Achieving gender equality in innovation and technology
On September 14th UN Women launched the Global Innovation Coalition for Change (GICC), a unique new alliance of 22 partners from the private sector, non-governmental organizations and academic institutions committed to contributing toward the fulfillment of SDG #5 – achieving gender equality by 2030. More specifically, over the next two years the GICC members have committed to driving industry-wide action that will make the innovation market work better for women and girls.
The GICC launch event was held at Hudson Yards on the island of Manhattan – the largest private real estate development in U.S. history with more than 18 million square feet of commercial and residential space, as well as 14 acres of public space. For many New Yorkers, Hudson Yards is a symbol of vision, energy, transformation and an ‘anything is possible’ attitude, which made it the ideal place to launch the GICC.
Equal opportunities in innovation and technology
Since Ericsson is one of the 22 partners selected to join the GICC, I had the honor of attending the launch event. Providing access to quality education to all girls and encouraging girls to study STEM (science, technology and math) subjects were two hot topics of discussion at the launch. Both of these topics are close to my heart after all of my years working with Connect To Learn, a program that aims to increase student access to education globally, with a strong emphasis on girls.
During the launch, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women’s Executive Director, energized us all with her clear vision of a future in which all the world’s girls and women have the equal opportunity to enter into STEM careers and take full part in the digital economy. To get there, the GICC plans to make use of research and advocacy to build market awareness of the potential for innovations that meet the needs of women. It will also identify the key industry-specific barriers to women’s and girls’ advancement in innovation, technology and entrepreneurship, and work collaboratively to identify the actions required to address them. Such actions include sharing good practices, developing capacity and investing in specific innovations through targeted support.
Overcoming the barriers
After an inspiring launch, the next step for the GICC is for the coalition members to organize into work streams focused on specific barriers that prevent girls and women from becoming fully engaged in technological innovation, and figure out how they can be overcome. At Ericsson, we look forward to learning from our fellow coalition members and sharing our expertise with them. Together I am confident that we can find workable solutions.