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IGF 2020 - Day 5 - OF12 EQUALS in Tech Awards 2020

The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the virtual Fifteenth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), from 2 to 17 November 2020. 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 to understanding the proceedings at the event, but should not be treated as an authoritative record. 




>> LINDSEY NEFESCH-CLARKE:  Hello, everyone and welcome to the 2020 Equals in Tech Award.  My name is Lindsey Nefesch‑Clarke, and I'm the founder of, a proud member of the Equals Global Coalition.  We share the goal of the partnership to promote girls’ and women's Digital Inclusion, equality and leadership.  Doreen is the first woman to serve as one of ITU's top elected officials.

>> DOREEN BOGDAN:  Welcome, everyone to the 2020 Equals in Tech Awards.  Since 2013 when the awards were known as the GenTech Awards we have been celebrating initiatives and individuals who inspire us with their dedication to closing the gender digital divide.

This year in the midst of the COVID‑19 pandemic, this work is more critical than ever before.  Even before the pandemic we knew that women and girls did not have equal access to the Internet or digital in skills training or equal opportunities for jobs and leadership in the tech sector, but now as we stay apart to safeguard our health, women and girls are simply being left out, left out of online learning, remote working, telehealth and many other ways that the digital world is serving to keep the world connected.

This is why we rededicate ourselves daily to the work of closing the gender digital divide.  As members of the Equals global partnership, we all share the strongest conviction that it is not only possible but necessary and inevitable that we will bridge the divide and build a bright digital future for everyone.  As our flagship event, these awards recognize those initiatives that are connecting every woman online to services, training every girl to use software, and empowering every woman on tech startup to thrive.  And speaking of thriving, it is very exciting today to have with us our 2019 Equals in Tech Award winner as our keynote speaker.  Silvina Moschini is a leadership success story in many ways, not least of which she is the founder of the award-winning initiative She Works which matches women with potential employers.

You may also have heard the exciting news that Silvina is also the co‑owner of the first pink unicorn company, transparent business to overcome the gender bias in venture funding.  She is truly paving the way for women leaders in tech.  To Silvina and all of you here today working for gender digital equality, Equal stands behind you and champions your work every day, but especially in these extraordinarily difficult times.  

Your efforts give us hope that we will emerge from this pandemic with more digital equality than ever before.  I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our Equals partners for their work as part of the focus coalitions offering their best efforts, their talents, and their resources on the issues of access skills and leadership, and the research needed to refine and improve the work.

We have seen real results and we have challenging rewarding goals to pursue as we continue working together in the years to come.  In previous years, we have met in different cities to celebrate this together.  This is the first time we hold the awards virtually, and I believe this ceremony demonstrates both the difficulties and the new possibilities of digital connectivity.

While we can only see and hear one another through our screens, we can also welcome a much larger community including our friends joining from the IGF 2020, and we are also live streaming on YouTube and on Facebook.

That said, let's remember it is much easier for some to join this ceremony than others.  Connectivity is not a universal experience as everyone knows.

In fact, connectivity for all is one of the goals that unites our community.  The Equals in Tech Award finalist in the access category represent the work of getting everyone connected so that they can benefit from online services.  Finalists in the skills category support training programmes, coding camps, tech workshops and mentoring to make sure all girls and young women can use the technology that is increasingly necessary in our everyday lives.

Our two leadership categories, leadership in SME, and leadership in tech recognize initiatives that pave the way for a future when women are equally represented and equally supported in entrepreneurship, employment, and decision making roles in the tech sector.  And finally, in the Equals global partnership, we believe that actions should be evidence‑based and the finalists in the research category gather and analyze the information that we need in order to understand the gender digital divide, and to bridge it in the near future.

The award finalists and winners that you will meet today represent that future.  And I want to thank you very much again for joining us and thanks to all of the nominees, the winners and the finalists for showing the way forward to a brighter digital future for everyone.

>> LINDSEY NEFESCH-CLARKE:  Ladies and Gentlemen, we are privileged to have with us today another very special guest.  Her name is Silvina Moschini, the first woman to head a business with a valuation of over $1 billion to overcome the gender bias in venture capital financing.

In 2017 Silvina also founded She Works, a platform for connecting women to employers online and Silvina proceeded to win a 2019 Equals in Tech Award in leadership.  In addition to her excellent business accomplishments, Silvina is an expert in online trends.  Silvina, may I ask you to share your thoughts today on the importance and value of fostering women's increased participation in the technology sector.

>> SILVINA MOSCHINI: (Technical Difficulties)

>> LINDSEY NEFESCH-CLARKE:  As always it was very difficult to choose the five winners.  We had a profoundly impressive group of finalists from all over the world.  There were over 340 nominees from 70 countries representing the private sector, civil society, Governments and academia.  The winners of this year's Equals in Tech Awards will be invited to attend an exciting flagship global event organized by the Equals partners including a stipend to cover travel, accommodation, food and other related costs.  So the moment we are waiting for.  Let's present the 2020 Equals in Tech Awards.

To mark this momentous occasion, I would first like to invite everyone to turn on your cameras and let's make the Equals sign that symbolizes our commitment for gender equality and our host will take the photos and share them on social media after the ceremony.


We love the symbol.  So to start with the access category, it gives me great pleasure to become Mats Granryd to present the award.

>> MATS GRANRYD:  Thank you so much, Lindsey, and I start with a video to present this year's access category finalists.  So please roll the video. 


>> MATS GRANRYD:  As the cofounder of the Equals partnership, leader of the Equals Access Coalition and Chair of the Equals Steering Committee, we have been at the forefront of the global efforts to bridge the digital gender gap, and achieve Digital Inclusion for everyone.  It, therefore, gives me enormous pleasure to announce this year's winner.  This year's award goes to (Drum roll).  App Laudelina from Brazil.  Congratulations.

>> DENISE DORA:  Thank you.  It's really with a great honour and joy.  We are really moved.  This is a celebration of all domestic workers in the world who represent today around 6 to 7 million people, most of them women working under very severe conditions.  App Laudelina is an app that shares information on rights and connects domestic workers throughout Brazil.  It's sour contribution to improve work conditions, reduce the digital gap for women, particularly the most vulnerable ones. 

We would like very much to thank the Brazilian National Federation of Domestic Workers who has been an incredible partner since the first day for their resilience and courage.  And also thank you the ITU, UN Women, GSMA, The International Trade Centre and the United Nations University for this amazing moment.  Thank you very much.

I speak here on behalf of all of our organisation, but also all domestic workers from Brazil who are sharing this award today and this image.  Thank you very much.

>> LINDSEY NEFESCH-CLARKE:  Thank you so much, Denise, and congratulations again to App Laudelina.  It is so well deserved.  It is now my honour to invite Mr. Houlin Zhao, Secretary‑General for the International Telecommunication Union this time in the category of skills.

>> HOULIN ZHAO:  Very good.  Thank you very much.  I think that this kind of celebration and awards is more important at this moment when everything including our efforts and progress on women's empowerment for years could be lost to the pandemic.  Of course, I don't believe we are lost to the pandemic, but anyhow, this is a moment we get together to celebrate achievement of women's empowerment.  The finalist in video, I invite you to show the video.


>> HOULIN ZHAO:  The winner is the first women's coding group, the Sisters of Code of Cambodia.  Sisters of Code of Cambodia, this is the first women's coding club.  Congratulations.

>> NATALJA RODIONOVA:  Thank you so much, it's a great honour for me to represent Cambodia tonight and receive this award, and I would like to thank my team and all Sisters of Code who have been working so hard to create the code lab and maybe it accessible to as many girls as possible.

I would like to thank our partners who have encouraged us and helped us a lot to grow and especially to the Minister of Education of Cambodia who has been very supportive.  I would like to thank IT academy who has created the educational program that really works so well, and we have achieved amazing results, and I would like to say that Sisters of Code just started its journey.  We are very young, but with your encouragement and your support coming from all around the world it's very important and we feel we can get better, and hopefully we are led to share our experience and bring this program to anyone who is interested in teaching coding skills to girls because we believe with those skills, girls can become stronger, can become active members of digital economy.  They can learn program solving skills and discover more for themselves.  Thank you so much for giving me this chance to present Sisters of Code tonight.  And speak today from Cambodia.

>> LINDSEY NEFESCH-CLARKE:  Wonderful.  Thank you, congratulations to Sisters of Code.  I love the passion.  May I now invite Dr. David Malone, Director of the Niece University to present the Equals in Tech Award in the category of research.

>> DAVID MALONE:  Thank you so very much.  It's a great honour to be here and also a great pleasure to see friends and colleagues from Equals, all of us on this digital platform.

It's even more exciting to see those who been nominated appearing with us.  So this is great.  Twenty years ago, I was working in a research NGO myself in civil society.  I'm a great believer in their importance.  And in this sense it's a category that matters to me not more than the others, but in a very personal way as well.

So let's hear who the finalists are, please.  This year's award for outstanding research that has made a positive contribution to closing the digital divide goes to.

(Drum roll).

>> GUZELIYA IMAEVA:  Greetings everyone, it is a great honour and pleasure to receive this award here today.  Our research proves that one of the main reasons for gender digital divide is the deeply rooted stereotypes about the role of the women, about the opportunities and even about their abilities.  And we believe we can address this problem by understanding it and by measuring it, and we are happy to announce that our research findings already have impacted local, national and international levels and have also taken into account in case of policy making process by Government and businesses.  So we are ready to join efforts with teams from other countries to share our vision, methodology and to achieve our common goals of achieving gender digital divide.  Thank you very much for Equals in Tech Award.  Thank you.

>> LINDSEY NEFESCH-CLARKE:  Thank you, Guzeliya Imaeva, congratulations again.

Now, before we move onto the leadership awards, let's see if we can bring in our keynote speaker, Silvina.  The floor is yours we are looking forward to hearing from you about, as I said earlier, the value and importance of promoting women's participation in the technology sector.  Thank you.

>> SILVIA ELALUF-CALDERWOOD:  Thank you to much Lindsey, and thanks everyone at Equals in tech for the opportunity.  I am deeply honored and humbled to have the opportunity to be here again.  Last year I was the winner of the leadership award which She Works with the work we are doing at She Works academy and today I want to share a story that marked my life and it has so much to do with everything that we are working for and that we are sharing with all of these amazing leaders that we are celebrating.

When I was a little child, my dad, a very savvy man taught me something that changed my life forever.  He told me that I could be anything that I wanted to be.  And if I wanted to be a Princess, I needed to be a prince.  Ever since then I decided that I wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I didn't want it to be any kind of entrepreneur.  I wanted to be a social impact entrepreneur because I wanted to make the world better because when you are a Chile, when you are a girl, especially, up until five years old, you believe you can do anything.  You believe you can be an astronaut, you believe you can be an engineer.  You believe you can be a CEO of the company, but suddenly when you turn seven, your belief about your capabilities and what you can achieve gets completely damaged, broken.

And this is what society suddenly does for us.  This is what we are very, very happy today to celebrate that we are making an enormous effort to change this narrative and change the reality for girls.  Women have been left behind.  We are paid less, almost 30% less than men, we have been behind in the workforce.  51% of moms abandoned their work because of lack of flexibility.

And when it comes to leading enterprises, only 5% of women are CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.  But this reality has changed and I think that technology is the catalyst for all of this fantastic change.  I'm a technology entrepreneur and a founder of an ecosystem of companies and I'm glad to share that today that a couple of weeks ago, I became the first founder to break a glass ceiling in terms of funding, changing the narrative and changing the repat hopefully for many more women that today we will be encouraged to build big companies, to have big impact.  And we did it by appealing to the people.

I know that accessing to capital for women entrepreneurs is a huge challenge.  It was a challenge for me.  It was a challenge for me every time that I wanted to raise capital and they told me that they saw my enthusiasm, they saw my energy, they saw my passion, they saw my talent also, but it was not enough to give me the money to build a big company.  So I appealed to people and I did a global private offering and invited investors from all over the world to bet on my project to support women to access jobs that could be done from anywhere.

And I build transparent business and which She Works with the support that turned my company into the first pink unicorn.  And this is what they call a company that is valued at a billion dollars.  This is not important because of the money or the technology.  The technology is certainly what makes the world much better because technology as we saw in this pandemic not only saves lives, but it enables us to learn, it enables us to access job opportunities, and when we are able to provide the opportunity to connect the dots between the amazing women that are living all over the world with job opportunities that sometimes exceeds in certain places, we are changing our life.  We are changing our realities.

And as my dad told me then when I was a little child, we become independently economically.  And through independence, it starts with the world, with the ability to make financial decisions.  So I'm here celebrating the winners and the finalists of the Equals in Tech Awards, because these are people that are changing the reality, and are changing the world for many of us.  And as my dad told me once, I could be a Princess, but I needed to be a Princess that builds her own castles, and I believe that the girls that we have inside ourselves and the girls that will be women of tomorrow can do anything they can change the world.  We just need to dream big, and we need to build our tribe because our tribe is what makes us extremely powerful.

And if we do this together, we can accomplish anything.  Thank you very, very much.

>> LINDSEY NEFESCH-CLARKE:  Thank you, Silvina, for the very powerful message and for being a role model and for the crucial role you are doing to close the digital gender divide.  Moving onto the two categories of the leadership awards, the first recognizes entrepreneurial leadership in women‑led business and the second recognizes leadership achievements in the tech sector.  I would like to invite Pamela Coke‑Hamilton, Executive Director of the International Trade Centre to confer the award for leadership in small and medium‑sized enterprises.

>> PAMELA COKE‑HAMILTON:  Thank you so much, Lindsey.  I do appreciate it.  I'm so honored to you here, and I think it's a wonderful opportunity to join you on this occasion and to recognize and celebrate exceptional winners from around the world.  Let's go to know the finalists under this category.  I am delighted to present the Equals in tech 20 award for leadership in SMEs to an organisation doing great work in building economic opportunities for girls and young women through ICTs.  This year's award goes to.

(Drum roll).

African ChangeMakers initiative, Nigeria.  Congratulations!

>> OLUTOPE OLATILEWA EGBETOKUN:  Thank you so much, it is a privilege to be here and an honour to have you.  I think my video is off.  If they can help me turn it on.  Okay.  I can see it now.  Thank you so much, it is a privilege to be here, and I'm so happy, I'm so honored for this opportunity.  I want to say a big thank you to Equal, to United Women, to ITU, to UN University, GSM, thank you for this opportunity.  It's an opportunity that I will not take for granted.

I also want to take the opportunity to thank all African ChangeMakers, the members and those who are supporting us with their skill and their time and with their talent.  Without them, there would be no African ChangeMakers.  We are young, question started 2017 to empower women in terms of entrepreneurship, leadership, we have a fellowship program, we also have a mentoring program, but this award is going to go a long way to motivate us as a team in Nigeria and Africa.  It's going to motivate the African countries and it's also going to open the door for a lot of opportunity to come through.  Thank you for this award.  We will not take it for granted and it's going to take us beyond where we want to.  So thank you so much for the privilege.  Thank you.

>> LINDSEY NEFESCH-CLARKE:  Thank you so much, and congratulations again.  And I love the message to all African ChangeMakers.  So we have reached the fifth and final equals in tech award for 2020 and it's now the leadership in tech category, and it's my pleasure to invite Anita, Deputy Executive Director resource management, UN system coordination, sustainability and partnerships of UN Women.

>> ANITA BHATIA:  Thank you, Lindsey.  It is a pleasure to hear these inspiring story.  I am truly motivated and inspired about all of the things we have heard up until this point.  And I'm sure we will be inspired by the stories we will hear now.  Before we announce the winner, let us meet the inspiring finalists that are leading the way for women in technology.

>> LINDSEY NEFESCH-CLARKE:  Thank you, Anita.  Please go ahead.

>> ANITA BHATIA:  It gives me great pleasure to announce the winner of this category the winner is of the women's empowerment program from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  I would like to congratulate the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology because investing and empowering women at the communications and information technology sector by qualifying women talent in the field of digital transformation and ensuring the active participation in the labor market is actually one of the most effective ways to comprehensively and holistically drive progress on gender equality and relatedly on poverty eradication and inclusive economic growth.

We hope that Saudi Arabia will carry this message throughout the G20 presidency and we want to invite all of the winners to join the women's empowerment principles community and align with the trends of sustainable businesses of the future.  I'm really looking forward to hearing from the winner, UN Women wishes you a delightful celebration.  Thank you and over.

>> WADHA BIN ZARAH:  Thank you so much, Anita.  You have already mentioned what I was intending to mention during my speech.  Your Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, we are honored to receive this prestigious award MCIT Women Empowerment Program two years ago where we received tens of thousands of ladies benefiting from it, with great partnership with related Government entities, private sectors and NGOs, we extend our appreciation to our visionary leadership for their tremendous support.  We also thank the ministry team for their dedication, the volunteers for their great contribution, and the program partners from private, public and nonprofit sector for their valuable contribution.

  It is not a luxury anymore.  We are proud to partner with ITU and work with the international communities to harness the benefit of technology and solve mobile challenges related to the UNSDGs.

Last but not least, thank you.

>> LINDSEY NEFESCH-CLARKE:  Thank you so much, and congratulations again.  Well, Brazil, Cambodia, Russia, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, we have traveled around the world today and let's congratulate all of our 2020 winners.  Let's give everyone the winners and the finalists a warm round of virtual applause.

May I invite you all to turn on your camera once more and let's make the sign that symbolizes our commitment for gender equality and take another photo.  Let's reiterate it!  Wonderful!  Thank you.

So we wish this celebration didn't have to draw to a close, but we can continue the celebrations and learn more about our award winners.  You are all kindly invited to join the networking platform where you will have the opportunity to interact with the finalists and winners and make new friends and contacts in this virtual space.  So you will find the link to the networking platform in the chat, and we do hope you will join us there to continue the celebrations and to learn more about our winners.

On behalf of Equals, I would also like to invite you to save the date for the Equals in tech winners panel, a must‑see on November 11th.  You will receive all of the information about this event via the networking platform.  If you haven't registered yet, please be sure to do so now.  Well, I think we can all agree that this has been an uplifting event.  Thank you for joining today's celebration.  Let it galvanize us all to continue our collective efforts through Equals to promote girls and women's Digital Inclusion, equality, and leadership.  So thank you very much, again, for joining.  And I hope to see you on the networking platform and I wish everyone a good afternoon and evening.  Thank you.

  Thank you, everyone. Congratulations to the winners.


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