IGF 2021 – Day 3 – Launch / Award Event #42 2021 EQUALS in Tech Awards

The following are the outputs of the captioning taken during an IGF virtual intervention. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.



>> LENA OSTLUND:  Thank you for joining.  We'll pass the floor.

>> LIDIA STEPINSKA-USTASIAK: Good morning, good afternoon, good evening, everyone.  Welcome to the 2021 EQUALS in Tech Awards.  Every year, these awards recognize the transformative power and ability of the digital technologies to revolutionize lives of women and girls everywhere.  These awards celebrate women's leadership in the tech sector and recognizes outstanding research efforts in gathering the crucial data we need to help close the digital gender divide.

I am Lidia Stepinska‑Ustasiak, from the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Office of Electronic Communications in Poland.  Being a Deputy Director, I'm in charge of collaboration with international organizations and I'm also a Chairwoman of a group of the capacity building initiatives of the ITU academy platform and I'm also ‑‑ I have a pleasure to be an active participant of network of women network, network of women, which is ITU initiative supporting women and girls in active participation in upcoming WTDC.

Today, I have the pleasure and honor to be master of ceremonies of this event.

To get the event started, it is my pleasure to welcome Doreen Bogdan‑Martin, director of the Telecommunication Development Bureau of the International Telecommunication Union.  ITU is a cofounding partner of EQUALS and Doreen is the first woman to serve as one of the top ITU elected officials, thus representing the leadership goals of EQUALS for women in tech..

Thank you for being with us and the floor is yours.

>> DOREEN BOGDAN-MARTIN: Thank you so much, Lidia.  It is great to have you leading our ceremony today as moderator.  You are a real role model for many.

Thank you.  I'm so excited to be here.  This event, it is always an annual highlight of my year.  It is where we get the opportunity, I think the unique opportunity, to recognize and to celebrate amazing, amazing change maker who is are really helping to promote digital gender equality in their communities and, of course, around the world.

It is a testament to how much energy there is around this issue.  Of course, despite the challenging time, we were quite pleased to receive so many submissions, we had over 155 organizations and individuals from more than 50 countries that made submissions for these awards.  I do want to congratulate each and every one of them for their vision, for their motivation, for, of course, their commitment to leveraging the power of ICTs to create a more inclusive world.

As digital technologies continue to dramatically reshape the societies and the economies we live in, they also offer unprecedented opportunities, that's particularly true for marginalized groups like women and girls for whom digital can serve as a powerful springboard to overcoming longstanding barriers and also to help them build a better life for themselves, for their families, also for their communities.

For women to reap that full power of digital platforms and services, they need access.  They need digital skills, and, of course, they need opportunities for professional growth.  Our latest ITU statistics show roughly 4 out of 5 women in least developed countries is totally offline.  As Digital Transformation continues to sweep the globe, women are being left behind.  If we don't take rapid action, we risk entrenching the very same gender inequalities we fight each and every day that we fight in the real world and online world too.  For me, that's a tragic outcome and also a huge missed opportunity.  Change is possible, I really do believe that and this year’s EQUALS in tech finalist and winners show us what can be achieved through creativity, through dedication and through a commitment of working together.  Partnership and collaboration is critical, that's why ITU together with U.N. Women, with ITC, the International Trade Center, GSMA and the UN University came together and cofounded the EQUALS Global Partnership back in 2016.  Every year our EQUALS in Tech award winners inspire us with the concrete on the ground impact that they're making in the lives of women around the world.

From mobile apps supporting domestic workers in Brazil, to coding clubs for girls in Cambodia, to technology skills for leadership for women on the African continent, past EQUALS and tech award winners set a shining example of how to collaborate more effectively to bridge the digital gender divide.  In previous years we have come together around the world to celebrate these achievements, the pandemic makes it impossible but we'll take this year's virtual award ceremony as a demonstration and an affirmation of the exciting possibilities offered by digital connectivity.  Our goal now is to ensure that these possibilities are within reach of all women everywhere.

Our digital future can only be equal when women are at the table, designing, cocreating the tech solutions that impact us all.  As the UN Secretary‑General has said, today women's leadership is a cause, tomorrow it must be the norm.

Thank you all so much for connecting with us today and a huge congrats and thank you to all of the nominee, to the finalist, to the winners for your talent, for your hard work, you are our inspiration.  I hope your efforts and the recognition you're receiving today will motivate even more women and men around the world to commit to the EQUALS vision of a gender equitable digital world.

Thank you very much.

Back to you, Lidia.

Thank you.

>> LIDIA STEPINSKA-USTASIAK: Thank you very much, Doreen, for your inspiring words.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are privileged to have with us today a very special guest, Mrs. Lade Araba he one of our 2020 EQUALS in Tech awards skills finalists Lade is the cofounder and president of Visiola Foundation and it is an organization that mentors and trains academically excellent youth in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  Visiola centers on value‑based training, long‑term planning, effective partnership, accountability, innovation and broad leadership in the STEM fields. 

Lade, the floor is yours.

>> LADE ARABA: Thank you so much.

Good afternoon distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, as well as the fellow applicants for tech education for girls.

I would like to start off ‑‑ (poor audio quality) ‑‑ by thanking the ‑‑ (no audio).

>> LIDIA STEPINSKA-USTASIAK: We don't hear you.  The.

>> LADE ARABA: The woman in tech ‑‑ (poor audio quality)..

‑‑ (no audio).

>> LIDIA STEPINSKA-USTASIAK: Thank you for your proactive work in bridging the gender digital divide.

As always, it has been very difficult to choose only five winners.  As we have had an amazing group of finalists from all over the world.  We have had more than 155 nominees from 56 countries representing the private sector, Civil Society, governments and academia.

The winners of this year EQUALS in Tech awards will receive a pass to attend when possible given the COVID context flagship global event organized by the EQUALS partners, including travel and accommodations for the duration of the selected event.

Now the moment we have all been waiting for, let's present the 2021 EQUALS in Tech awards.

To start off this momentous occasion, let's all turn on our cameras and make the equal sign which symbolizes our commitment to gender equality.  Our host will share the photos on social media after the ceremony has finished.

I would like to invite you to the photo.

>> DOREEN BOGDAN-MARTIN: Do we have to give a demonstration of the equal sign.

Maybe, come with me, stay with me, maybe it is to the best way to take the photo of everyone in this room.

Let me continue.

To present the awards in the access category, it gives me great pleasure to welcome Mrs. Constance Bommelaer de Leusse, area Vice President Institutional Relations and Empowerment at the Internet Society.  She is responsible for the organization's relationship with international organizations and for its educational programs.

The floor is yours.

>> CONSTANCE BOMMELAER DE LEUSSE: Here is a short video to present this year's access categories finalists who have been working towards entering that women and girls have full access to digital technology, devices and services.

As a member of the EQUALS Steering Committee, I'm delighted able to announce this year's win, this year's award goes to...  Fundación BBVA Microfinanzas.  I hope I'm pronouncing this the right way.


>> Thank you!  It is a great honor for us to receive this important reward, BBVA, as many of you know, we're a non‑profit created by BBVA in 2007 with a purpose of promoting Sustainable Development of people under vulnerable conditions.  Our three strategic categories are inclusion, women empowerment and the environment, leveraging on impact measurements and Digital Transformation.

>> Through our six institutions we currently serve 2.7 million people, more than one million and a half of them are women and currently 77% of those with credit have been served through digital channels.  We accept this important award with a profound thanks of gratitude from all of our female entrepreneurs and more than 7,000 employees.  The EQUALS in Tech Award inspires us to continue our work to empower women and bridge the gender digital divide.  Through access to productive finance, digitization, training, support of their businesses, we thank the EQUALS Global Partnership.

Thank you so much for this award.

>> LIDIA STEPINSKA-USTASIAK: Thank you!  Thank you very much!  Of course, congratulations to Fundación BBVA Microfinanzas on your inspiring work.

Now let me invite Mr. Mats Granryd, Director‑General of GMSA supporting the global membership through a range of industry program, advocacy initiatives and industry convening events.  He is to present the second EQUALS in Tech Award, this time the category is skills. 

Mr. Granryd, the floor is yours.

>> MATS GRANRYD: I need to unmute I think!

Thank you very much.  It is a pleasure to be here.  Hopefully next year we'll do this in person.

This is more important than ever, generations and years people thought years of empowerment of women could be lost because of the pandemic, we also know that 90% of future jobs will require digital skills and literacy. 

Just the other week I was invited by BBVA, the previous winners to go to Madrid to talk around technology and identifying the microfinancing.  They have two different industries joining together to solve a problem.

Digital skills is critical to have in the future.

Now, it is time to meet the finalists in the digital skills category!

The winner is FemDev.  Well done!  Congratulations, FemDev.

>> LIDIA STEPINSKA-USTASIAK: Thank you.  I invite FemDev to say a few words.

>> Thank you very much.  We are pleased to receive greetings from Burundi, it is a democratization of knowledge and opportunity for all and the program FemDev on empowering women and girls in tech.  I'm the Vice‑Chair woman and founder of the program director.  This is an amazing and great honor, a good honor, thank you EQUALS and partners for allowing women and girls in tech in Burundi.  I want to thank God for this blessing, many thanks to the founder and the founder here of the time and knowledge and encouraging women and girls in tech in girls in Burundi.  We believe and trust in women and girls capability to change the game here in Burundi.  Thank you to all members and thank you for this award, thank you to everyone and to the organization that supports us in one or different ways.  Girls and women in Burundi, this is our award!  You deserve it!  Congratulations to all partners and the organization, thank you to the supporter, we'll impact more lives.  We're asking you to join us, support us with the digital literacy.

Thank you so very much!

>> LIDIA STEPINSKA-USTASIAK: Thank you very much for sharing with us your feelings, FemDev, and experience.  Of course, congratulations.

Let me now invite Dr. Anthony Giannoumis, Associate Professor from the Oslo Metropolitan University to present the award in the category of research.  He works with the ITU as the Vice‑Rapporteur for the subcommittee on ICT Accessibility and Research Coalition Lead for Equal Global Network.

The floor is yours.

>> ANTHONY GIANNOUMIS: Thank you so much!  This event is thrilling! 

Seeing all of these finalists and winners and amazing work they're doing, it is truly inspiring.  For a lot of us working in this field for a number of year, we recognize how desperate we are for very good quality data and knowledge related to the digital gender divide, I'm pleased to recognize these absolutely outstanding finalists who are doing work every day to contribute to our knowledge and understanding of the key issues in this field.

Before we announce the winner, let's meet those finalists .

Now, it was terribly difficult to pick an award because each of these initiatives are doing so much amazing work.

There was one stand out contributor who is actively working to close the digital gender divide and really give us new data and new knowledge on this key issue.  That winner is The Feminist Data:  Congratulations.  We're excited to see what you do next!

>> LIDIA STEPINSKA-USTASIAK: Congratulations.  I would like to invite you to share with us your feelings after receiving this award.

>> Hello, everyone.

Thank you so much!  My name is Neema Iyer.  I'm founder of Policy, a feminist collective where pan‑African in nature and we work at the intersection of data design and technology and I'm really, really, really excited to accept this award on behalf of my team, almost in tears!  I want to thank my team that's amaze, I want to highlight my colleague Ganatee that I worked with on this and highlight the collaborator, the chair who supported us on this project, it was very, very exciting to work with feminist movements across Africa and to understand the data needs and this is really important because as African women, it is very important for us to have a say in deciding our digital futures.  We need to reimagine what our future with data W tech can look like free from, you know, current oppressive systems.

All that to say that we need a lot more feminist research.  This award is really validating of the work that we do and I'm so proud of my team, so thankful for this award.  I invite all of you to join us on this Afra feminist journey to use data and build brighter futures for ourselves.  Thank you so much.  We're really excited!  Thank you!

>> LIDIA STEPINSKA-USTASIAK: Thank you very much.  Congratulations.

Now let's move on to the two categories of leadership awards.  The first recognizes entrepreneurial leadership in a women‑led business, the second recognizes leadership achievements in the tech sector.

I would like to invite Vanessa Erogbogbo, Chief of the Sustainable and Inclusive Value Chains Section at the International Trade Center, and she's also chair of the EQUALS Steering Committee.

We are very pleased to have her confer the award of leadership in SME.

>> VANESSA EROGBOGBO: Thank you very much.  It is fantastic to be able to join you on this occasion to recognize and celebrate these exceptional winner, I feel the excitement, it is pulpable.  Let's get to know the finalists in this category.

I am thrilled to present the EQUALS in Tech 2021 award for leadership in SMEs to an organization doing excellent work in building economic opportunities for girls and young women through ICTs.  This year's award goes to...promoting female talent in Tunisia.  Congratulations!  Well done!

>> LIDIA STEPINSKA-USTASIAK: Congratulation, bravo!  I invite the winner to share his or her feelings after receiving the award.

>> Promoting female talent:  Thank you so much.  This is a great honor to receive this prestigious award of EQUALS in Tech Award.  Thank you EQUALS for believing in us and in our mission, bringing women into leadership positions in SMEs, it is what we have been successfully doing and what we will be hopefully doing for the next upcoming years.  First of all, we would like to thank the German ministry and investing for jobs to making this program possible providing the needed funds and also would like to thank the GIZ team in Tunisia for making a successful framework to implement this project and other successful projects.

Finally, we would like to thank the Tunisia government who is building an ambitious strategy to make Tunisia a leader in digital economy.  It was not an easy year for all of U it was definitely unexpected, we went through a lot of uncertainties and we had to go through challenges because of the global pandemic but thanks to our amazing partner, we made it!  Promoting women talent is successful because of the success of the great partner companies we were working with who were committed throughout the program.  Thank you to all of the great people who were engaged with us throughout the program.

Of course, a great shoutout going out to our female talent with us today.


Finally, a special thank you goes to fintech, to those that inspired promoting women talent and thank you to those who adapted the program for Tunisia and finally, thank you to the additional transformation network that pushed the bar higher for this program.

Thank you!

>> LIDIA STEPINSKA-USTASIAK: Thank you!  Thank you very much!

And we have reached the fifth and final EQUALS in Tech Award for 2021.  Now, for the Leadership in Tech Category, I would like to invite director of the strategic partnerships at U.N. Women.

>> DANIEL SEYMOUR:  I want to echo what was said earlier by Mats, hopefully next time we do this in person.

One of the great things about these awards, it is that working in gender equality, including work on gender equality in technology is always hard and it can be lonely and there is push back and challenges including particular challenges at this point in time like our friends from promoting female talent in Tunisia mentioned and others.  For us, these awards are not just about recognition but also about appreciation and solidarity and it is great to be part of it together with all of you.

Before we announce the winner, let's see the video of our inspiring finalists, please.

Thank you very much!  I don't know about you, but every single one of the five videos of the finalists I have seen have made me feel that I wish we could give awards to all of them.  We do have a winner!  The winner is...

Ada ITW..

Ada ITW from Argentina!  Congratulations!


>> Ada ITW:  This is exciting, we're honored to have been nominated for the equals in tech award and this is amazing to be with the associations around the world working every day to empower women and to provide opportunities it technology such as training and guidance initiatives for women.  (Poor audio quality).

We look forward to working together in the near future and we would like to thank EQUALS for this recognition and our entire team of mentors and professionals who make Ada possible.  This award really motivates us to continue in our efforts and to reduce the gender gap in technology which we hope happens sooner rather than later.  Let's keep working to empower women through tech.

Thank you!

>> LIDIA STEPINSKA-USTASIAK: Thank you very much for sharing your feelings.

Well, now we see on the screen the list of our this year's winners.  Please give them again warm applause on site and online because they deserve it.

We are approaching the end of today's ceremony.  It was my real pleasure to be with you online and on site and I'm amazed by all of the projects submitted.  It is critically important to remember women and girls in all activities in Internet Protocol area on the area of education as well as development of new technological solutions and of course in the area of leadership in technology.

Thank you again for being with us.  I hope that next year we will be able to meet together physically during the next IGF.

Thank you.

>> LENA OSTLUND:  As we finish the session, the keynote speaker, we had a bit of a problem.  We want to invite her back, we really want to hear what she had to say, she is so inspiring.  So, I don't know if maybe you could turn off the video, Lade to help with the connection.  We're really looking forward to hearing what you have to say.

>> LADE ARABA: Thank you so much.

Are you able to hear me now?

>> LENA OSTLUND:  It is much better.

>> LADE ARABA: Thank you so much.  Good afternoon, congratulations to all of the winners and I want to extend a sincere message of gratitude to the EQUALS in Tech organization for recognizing these amazing organizations and individuals who truly are committed to bridging the gender divide.

Very briefly, I want to start off by asking you all to take a stroll down memory lane with me.  Think about when you were 8, 9 years old, what did you want to become when you grew up?  If you were like me, I envisioned myself in ten different careers, at some point I wanted to be a pilot, I wanted to work in technology, I wanted to be a dentist, a doctor, a singer, an astronaut, a teacher, even a lawyer.  I was a very ambitious child.  In the end, I studied management information systems and international business in college.  Now, the point I'm trying to tease out of this is the fact that the way that I was raised, the environment in which I grew up, allowed me to envision multiple and endless possibilities for myself.

I believe I could become whatever I wanted, but sadly, this is not the case for millions of girls and women worldwide.

They grow up in societies that give them a very narrow view of themselves and also limit their aspirations.  Many are socialized to believe that the role in society is simply to be caretakers and homemakers and no more so they never fully maximize their potential in life.

We believe that it is final to change the limited view at the Visiola Foundation and upgrade the image of girls and women worldwide.  I'm very pleased to share the common thread testimonials of many of our students who have embraced tech as viable career path for themselves.  This year as an example we ran two intensive coding boot camps for women and we received over 450 applications from candidates in 10 African countries.  This is during a global pandemic!  We ended up short listing 135, we trained 98, and ultimately awarded certificates to 84 young women.  It personally gives me great pleasure to see that many of these graduates obtained jobs in tech, were accepted into competitive internship programs, or even assumed technical roles within their existing organizations and some even went on to be tech enabled entrepreneurs.  We have seen others obtain admission in college to pursue degrees in computer science and we often hear of how they thought that the technology and tech, the tech field, that these would be beyond them, that they didn't have the aptitude or the intellectual ability to excel in tech, but having gone through these program, they have proven themselves wrong and they have started to build a strong foundation that will help them to succeed in their future careers.  Their self‑esteem and the image they have of themselves have also been transformed and they now encourage and mentor their peers, and also younger girls to consider studying and pursuing careers in tech.

Allow me to take this narrative a step further by describing just how narrow the environment in which many girls and women are raised in, how this persists even in 2021.

I want to start in 2013.

UNICEF reported that there were ten and a half children in Nigeria that were not in school and were never expected to start school.  65 of these children are girls.  In April of 2014 we witnessed the horrific kidnapping of over 200 school girls and many are yet to be returned and kidnapping of students, especially girls has persisted, unfortunately.

In March, 2016 the male‑dominated Nigeria Senate that only has 7 women out of 109 senators rejected the gender and equal opportunity bill which sought to grant women equal rights to education, healthcare, inheritance and participation in politics.  The reason for rejecting the bill they claimed that it did not align with the constitution as well as with religious and cultural beliefs.  Obviously we still have a long way to go.

In 2019 the human development report showed in Nigeria girls only achieve 5.3 years of schooling whereas boys achieve 7.6.  Women's gross national income, GNI per capita is 43 ‑‑ about 4300, whereas for men, it is over 5800.  Women only occupy 5.8% of seats in the Senate, as I mentioned, and they're still heavily underrepresented in computer science, physics, engineering degree programs in tertiary institutions that are still heavily male dominated.  It is therefore, not surprising that women still face difficulty in accessing equitable ‑‑ in gaining equitable access to education, economic opportunities as well as social prestige, and many do not obtain the same level of economic and social advancement as their male counterparts.  Our foundation believes that African countries, in particular need to harness their full potential by engaging women as leaders and innovators who will help to transform their economies.  Women account for half of the population and are natural problem solvers.  We therefore need to bring them on board to develop solutions to our marriot of developmental challenges and we believe that talent and intellectual capacity are gender neutral. 

Let's be frank, there is a whole lot of smart and talented women out there, even on this call as we have seen.  Our goal is to build a pipeline of hypotension female technologist, scientists, engineer, mathematicians, innovators that will lead this region into the next frontier.  We start with girls in formative, impressionable years, expose them early with STEM, to enable them to see successful professionals who look like them, girls need to see female technologists, female computer scientist, female software developers excelling in their fields so that they can have real role models to whom they can aspire, that's why the work of the EQUALS in Tech organization is so critical in recognizing and supporting organizations that are represented here that are working hard to produce positive change through initiatives that are related to improving women's and girls digital access, initiative was STEM skills improvement for women and girls, initiatives focused on promoting women in decision‑making roles in the field and to prioritize research on gender digital divides and produce evidence to tackle diversity issues in the STEM, computing fields.

Girls and women need to learn to build things, and to create solutions and products to apply theoretical knowledge and to see their real application.  It is in doing that one learns, and so all of us working together to bridge these gaps in the public educational system, in providing access to those who are usually marginalized, underserved, is very important.  We teach women and young girls how to code, how to build robots, how to run science experiments and we provide a safe environment where they're encouraged to try things, to take risks, to work in team, to lead, to be inquisitive, to basically create and innovate.

We're preparing them for the jobs of the future that are high skill, high wage, globally signature.

Now, I want to wrap up by saying it is still an uphill journey.  We need all hands on deck, both men and women advocating for equity and providing access for girls and women.

I recognize the fact that a lottery mains to be done, we must therefore all continue building upon the pillars that we have each created and also identify opportunities for synergies that we can leverage and maximize.

Some factors we have seen with our programs, that have facilitated and enhanced our impact includes partnering with the right stakeholders.  Our programs work because we partner with government agencies who are in charge of education and we have further created a robust monitoring and evaluation framework so that we can identify how our programs are creating real, measurable objectives and impact.  The important lessons for all of us to remember is that we need to have well‑defined objectives that are based on an initial assessment of the situation so that programs are designed accordingly.  We need to identify the right local stakeholders and partners, we also need to continue to use high‑quality materials and to ensure that teaching is delivered in practical, easy to understand manner.

The need to share individual success stories widely to encourage students, to encourage women, it is also very important so that we can shatter the limited images and the cultural barriers and gender stereotypes that often confine them in order to truly empower women and girls.

We need to build the capacity of our youth to create technology and to innovate for a better future.  It has been said that women hold up the other half of the city.  We therefore need to act.

(Poor audio quality).

‑‑  reinforced, and upheld.

On that note, I would like to thank you for your kind attention.

>> LIDIA STEPINSKA-USTASIAK: Thank you very much for your very inspiring speech, pointing out the range of challenges in the area of equality in tech, but also the speech gave us a lot of inspiration, how to act to include women and girls in technology and the tech sector.

We still have 10 minutes until the end of our session.

I would like to propose, to seize the opportunity of having our experts here with us and to ask questions to them if someone from the room would like to ask a question or if someone from our online audience I would encourage you to do so.

Unfortunately, I don't see online questions.  I would ask Lena for help with moderation of online activities.

>> LENA OSTLUND:  We have one question, how to collaborate with other organizations.

Yes, Doreen, you have your hand up.

>> DOREEN BOGDAN-MARTIN: Yeah.  Thank you, Lena.

Just wanting to ask perhaps to any of our amazing winners if they could share with us what are some of the biggest challenges, obstacles that they have faced?

>> LENA OSTLUND:  That's a wonderful question.

Does anyone want to give a little bit of insight into that?  You can just raise your hand..

>> LIDIA STEPINSKA-USTASIAK: All attendees are under the impression of the final speech that makes a lot of things cleared and inspiring as well.  Maybe it is time to close the ceremony.

>> LIDIA STEPINSKA-USTASIAK: The COVID has been a challenge, it is a great thing that we have all been trying to navigate the last two years, almost two years.  I see Constance has her hand raised.


I wanted to maybe bounce on one of the questions or comments that was in the chat box about how can we collaborate and maybe take the opportunity to emphasize the importance of the work of the ITU, who has really been leading with its concept of EQUALS which has inspired many of us, including of the Internet Society where I work.

You know, in response to the question, I really see the ITU as a go‑to place to help us all collaborate, including to support participation of women and young women in this field.

Thank you, again, to the ITU team.

>> I'm Sonya George, with an EQUALS partner with the ITU team and other that are part of this wonderful partnership, first of all, congratulations to everyone, all of the finalist, all of the winner, it is great.

I wanted to mention to all of them, please reach out to the partners.  Make sure that you use the partnership beyond just the awards, if you want to learn, if you want to exchange experiences, partner with new organizations, reach out to us, don't be shy, the strength of the EQUALS partnership is having a network that you can count on.

Count on us, challenge us, and we hope that we hear from many of you.

Congratulations again.

It is great to be here in Poland, not many of news person, many more online I think!  Congratulations, enjoy!  Count on the partnership!

Thank you!

>> LIDIA STEPINSKA-USTASIAK: Thank you very much. 

I totally agree, we need cooperation and partnership for achieving further successes on this area.

We have a few minutes.  Please.

>> AUDIENCE: Thank you.

Hello, everyone.  I'm from Namibia.  Last year we were also short listed for the finalists for this EQUALS award.  We really appreciated the opportunity, it was for research we did in collaboration with the Web Foundation on women rights in Namibia.  We really appreciate the opportunity really.

My message is really just to say that for a lot of us, especially the African continent, and I'm not just speaking for myself, we're not too aware of the EQUALS award, possibly just spread the word behind the rooms and behind ‑‑ besides where we are just so that everybody who is doing amazing work everywhere they are, they can take part.

Thank you.


I'm looking at the audience on site.  We have the audience online, you see that better.

Anyone who wants to share feelings or ask questions.

If not, again, please applause for our winners.  This is the end of our fantastic ceremony!  Thank you!