GEM-TECH Awards to honour work promoting women’s empowerment through technology

Date: Monday, December 7, 2015

GEM-Tech Awards 2015

UN Women and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation of the City of New York, will celebrate the hard work of 12 finalists for the second Gender Equality and Mainstreaming in Technology (GEM-TECH) Awards. This joint ITU-UN Women Award recognizes the critical work that is taking place around the world to ensure that girls and women achieve digital equality by honouring exceptional projects and advocacy work linked to advancing women’s empowerment through information and communication technologies (ICTs).

Selected from a pool of nearly 150 applicants from 55 countries, the winners will be announced at a ceremony on 14 December at Civic Hall in New York City, As part of the 20-year commemoration of the Beijing Platform for Action, and on the eve of the World Summit on the Information Society +10 (WSIS+10) High Level review meeting.

The GEM-TECH Awards were launched in 2014 to raise awareness of the potential ICTs hold to improve women’s access to education, information, support networks and employment opportunities. Seven individuals and organizations were presented with GEM-TECH Awards in Busan, Korea for their accomplishments in promoting women in the technology sector, applying technology for women’s empowerment, and developing gender-responsive ICT governance and policy.

“The award enabled us to create awareness among corporate clients and international agencies of iMerit’s unique workforce –– skilled marginalized young women –– and the enormous potential unleashed by their becoming part of global digital economy,” said Laura Guzman, a representative of human-powered computing company iMerit, which won in 2014. “We've successfully skilled and employed thousands of marginalized youth and women in exciting new sectors like machine automation, data enrichment, and testing & support services. These women and youth are dreaming big and earning multiples of their earlier family income.”

“The most rewarding aspect of been a GEM-TECH awardee has been the initial exposure to new partners and supporters,” said Miguel Raimilla, Executive Director of Telecentre Foundation, which also won in 2014. “Since last year, Telecentre Foundation has expanded its collaboration to empower women and girls with ICT tools, content and other resources.”

This year’s finalists include: Cisco Networking Academy, USA; Technovation Challenge, USA; Roxana Rugina, CEO and Founder of Simplon Romania, Romania; Women in Technology Uganda, Uganda; the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, UK; Community Development Action, Georgia; the Research Center of Communication and Development Knowledge Management, Thailand; and Ooredoo, Qatar; Hanane Boujemi, Senior Manager of Internet Governance Programme, MENA Region, the Netherlands; the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, Senegal; Mujeres Digitales, Colombia; and the National Network to End Domestic Violence’s Safety Net Project, USA. Read more about them.

“This has been a signal year for women’s empowerment,” said UN Under-Secretary-General and UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. “We have decisive commitments from Heads of State and Government to prioritize gender equality, and evidence of where this must make the most impact. Through the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, we have explicit targets for increased engagement in enabling technologies for women and girls and commitment to closing the gender gap in technology by 2030. The GEM-TECH projects allow us to see what that looks like in practice and show what we can achieve through digital inclusion.”

See the awards ceremony invitation, press release and GEM-TECH brochure.