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18 Jun, 2015

Nominations open for ITU/UN Women GEM-Tech awards to recognise drivers of change

Geneva, 18 June 2015 –Nominations are now open for the annual Gender Equality and Mainstreaming in Technology (GEM-Tech) Awards, a global prize that recognizes outstanding contributions from women and men in leveraging the potential of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to promote gender equality.

The awards will be conferred on outstanding people or organizations working in the field of gender empowerment at a ceremony to be held in New York in December, as part of activities around the World Summit on the Information Society +10 Review.

Winners will travel to New York to accept their award from ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao and UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, and join a global celebration promoting the power of ICTs to transform lives.

“In 2014 we celebrated the achievements of many amazing GEM-Tech winners 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,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “ITU is delighted to support our GEM-Tech partner, UN Women, in the 2015 awards, and encourages all those committed to using ICTs to empower women to submit their entry to the competition.”

As the global community prepares to commit to a new UN framework for sustainable development for the next 15 years, ITU and UN Women believe the use of ICTs should be recognized in the Sustainable Development Goals as an important means of implementing gender equality commitments. The year 2015 also marks the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action, and the GEM-Tech Awards are an opportunity to highlight ways in which women’s meaningful access, use and development of technology can be achieved.

This year’s awards span three categories:

  • Application of Technology for Women’s Empowerment: Recognizing applications of technology across all sectors, and particularly the pillars of the Beijing Platform for Action, for the empowerment of women and to achieve gender equality
  • Women in the Technology Sector: Recognizing success in the promotion of girls and women as creators, drivers, leaders and decision-makers in the technology sector
  • Gender-Responsive Technology Governance, Policy and Access: Recognizing efforts to bridge the gender digital divide through strategies, policies and regulations that ensure enabling and foundational factors such as access, connectivity, security, digital literacy and citizenship.

Online nominations are open until 11:59 EDT on 31 July 2015 here or at www.itu.int/en/action/women/gem/Pages/award-2015.aspx. ITU and UN Women encourage men and women working in the ICT sector to nominate their colleagues – or themselves – with the final three winners to be selected by a committee of experts from ITU, UN Women, and 2014 GEM-Tech winners.

“If we want to end gender inequality by 2030 we need to use all the tools as our disposal, aim for bold and transformative changes and ensure that women are leaders in critical 21st century sectors. ICTs hold incredible promise and influence. We must do our utmost to accelerate their positive application for gender equality and to achieve equality within the technology sector itself. We look to GEM-Tech for exactly this focus and inspiration,” said UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

The disclosure of ‘diversity’ figures by major tech companies, including Google, Facebook, Yahoo and Linked In, reveal that, across the board, the number of women in tech jobs is well under 20%. The GEM-Tech Awards complement ITU’s annual Girls in ICT Day initiative, which aims to promote the many opportunities in the tech sector to school-age girls who are choosing their career path.

ITU estimates a global skills shortfall of over two million ICT jobs in the coming ten years.  With digital technologies now pervading 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. More information on ITU’s ICT and gender activities is available here.

Information on the 2014 GEM-Tech Awards ceremony and winners can be found here.