UN Women's innovation and technology projects

UN Women is working around to world through the following initiatives to ensure that innovation and technology advances gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

Big data and gender equality

UN Women recognizes the potential of leveraging big data to improve project planning, design, monitoring and evaluation, for greater impact. In collaboration with UN Global Pulse, UN Women has published a report on Gender Equality and Big Data: Making Gender Data Visible. Based on this report, several initial ideas are in the pipeline that focus on how big data can be used to improve our understanding of issues related to gender equality. 

Making blockchain technology work for women in crisis contexts

Blockchain is a technology that offers decentralized and secure online database, records and money transfer systems. It has the potential of assisting people in humanitarian crisis and improve financial inclusion for under-privileged groups, including the 2.5 billion people who currently lack access to banking. UN Women has partnered with Innovation Norway to assess the potential of leveraging blockchain technology to address day-to-day challenges faced by women in crisis-affected contexts. Recently, UN Women led a hackathon at the Katapult Future Fest in Oslo, where hackers developed innovative solutions for recording identification data and enabling secure money transfer for women entrepreneurs in humanitarian context..

Related news: Oslo Hackathon explores new technology to empower women in humanitarian crisis

Buy from Women Enterprise Platform

In Rwanda, UN Women, in partnership with the Government and the World Food Programme (WFP), has piloted the Buy from Women Enterprise Platform—a data-driven, enterprise platform that connected small holder farmers to the agricultural supply chain and provided them with critical information on weather, market prices and incoming opportunities via text messages. The platform can help farmers predict their yields, and the data from the platform can help unlock access to finance, enabling cooperatives to invest in labour and time-saving equipment. The programme also educated farmers on gender equality issues, ensuring women’s equal participation in all areas of the supply chain, including in the front line negotiations and decision-making.

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Virtual Skills School

The Virtual Skills School is UN Women’s innovative e-learning portal to support different programmes, including closing the gender gap in climate-smart agriculture, women’s entrepreneurship, and second chance education and vocational learning for women in fragile situations. It includes foundational learning materials on financial literacy and business development, and will link to e-learning platforms with high quality content on entrepreneurial skills, accelerated primary and secondary education and vocational skills, among others. The content will be delivered through a menu of online and offline solutions based on the needs of specific target groups and development contexts. A prototype of the VSS platform (WeLearn) can be found at https://welearn.unwomen.org/.

Preventing sexual and gender-based violence in South African Higher Education Institutions

Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) is an increasingly recognized problem in schools and higher education institutions all over the world. In South Africa, SGBV in tertiary institutions has come under the spotlight in recent years, fueled by student protests demanding that their schools take the problem seriously. However, the prevention of and response to SGBV at higher education institutions have, in many instances, been inadequate. UN Women, in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Higher Education and Training HIV/Aids Programme, is leveraging innovative mobile technology to address SGBV, especially among the youth. UN Women invites students from 26 universities and 51 technical and vocational education and training centres to participate in “Ideathons”, where students design technology-driven solutions that can effectively address the problem of SGBV. For more information, visit http://ideathon.co.za/.

Featured Publication
  • Making innovation and technology work for women

    Making innovation and technology work for women
    The 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, founded on the principle of 'leaving no one behind' call for transformative shifts, integrated approaches, and innovative solutions to overcome the structural barriers to sustainable development. Innovation and technology provide unpreceded opportunities to reach those who are the most likely to be left behind. More

Planet 50–50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality