“I always tell women they can be like me—stronger by saving, investing, and doing business with technology,” said Admire Bio, the single mother who has opened a handful of Internet cafes in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
But for many women, particularly for rural women in lower- and middle-income countries, that’s easier said than done—they are often on the outside, looking in, when it comes to technology.
We can change that. Let’s innovate for the benefit of girls and women—and for all of us, really. The reality is that when women are given a chance to pursue their dreams, everybody wins.
The tough news: Women face a gender and technology divide. Less than a quarter of the women in Africa are Internet users. In Asia, that figure dips to 22 percent, and in the Middle East, just six percent of women have access to the web. Women also find it difficult to gain access to other technologies like radios and mobile phones.
The good news: The global economy—and the emergence of affordable technological innovations—has the potential to empower women by bridging that gap.
To help more women take charge of their lives as Admire Bio did, Intel Corporation and Ashoka Changemakers have launched the She Will Innovate: Technology Solutions Enriching the Lives of Girls competition. This challenge is designed to promote information and communication technology (ICT) solutions that improve the lives of girls and women by erasing barriers to access—exclusion from education and design, financial constraints, social norms favoring men, and the lack of free time—and accelerating digital literacy and economic resilience.
If you’re helping to bridge the gender and technology divide through ICT training programs, mobile phone services for rural villages, or other means, we want to hear from you!
There is more than US $30,000 in unrestricted cash funding up for grabs, including the special US $5,000 “She Will Innovate Idea Award” for the best early-stage initiative in the competition.
The entry deadline is August 15, 2012.
She will innovate if given half a chance … what are you waiting for?