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GEM-Tech Awards 2014: Finalists

This annual award seeks to create a platform for advancing women's meaningful engagement with ICTs and their role as decision-makers and producers within this sector. In considering "gender equality mainstreaming" we are looking not only at ICT, government and development actors that are mainstreaming gender equality perspectives within their work, but also ICT and gender advocates that are seeking to "mainstream" gender equality into a larger context.
You will find below the video the list of finalists for each of the seven categories.

CATEGORY 1: ICT Applications, Content, Production Capacities and Skills for Women's Social, Political Empowerment and Women's Empowerment Linkages with Sustainable Development. 

Women's Network Equality in Decision Making – Virtual Platform (Albania)

The Virtual Platform is an online portal which provides information, statistic and comprehensive data about women in Albania. It that empowers women by increasing their visibility, contributes to creating a balance portrayal of women and mitigates the lack of equal access of women in the media, especially during the electoral campaign in Albania. The Virtual portal provides an opportunity for promotion, communication, information, and participation of all women, citizens, organizations, and institutions that want to make a contribution to achieving gender equality in decision-making structures and to society in general.  

Instituto Patrícia Galvão, Mulher e Mídia – Agencia Patrica Galvao (Brazil)

The goal of the Agencia Patricia Galvao project is to better use internet and social media as an essential tool to advocate for women's rights and gender equality. In 2009 the Institute created the Agencia Patrica Galvao (, a website that provides information on women's rights in seven major areas: media, politics and women empowerment, violence against women, racism, policies for equality in labor market, sexual and reproductive rights, and LGBT rights. 
UNESCO – Women in African History: An E-Learning Tool (Africa)

Women in African History: An E-Learning Tool is a platform that consists of multimedia educational resources including comic strips, audio modules, and quizzes which highlight the role of women in African history.  Ensuring meaningful engagement of young girls with ICTs through the production of relevant local content, the e-learning tool ensures capacity-building of young girls as both decision-makers and producers in the ICT Sector.  The platform is currently available English and French, with several African languages to be rolled out by 2015 to further promote multilingualism in cyberspace and encourage access of rural populations.
Video Volunteers – India Unheard (India)

Video Volunteers is a media and human rights organization that works to empower people from the most marginalised communities of India— women, Dalits, Tribals, economically weaker groups— and trains them in videography, journalism and activism, enabling them to tell the stories of their communities from their own perspectives. Through their project IndiaUnheard, they are creating a network of Community Correspondents across India (one per district), amplifying community voices to facilitate better decision making and law enforcement, by bringing the knowledge of marginalized, and until now voiceless, communities to policy and decision-makers.
Muso Ladamunen – MAMMA project (Mobile Mothers against Malaria in Mali) (Mali)

The MAMMA project (Mobile Mothers against Malaria in Mali) has been integrated in Muso Ladamunen's innovative approach of healthcare for the poorest of the poorest; by making use of mobile phones and MAMMA, a locally developed mobile application, local Community Health Workers can proceed with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of malaria in a more efficient and cost effective manner and serve more people in the poorest neighbourhoods of the capital Bamako. 
Jensine Larsen – Founder, World Pulse (USA)

Jensine Larsen has been the facilitator of innumerable programmes, job opportunities and learning opportunities, and has worked tirelessly to partner with global programmes to provide additional resources for women and girls around the world. She is the founder of World Pulse, an online media network which connects women worldwide on a number of important issues including making progress on women's rights and women in ICT. With 60,000 members from more than 190 countries, the network has helped to empower over 2.2 million people globally.

CATEGORY 2: ICT Applications, Content, Production Capacities and Skills for Women's Economic Empowerment and Poverty Reduction

iMerit Technology Services (India)

iMerit provides scalable, web-based solutions to global clients that help transform their businesses.  iMerit empowers 500 young employees, 70% of whom are women, from minority and socio-economically marginalized communities in rural areas of India by providing a motivating digital work environment and training them to deliver high quality, agile services for iMerit's international client base.

iMerit's 'human capital model' is a 3-step process which empowers its 500 young employees: rural women are mobilized for an intensive 12-week market-aligned course, preparing them for employment in IT-service; students with strong IT skills are recruited to work in iMerit teams that deliver projects to clients; finally, employees are up-skilled and encouraged to enter leadership positions so that they can increase their incomes and prepare to build powerful careers.

Sophie Kumwanje – Malawi Country Manager, Grow Movement, (Malawi)

Grow Movement provides virtual consultancy to female entrepreneurs, aimed at improving their ICT, financial literacy and marketing skills which enables each woman to run their businesses better, employ more people in their community and earn more money.

Through her encouragement and dedicated support, Sophie has helped to increase the confidence of many women in Malawi, and create or improve over 100 businesses in her community. She has worked tirelessly to encourage women to use email, the internet and Skype in order to be able to access Grow Movement services and in doing so, has introduced the world of the internet to many new people.

Information and Knowledge Society (CSIC) - (Mexico)

The website facilitates information and communication among migrant women and their families. It currently receives a monthly average of 2,500 visits and hosts over 700 digital services and content with focus on gender and human rights, including infographs, videos, courses, applications, and emergency numbers. Other services include a 40 hour on-line course 'Women Who Migrate' which addresses topics on human rights, gender equality, digital inclusion and the main problems associated with migration process.  

Mercy Corps – Gaza Sky Geeks (Palestine)

Gaza Sky Geeks has emphasized promoting women's empowerment since its founding.  Not only have they provided specialized programming in recognition of the additional challenges that women face, they make a concerted effort for women to be represented at all of their events. Women have frequently led winning teams at their Startup Weekend events for entrepreneurs, in turn becoming exemplars and mentors for other women.
PROMUC (Promoción de la Mujer y la Comunidad) – Capacity Development Programme (Peru)

Noting that many impoverished women who benefit from group-lending live in rural or semi-urban areas need training to learn the basics of financial services, PROMUC's capacity development programme includes sessions about best practices in small business management, business plan development, insurances and over-indebtedness. This helps women to become more empowered and sensitized to money and investment management which minimises the risks of bad spending habits ending in bankruptcy. 

Asikana Network (Zambia)

The organization aims to increase female participation in computer science. In order to do so, the Asikana Network focuses on teaching ICT skills to young girls, paying particular attention to vulnerable girls so that they can access better jobs. The organization provides ICT skills and training development, mentoring and placements for the young women who have ICT qualifications. As a result, women who have participated in the training are more confident to work alongside men in ICT services. The Asikana Network has partnered with the Zambian government to roll out ICT training to clubs across the country. 

CATEGORY 3:  Promoting Women in ICT Sector - initiatives aimed at attracting, retaining and promoting women within the ICT sector and into decision-making positions (private and public sector)

 Luna Shamsuddoha – President, Bangladesh Women in Technology (Bangladesh)

Luna's efforts have been in gender equality and inclusion of women and girls through education participation in the ICT sector in particular. She has been engaged in a number of activities to promote gender empowerment within the ICT sector including leadership roles in private business, government and the banking sector, and advocacy work through speaking roles and work with various NGOs.

Ethel Cofie – Founder, Women in Technology Alliance Africa (Ghana)

Ethel Cofie is the founder of the Women in Tech group in Ghana, a platform to help women in the ICT industry grow and climb the cooperate ladder with networking sessions. The events have brought together a variety of speakers such as Estelle Akrofi, Country Manager of Google, and Otema Yirenkyi, Country Manager of Microsoft Ghana, who draw on their diverse range of backgrounds and personal experiences to discuss tips, tricks, and anecdotes on how women can take advantage of changes happening in the high tech world.
Ifat Baron – Executive Director, ITWorks-Empowering People (Isreal)

Ifat Baron established ITWorks, an Israeli non-profit organization in 2006, to provide economically disenfranchised women throughout Israel with technological training, professional skills, and job placement support, helping them launch careers in unfilled positions in Israel's hi-tech and communications industries. ITWorks has provided approximately 1,100 women with the tools for financial self-sufficiency and long-term integration into Israel's thriving technology sectors, successfully maintaining a 73% quality job placement rate.

 Dr Salim Sultan Salim Al Ruzaiqi – CEO, Information Technology Authority (Oman)

Dr Salim is active in bridging the digital gender divide and empowering women in Oman. Realising that Omani women cannot be left behind in the pursuit of knowledge in the digital age, he has implementation of various capacity building initiatives targeted for Omani women, so they become avid users and contributors in a knowledge-based economy.

BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT (UK)

Established in 2007, BCSWomen is a group of almost 1500 IT professionals who, as volunteers, work on numerous initiatives to encourage more women to join the IT profession and support those who are part of it, including training courses, virtual activities using social media and discussion groups. The group comprises women working in technology based roles from across all industry sectors and has an international membership. 


CATEGORY 4:  Enabling Girls to Become ICT Creators - initiatives aimed towards providing girls with an opportunity to become not just active users but also creators of ICTs and content

CEFEPROD (Women's Centre for the Promotion of Development) (Cameroon)

The organization is engaged in multiple activities to encourage women and girls to participate in the ICT sector. These include annual 'Girls in ICT Day' celebrations which aim to encourage thousands of young girls to choose science courses and careers in the ICT sector by giving talks in schools, hosting competitions  and inviting female leaders in the ICT sector  to share their experiences with the girls. Working in partnership with Cameroon's Ministry of Post and Telecommunications (MINPOSTEL), CEFEPROD has created a virtual e-training platform to promote the Internet as a tool for education, training, information and socioeconomic development. Online modules including 'retouching and vectorization of images' and 'industrial and 3D Modelling of expert systems', encourages women and young girls to use their new skills to create ICT micro-enterprises.

Research Center for Feminist Action (CIPAF) (Dominican Republic)

E-Chicas and Supermáticas STEM clubs for girls and young women ensure that they are not excluded from areas of knowledge because of their sex, while helping fill the gap in professionals in studying math, science, engineering and technology, which affects the Dominican Republic's competitiveness in the world economy.

The clubs are committed to improving the quality of life of girls by building their self-esteem, teaching them about collaborative work, leadership, and promoting gender awareness. The girls receive special training including an introduction to robotics, electronics, coding, and tutoring support in math and science.

The STEM clubs also aim to address girls' retention in school and the problems of early pregnancy by teaching them about their sexual and reproductive rights, thus strengthening their self-awareness. 

Colegio del Futuro – E-learning platform (Guatemala)

Colegio del Futuro's e-learning platform, includes the Blended Learning Classroom, which allows girls to advance at their own pace, take their computer tablets with content and work offline from home and get introduced to projects that are related to lifeskills. They have seen girls empowered by constructing their own knowledge by using our platform and content in the right way.  They are instructing girls to continue to high school education, to speak English, to learn valuable life-skills and treat technology as an aid in their life.

VHTO – Girlsday (Netherlands)

VHTO, the Dutch national organization on girls/women and science/technology, has been the coordinator and initiator of the Dutch Girlsday since 2006.  Its aim is to encourage girls to become familiar with science, technology and ICT from a young age. Every year, a variety of companies and organizations open their doors to girls (age 10-15) who are offered the opportunity to participate in interesting activities organised especially for them, and to see first-hand how science and technology are used in everyday professional practice. In 2014, 8,400 girls participated.

Alja Isakovic – Community Manager, Cube Sensors; Organizer, Rails Girls; Member, Young Advisor Expert Group for the Implementation of Digital Agenda for Europe (Slovenia)

Alja is a tech blogger, community manager, startup mentor and a Rails Girls organizer. She sets out to help make ICT education more flexible, inclusive, friendly and in touch with the needs of the real world. She regularly organizes programming workshops for women, training them how to build their first web application and allowing them to get an insight into software development processes in a fun and friendly way. Alja is the force behind many coding activities across Europe including EU Code Week, a grassroots initiative of the young advisers to European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes which was first conceived and developed by Alja.


Category 5: Closing the ICT Gender Gap - Ensuring ICT accessibility for women, such as digital literacy training and ensuring affordable and meaningful access to ICTs by women. Initiatives aimed at measuring the ICT gender gap including research and data on women's engagement with ICTs and their impact

Claudia Calvin – Founder, Mujeres Construyendo (Mexico)

Claudia Calvin is the founder of the first platform for Spanish speaking women bloggers: Mujeres Construyendo ( Founded in 2009, its objective is to promote women´s empowerment through ICT both by growing the presence of women in the online, and increasing their awareness of their importance within the ICT sector. The platform is an international and multicultural platform, attracting users from across Latin America, Spain and Mexico, and currently reaching a community of about 20,000 users, growing around 150% per year.


Women's Technology Empowerment Centre (W.TEC) (Nigeria)

Set up in 2008, the Women's Technology Empowerment Centre (W.TEC) builds the capability of Nigerian girls and women to increase their economic power and to speak about issues affecting their lives through information and communication technology (ICT)-based training and projects, focusing on education, activism, entrepreneurship, and professional activities. This is done through technology literacy training, technology-based projects, mentoring, work placement and research. Foundation – Telecentre Women (Philippines)

Telecentre Women (TCW) is a global, multi-stakeholder initiative of Foundation (TCF) geared towards bridging the gender gap in ICT by empowering women and girls with ICT training, knowledge, entrepreneurship and skills that expand their opportunities for better lives. The initiative started out as a Digital Literacy Campaign in 2011, and has since transformed into a major TCF programme that seeks to make an even greater impact on the lives of millions of women and girls worldwide, building on the digital skills already gained and empowering them further by equipping them with entrepreneurial skills and mentors as well as through advanced online training. 

International Research and Exchange Board (IREX) – Bibliomist  (Ukraine)

IREX launched Bibliomist, a technology for development programme in the Ukraine in 2007. The programme's main objectives are to use ICTs to bring library information distribution into the 21st century, by equipping the libraries with the necessary technology and training librarians in how to use it to better serve library visitors.  As over 98% library staff members on the programme are women, training ranging from the very basics of internet searches to website development has had a demonstrable impact on the gender ICT gap and women's social empowerment in the Ukraine.

Nancy Hafkin – Senior Associate, Women in Global Science and Technology (WIGSAT) (USA)

Dr Hafkin has helped to raise global awareness of issues related to gender and information technology and development by contributing to raising awareness about the gender dimension of ICTs both through contributing to various books and essays, and leading academic research. Dr Hafkin's extensive work in gender and ICTs statistics has helped in the development and strengthening of sex-disaggregated ICT statistics which is crucial for evidence-based policymaking on gender and ICTs and advocacy efforts on women and ICTs.


Category 6: Efforts to Reduce Threats Online and Building Women's Confidence and Security in the Use of ICTs

Fundação Torino – Fighting Gendercide (Brazil)

The Fundação Torino school has developed the project 'Fighting Gendercide' to educate teenagers about state of violence against women in Brazil. With the help of a virtual map, the project shows how relevant the matter is within the country. By exposing the issue, highlighting examples and facilitating discussions on how to prevent it within society, the project enables young boys and girls to become agents of change. The platform has been so successful within the classrooms that it grew to include topics such as women in history, the role performed by women in the colonization process and maternity, enhancing students' awareness of issues faced by women in society and helping to fight gender stereotypes across a broader context. 

Anusha Rehman – Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication, Government of Pakistan (Pakistan)

Anusha Rehman, a Pakistani politician and professional with previous association with the ICT sector, is the current Minister of State for Information Technology and Telecommunications. In little over a year in office, Ms Rehman has initiated a number of projects and programmes that have brought Pakistan closer to the international pace of growth in the IT industry, and that enable enhanced role of women in the sector as well as enhanced benefit of women in general from ICT services and systems. These include information sharing mechanisms on areas like maternity health, disbursing stipends to school going girls and welfares to poverty ridden families and the legislation for the prevention of Cyber Crime bill. 

Association for Progressive Communication (APC) – Feminist Tech Exchanges (FTX) (South Africa)

Through skills diffusion and capacity building, the Feminist Tech Exchange (FTX) empowers women's rights organizations, advocates and feminists. FTXs train women's rights advocates in essential internet, audio and other technical skills to enable them to use technology to more effectively to document abuses, build knowledge, disseminate information, mobilize support and amplify pressures for change. A total of 84 FTXs were held from 2008 to 2014, involving over 2,300 participants from 41 countries.

Association for Progressive Communications (APC) – Take Back the Tech! (South Africa)

Since 2005, APC Women's Rights Programme has looked at the connection between information and communication technologies (ICTs) and violence against women (VAW), and found this to be a critical issue that compelled deeper engagement. The Take Back the Tech! (TBTT) campaign was initiated in 2006 as one of the ways of achieving this goal. TBTT is a collaborative campaign that accompanies the annual 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence (25 November-10 December) to harness ICTs to end violence against women. The campaign calls on all ICT users – especially women and girls – to take control of technology and strategically use any ICT platform at hand (mobile phones, instant messengers, blogs, websites, digital cameras, email, podcasts and more) as part of their activism against gender-based violence.

Deborah Taylor Tate – C-Chair, Healthy Media Commission for Positive Images of Women and Girls (USA)

Throughout a distinguished three-decade career spanning the public and private sectors, Deborah Taylor Tate has been an active and consistent champion and advocate for women.  Her work has ranged from local activity in her hometown of Nashville, Tennessee, to leadership of organizations and initiatives across the United States and internationally, including encouraging positive images of women and girls as co-chair of the Healthy Media Commission for Positive Images of Women and Girls, and is the co-founder of Renewal House, a 24-hour home for mothers fighting crack cocaine addiction. 


Category 7: ICT and Broadband strategies policies, framework that promote women's digital empowerment

Women and Information Society NGO - Enabling Girls to Become ICT Creators (Armenia)

The Women and Information Society NGO engage in multiple activities to promote gender equality and mainstreaming in Armenia, including participating in international High Level Dialogues and celebrating 'Girls in ICT Day'. Events aim to increase engagement of girls in the ICT sector and promote technology as an exciting career choice for girls and women in Armenia. In 2014, over 98 per cent of the girls in attendance classified the day as 'good' or 'very good'. 

Federal Ministry of Communication Technology (Nigeria)

The social and economic transformation of Nigeria requires that the economically active population be empowered and productive. Women, a significant part of this population, traditionally tend to be marginalized, but ICTs provide a useful avenue for the inclusion and active participation of women in development. The Nigerian government recognizes ICTs as tools for empowering women and girls and has put in place policy frameworks to ensure that gender issues move from the sidelines of policy and decision making and become one of the key priorities. These include the National ICT Policy and the National Broadband Plan which calls for a conscious effort to target women "who would not normally see the need for the use of ICT". Implementation of the policies is exemplified by the gender-oriented projects of the government aimed at increasing the interest and capacities of girls in ICT-related subjects, increasing the employability of young women in ICT fields and expanding the knowledge and connectedness of Nigerian women through mobile phone technology.

Information and Communications Technology Office – Philippine Community eCenter Program (national digital inclusion programme) (Philippines)

The Philippine Community eCenter (CeC) Program has established technology centres to provide critical ICT, e-government and social services in areas with minimal or no access to information and government services, with particular consideration given to underserved groups such as the elderly, people with disabilities, and women. To date, CeCs all over the country have committed to train at least 9,110 women. Through the CeCs, a plethora of initiatives specifically designed to empower Filipinas and promote gender empowerment have been launched, including the Philippine Digital Literacy for Women Campaign (PDLWC) which provides basic digital literacy training for grassroots women, and Tech Age Girls (TAG), an activity which utilizes ICT to empower young female high school students.

Digital Inclusion Capacity Building for Women – Digital Society Department, Ministry of Information and Commerce (Qatar)

Since 2012, the Qatar initiative has provided targeted support that empowered women in both their personal and professional lives through ICT. The programme has established a sustainable system of local community organizations through which they have delivered digital inclusion training to over 580 women who had no previous engagement with technology from all over Qatar. Other work includes providing a range of basic ICT skills; raising awareness of social media channels to promote their small businesses and empowering women to work more flexibly and from home using ICT. 

Gender Division, Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) - The Gender Equality Observatory (Spain)

The Gender Equality Observatory analyses the fulfilment of international gender-equality goals and targets by making strategic gender inequality indicators and analytical tools for policymaking available to government, and developing annual reports offering a diagnosis of inequalities in key areas such as gender violence, health and reproductive rights. The Gender Equality Observatory has produced eight e-learning courses on important issues such as statistics and gender indicators, time management, and indicators of violence against women.