Nominations open for ITU/UN Women GEM-Tech awards

Recognizing leaders and organizations using the power of technology to create greater gender equality

Date: 18 May 2016

GEM-Tech Awards 2016 logo

(Geneva) The third annual Gender Equality and Mainstreaming in Technology (GEM-Tech) Awards by UN Women and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), opened today for nominations. This prestigious global prize recognizes outstanding contributions from women and men (individuals and organizations) in addressing the digital gender divide by embracing the potential of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to empower women and girls.

The GEM-Tech awards can play an important role in highlighting what works and where initiatives can be scaled and further investments made. Moreover, it showcases how ICTs dramatically improve sociopolitical and economic outcomes, as well as gender equality for women and girls and how to advance their role as decision-makers and technologists.

“To achieve gender equality in this sector by 2030, ICT policy makers, industry leaders and educators all need to use the full range of assets available to them, and that especially means seeing girls and women as creators, drivers, leaders and decision-makers in the technology sector,” said UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. “Getting the levels of access, skills and recognition needed will also require the support that comes from serious changes in policies and regulation. We look to GEM-Tech for exactly this focus, and to the generations being inspired by these awards to achieve equality within the technology sector itself.”

ITU estimates a global skills shortfall of over two million ICT jobs in the coming ten years. With digital technologies now embedded in every business sector, girls and young women who learn coding, apps development and computer science will have a significant advantage over their non-tech-trained peers, regardless of the field in which they eventually choose to work.

“The challenge of achieving greater gender equality in the ICT sector is an urgent one that needs to be addressed by government, industry, civil society and academia working together,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “The ICT industry needs more women leaders, mentors and entrepreneurs so I am delighted that the GEM-Tech initiative can celebrate the achievements of many amazing and inspiring people and organizations from around the world, as well as some outstanding Global Achievers who have really been making a difference to gender balance in the technology sector.”

The 2016 GEM-Tech awards will focus on three categories:

  1. Apply Technology for Women's Empowerment and Digital Inclusion: initiatives related to women’s social, economic, political empowerment, combatting gender-based violence (both offline and online), and driving sustainable development. 
  2. Promote Women in the Technology Sector: initiatives that promote more gender equality in ICT/STEM education and careers, especially initiatives where girls and women are cultivated as creators, developers, leaders and decision-makers.
  3. Develop Gender-Responsive ICT Governance: initiatives focused on new legislation, policy frameworks or internal corporate strategy to improve   women's access, connectivity, security, digital literacy and citizenship, skills development and rights. 

The final three winners will be selected by a committee of experts from ITU, UN Women and a panel selected from the 2015 GEM-Tech winners.

The awards will be conferred on outstanding individuals or organizations accelerating gender empowerment at a ceremony to be held in Bangkok, Thailand, as part of the ITU Telecom World event (14-17 November 2016).

Online nominations are open until 31 July and further information is available here.

More information on ITU’s ICT and gender activities is available here.

Information on the 2015 GEM-Tech Awards ceremony and winners can be found here, and at UN Women’s site.

Please Join the #GEMTechAwards conversation on Twitter and be the first to learn about upcoming announcements on exciting new GEM-Tech partnerships.

For more information, please contact:
Sarah Parkes
Chief, Media Relations and Public Information, ITU
Tel: +41 22 730 6135
Mobile: +41 79 599 1439
E-mail: sarah.parkes@itu.int