UNDP celebrates women and girls all over the world who lift their communities up, and show the potential of what we can do. Together.
The Future is Female
Think equal: how women’s ideas are transforming our world
It is said that women hold up half the sky, but too often many of us may not realize by just how much.
Yet all over the world, and in all walks of life, women are creating, designing, and innovating to make better lives for ourselves, our families, our communities.
Women are building a bridge of equality; connecting to others and imagining more prosperous and more fulfilling work. They’re taking on the ‘digital divide’ which disproportionately handicaps the rural and the poor.
Women’s equality is one of the most surefire ways to raise people and nations out of poverty, tackle climate change, and help fulfil the Sustainable Development Goals.
Because women are more likely to be disadvantaged, who knows better how to create an equitable future?
Nastarin and Sevinch
Innovation for a family living with disability
“Our motivation was our brother. Doctors say it’s difficult to bring up children with Down Syndrome because there are not enough programmes to help them. After the birth of our brother we didn’t have any information about this diagnosis. That’s why it was shocking for my parents. It was difficult to get away from depression and anxiety, and from the social side too it was challenging.” - Nastarin and Sevinch, Uzbekistan.
Inha University in Tashkent has hosted Technovation Uzbekistan since 2016. It’s part of a worldwide technological contest for young women, to bring more of them into IT, business and entrepreneurship. Nastarin and Sevinch created an application, called Sun Child, which includes a questionnaire designed by American professors to help families determine at what stage of development their Down Syndrome child is at. Sun Child also includes a multimedia section with videos, and a consultation section where people can find doctors who specialize in Down Syndrome.
Fatima and Aziza
Creating business opportunities for Libyan women
“My co-founder Aziza Adam and I were giving a workshop on cybersecurity for journalists and while we were preparing the material we got hungry and craved homemade food! We started to plan an application where you can get homemade food as an inside joke, but we actually noticed the market gap. So we conducted market research and found that women suffer several problems like social boundaries, security issues, and fear of failing. Considering our backgrounds, we decided to help those women and add value to the community and hungry people like ourselves as well. It's a mixture of passion for change and love for food,” - Fatima, Tripoli
Two young women decided to create career opportunities for home cooks. Their food delivery app Yummy, markets, sells and delivers delicious, fresh, home-cooked food. The EU and UNDP, in partnership with Tatweer Research, gave a grant to Yummy! and five other start-ups to support their entrepreneurship.
Safe food and clean water for rural communities
“In the villages, women who have just given birth sometimes suffer from infections and could die just because they cannot get hot water to nurse themselves and their babies.” - Hawa, Sierra Leone
The annual Social Good Summit in Sierra Leone inspires young entrepreneurs to come up with ideas for challenges facing local families. In 2018, Hawa won in her category for ‘Co-Hot’, a food and water storage system made of recycled wood and lined with foil paper. This simple but effective way to keep food and drinks at the right temperature without electricity came about because Hawa wanted to give new mothers and babies a fighting chance without adequate infrastructure and subsequently with one of the highest worldwide rates of maternal-child deaths.
Fostering smart, relevant learning, even in war
“Education should never stop because of war and conflict. Education is the only weapon that gives meaning and hope for the future for the young generation in such times.” Eva, South Sudan
The Go Girls ICT Initiative is an organization founded by young women to engage, educate and empower women and girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Volunteers mentor university students, who in turn introduce school children to computer literacy and basic programming skills through Scratch, a platform that create stories using graphics and animation.
The topics are selected by the students, and focus on awareness of domestic violence, preventing transmittable diseases, and protecting young girls from early marriage and HIV/AIDS.
Weaving new techniques into ancient traditions
“Before, we used to spin with the spinning wheel, it took a long time, now with the solar spinning machine we have doubled our production.” - Ruth, Peru
Ruth is a young artisan from Sibayo, Arequipa. She began learning textile artisanship at 10 years old, from her best teacher, her mother. Ruth remembers that she used to dislike weaving. “But later, I understood that artisanship was my mom’s legacy, her heritage. It was part of my culture,” she says proudly.
She is a member of the Sumac Pallay Association, where women knit sweaters, hats, scarves and blankets with 100 percent natural alpaca wool.
The skill the women of Sibayo show when spinning wool has no comparison. Always striving to improve, they’ve developed instruments and innovative techniques, such as the portable solar panels they use outdoors to spin the wool faster and better.
Tackling what cannot be said
“It’s important for me. Most of our people think that these cases are shameful for victims. They believe that this kind of things happen because of the behaviour of the victims, like not wearing suitable clothing, or having a flirty personality.” - Khine, Myanmar.
Violence against women and girls is a silent public health emergency in Myanmar and perpetrators go largely unpunished. ‘To Lon May’ (For Our Women) is a ground-breaking Burmese-language mobile app that aims to help survivors of sexual assault. It will connect them to information, counseling, healthcare, and law enforcement. The team wants to raise public awareness to address stigma and to provide guidance for friends and families who support survivors of sexual assault.
“As we celebrate International Women’s Day 2019, let us join forces in calling on industry leaders, game-changing start-ups, social entrepreneurs, and activists to help bridge the gender digital divide – to work together, to share their innovations and to remove barriers to women in order to accelerate progress towards true and universal gender equality.” - Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator