using technology that empowers overlooked communities.
“Technology is dominated by men. And so the products we have, the platforms we have reflect their values. They are not women, they are not Black women—they are people who don’t suffer the same sort of oppression we suffer as women,” she says.
Costa is part of the #FutureIsHers multimedia series of interviews, essays, and more, celebrating the innovators, risk-takers, and change-makers the Ford Foundation has proudly supported and the impact they’ve had on the lives of women and girls everywhere. Despite the many challenges women and girls face, around the world they’re rising up. Determined and persistent, they’re leading the way in showing us what gender justice looks like, disrupting inequality and creating a world where social change is possible: The future is hers.