The third annual Gender Equality and Mainstreaming in Technology (GEM-TECH) Awards by UN Women and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), is now open for nominations.
According to ITU the awards is targeted at recognizing leaders and organizations using the power of technology to create greater gender equality
ITU says the prestigious global prize will focus on three categories based on outstanding contributions from women and men (individuals and organizations) in addressing the digital gender divide across the globe.
ITU adds that the GEM-TECH awards can play an important role in highlighting what works, where initiatives can be scaled and where further investments can be made and it also showcases how ICTs dramatically improve socio-political and economic outcomes, as well as gender equality for women and girls and how to advance their role as decision-makers and technologists.
The UN specialised agency for ICT estimates a global skills shortfall of over two million ICT jobs in the coming ten years, stressing that 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.
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women Executive Director said, “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.”
“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”, she adds.
Houlin Zhao, ITU Secretary General in his submission said“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.”
Zhao further stated that the ICT industry needs more women leaders, mentors and entrepreneurs, adding that she is “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 three categories of the GEM-TECH awards include:
-Apply Technology for Women’s Empowerment and Digital Inclusion: initiatives related to women’s social, economic, political empowerment, combating gender-based violence (both offline and online), and driving sustainable development.
-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.
-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.
According to ITU, 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 while 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 slated for November 14-17, 2016.