The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) has launched the Global Innovation Coalition for Change with 22 partners from the private sector, academia and non-governmental organizations, which will work over a two-year period to encourage innovation and technology to work better for young women and girls around the world.
“Innovation and technology provide unprecedented opportunities to reach those who are the most likely to be left out of the benefits of progress. They can break women out of isolation and create a market for their innovative ideas and products,” said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the executive director of UN Women. “Through the Global Innovation Coalition for Change and similar partnerships we can bring together the best of academic brain power and research, industry practical know-how, and civil society’s drive and reach to creatively disrupt the status quo,” she added.
The partnership will focus on building market awareness of the potential for innovations that meet the needs of women through research and advocacy and will also identify the key industry-specific barriers that obstruct women’s and girls’ advancement in innovation, technology and entrepreneurship.
It will also work collaboratively to identify key actions that can help overcome these barriers through actions including sharing of good practices, developing capacity and investing in specific innovations through targeted support.
Innovation and technology offer enormous opportunity for women, girls and societies to thrive. For example, according to GSMA—which represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide—closing the gender gap in mobile phone ownership and usage could provide women with access to education, health and financial services, as well as unlock an estimated USD170 billion in market opportunities for the mobile industry by 2020. However, this potential is constrained by a number of barriers, including the significant under-representation of women in STEM-related fields, a gender-bias in research, and the lack of gender-disaggregated data, all of which limit industries’ understanding of women’s needs, access to, and usage of innovation and technology.
Harnessing the enormous potential and opportunity to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment through innovation and technology will require public-private partnerships that address these challenges in an integrated manner. UN Women’s Global Innovation Coalition for Change aims to help in creating such partnerships to bring about transformative change in the lives of women and girls.
The inaugural meeting of the coalition took place on the margins of the UN General Assembly on 14 September, at the SAP Leonardo Centre in New York City.
The complete list of Global Innovation Coalition for Change representatives includes:
- Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls: Meredith Walker, Founder; Maggie Chieffo, General Manager
- BHP Billiton: Karen Wood, Chairman of the BHP Billiton Foundation; Athalie Williams, Chief People Officer
- Businesspros and Branson Centre for Entrepreneurship South Africa: Antoinia Norman, CEO, Branson Centre for Entrepreneurship South Africa
- CISCO: Charu Adesnik, Deputy Director, Cisco Foundation
- Citi: Yolande Piazza, CEO, Citi FinTech; Corinne Lin, Head of Operations, Citi FinTech
- DELL: Jackie Glenn, VP Global Diversity and Inclusion; Trisa Thompson, Senior Vice President & Chief Responsibility Officer, Corporate Social Responsibility at Dell Technologies
- Ellevate Network: Kristy Wallace, CEO of Ellevate Network
- Ericsson: Elaine Weidman-Grunewald, Senior Vice President, Chief Sustainability & Public Affairs Officer, and Head of Sustainability & Public Affairs; Paul Landers, Program Director Technology for Good
- Facebook: Arielle Gross, Global Program Manager, Creative Shop
- General Electric: Kelli Wells, Executive Director General Electric Foundation
- HP Inc.: Nate Hurst, Chief Sustainability and Social Impact Officer; Michele Malejki, Global Head of Strategic Programs, Sustainability & Social Innovation
- Johnson & Johnson: Alice Lin Fabiano, Director, Global Community Impact; Carol Montandon, Head of Women’s Leadership Initiative
- JPMorgan Chase: Ali Marano, Executive Director: Technology for Social Good, Diversity & Inclusion at JPMorgan Chase
- LinkedIn: Nicole Isaac, Head of U.S Public Policy; Sue Duke, Senior Director of Public Policy – EMEA
- MIT Solve: Hala Hanna, Director, SOLVE at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Alexandra Amouyel, Executive Director, Solve at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- NY Academy of Sciences: Lorraine Hariton, Senior Vice President, Global Partnerships
- Pax World Management: Joe Keefe, CEO, Pax World; Heather Smith, Lead Sustainability Research Analyst
- PwC: Ben Zelinsky, PwC Partner Technology Consulting
- SAP: Jennifer Morgan, Executive Board Member for Global Customer Operations; Sinead Kaiya, COO, Products and Innovation; Ann Rosenberg, Senior Vice President and Global Head of SAP Next-Gen; Shuchi Sharma, Global Lead for Gender Intelligence, SAP Diversity & Inclusion
- Sony: Shiro Kambe, Executive Vice President, Corporate Executive Officer Legal, Compliance, Communications, CSR, External Relations and Information Security & Privacy
- South32: Patience Mpofu, Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Sustainability
- Statoil: Ana Prata Fonseca Nordang, Vice President, People and Organisation
[Image: In Jordan, adolescent girls use cellphones and tablets in a solar kiosk providing internet connectivity in the Za’atari camp for Syrian refugees, near the Syrian border. Photo credit: UNICEF/Christopher Herwig]