This blog post originally appeared on ITU News
Technology has long benefited from the ingenuity of women, and we must remain committed to continuing to equal the Internet and communications playing field to accomplish the most far-reaching advances. To limit expertise in the field to mostly men is to put our global society at a huge disadvantage and loss — and yet for the first year in recent history, the gender gap is increasing.
The world is moving toward competitiveness on an international and corporate scale, meaning we must include women in the talent pool to optimize outcomes. Without women, we lose a significant portion of ideas and innovation.
We must continue to hold up our women role models to inspire others to join the fold.
Tech and the Internet are not solely about intricate scientific and mathematic research, but are important to everyday lives and to all societies. The bottom line is that technology is being integrated into every single field these days, and its applications are broad and varied, so we need people at every level to push boundaries and improve our world through this interdisciplinary approach.
The EQUALS in Tech Awards are a key piece in raising the profiles of women, and, as such, this is the Internet Society’s second year sponsoring it. The EQUALS global network brings women to tech and tech to women through the efforts of corporate leaders, governments and non-profit organizations across the world.
Every year they hold awards in three distinct categories: Skills, Access and Leadership. And the 15 projects nominated as finalists in these categories represent some of the best and brightest from around the world.
This year’s finalists have just been announced, and the projects — including the Digital Citizens Fund in Afghanistan, the Lebanese Alternative Learning initiative and the Bangladesh Women in Technology group to name just a few — are pushing the definitions of global technology toward inclusivity, safety and integration in ways never before seen.
In addition to these worthy aims and accomplishments, we need to build the future of the Internet by continuing to increase opportunity for women in rural areas to become creators and producers of technology and content on the Internet.
We need to hold up women role models and amplify their voices through campaigns including Shine the Light, which highlights inspiring women making strides to create a safer, more trusted environment within the Internet; and Beyond the Net, which gives communities and individuals a chance to donate toward this cause on a local level, and through the ISOC regional branch of their choice. We must fight against the inherent distrust of women in these fields.
Worldwide, many forces are working to combat the lack of women in technological fields, and we are proud to support the programs and organizations dedicated to this goal.
For more information about the EQUALS in Tech Awards and to register for the Awards ceremony on December 19, 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland visit Equals.org.
Joyce Dogniez is the Senior Director of Global Engagement at the Internet Society. With over a decade of experience with global associations, Joyce’s work provides a link between people on the ground and policy-makers as she coordinates efforts and strategy across teams.