ITU and UN Women Announce Winners of the 2016 GEM-TECH Awards to Advance Gender Equality

Three organizations received today the 2016 GEM-TECH Award for their outstanding work on behalf women and girls inclusion in the digital world at Telecom World in Bangkok, Thailand, today.


The 2016 GEM-TECH Award winners by category are:


1.     Application of Technology for Women's Empowerment and Digital Inclusion

Winner: Aliadas en Cadena, Venezuela: For its work helping more than 20,000 unemployed women take control of their economic lives through computer training courses, employment skills, personal development, money management skills and support for business start-ups.


2.     Promoting Women in the Technology Sector

Winner: Working to Advance STEM Education for African Women (WAAW) Foundation, Regional: For its work providing training, mentorship and scholarships aimed at increasing the pipeline of women entering STEM fields as leaders and technology innovators.


3.     Development of Gender Responsive ICT Governance, Policy and Access

Winner: World Wide Web Foundation, Global: For its work to advance the open web as a public good and a basic right.



Jointly organized by ITU, the UN agency for ICTs, and UN Women, the GEM-TECH Awards recognize the unique power of information communication technologies (ICTs) to empower women and girls worldwide and achieve gender equality, which is #5 among the 17 Sustainable Development Goals world leaders agreed to in 2015. The awards were presented by ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao and UN Women Deputy Regional Director, Asia and the Pacific, Anna-Karin Jatfors, UN Women,  


"Women and girls have a major role to play in shaping the world, and access to ICTs will empower them tremendously," said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. "I'm proud of the 2016 GEM-TECH Awards winners and all the finalists too. They show the world how to bridge the gender gap in leadership, application, and access in ICTs in very palpable ways."


Added UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, speaking via video from UN Women's headquarters: "These efforts will ensure that women and girls can get the full benefit of the many learning, entrepreneurship and employment opportunities in the knowledge economy and technology sector. You are creating a legacy of skill and investment. I encourage you to continue mentoring women and men, girls and boys within your institutions so these rich dividends can be shared."


The GEM-TECH Awards were organized in partnership with the Internet Society, MasterCard, Verizon, Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority, Swiss Federal Office of Communications, Facebook and VimpelCom.


Kathy Brown, President and CEO of the Internet Society, said: "The Internet Society is partnering with GEM-TECH Awards because of the power of technology, particularly the Internet, to transform the lives of women everywhere. By shining the light on women in tech - especially the GEM-TECH award winners - we can make a difference in advancing the work women are doing and inspire other women to become decision makers and technology innovators."


The 2016 GEM-TECH Awards received 311 nominations from government, private sector, academic and civil society organizations from 81 countries. Online nominations were open from 18 May to 15 August, and ITU received wide-ranging nominations for innovative projects that ranged from women's health and safety apps, women in agriculture SMS-based programmes, multi-media advocacy campaigns, online edit-a-thons, ICT boot camps, digital financial inclusion programmes, online government services, Internet policy capacity building and more. `


The inaugural GEM-TECH Awards were presented at ITU's 2014 Plenipotentiary Conference held in Busan, Republic of Korea. There, seven individuals and organizations from around the world won awards for promoting gender equality and mainstreaming through ICTs. Last year, the Awards were held on 14 December 2015, where three organizations received the honour and recognition at Civic Hall in New York City.