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  • Rui Wan

2019 EQUALS in Tech Awards: meet the finalists

The Equals in Tech Awards are the world’s largest event celebrating those working to close the gender digital gap. Every year, EQUALS gives awards to individuals as well as organizations that help girls and women gain equal access, skills and opportunities within the tech industry. Winners are chosen from five categories: Access, Skills, Leadership in SMEs, Leadership in Tech and Research.

The 2019 EQUALS in Tech Award finalists and winners were chosen by the Advisory Group —former winners, tech and gender experts, and the EQUALS Steering Committee; composed of coalition leads, co-founders and financial contributors.

The 2019 award ceremony will take place in Berlin, Germany, on 27 November as part of the Internet Governance Forum. This year, EQUALS received 204 nominations from 68 countries. Nigeria had the highest number of nominations, followed by the USA, Argentina, Pakistan and the United Kingdom.

Now, let’s take a look at our 15 finalists to learn more about what they are working on.


This category awards initiatives and organizations that are working to improve women and girls’ digital technology access, connectivity and security.

Aurat Raaj is a Pakistan-based organization that helps girls all over the country learn about topics that are often taboo in Pakistan, like sexual and reproductive health, gender-based violence and more through its chatbot, Raaji.

Dinarak, a Jordanian mobile finance service provider, is helping to improve access for underserved groups —including women — through its “e-wallet” service. Female users of Dinarak report having greater control of their own finances than before; and safe, convenient and discreet access to their accounts.

This initiative provides smartphones to women living in extreme poverty in India. They help increase access to information for underprivileged families, enables greater financial and social inclusion, and sustainable livelihood development through mobile services.


This category recognizes those that support the development of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills of women and girls.

Africa Teen Geeks is a South African non-profit working to eliminate barriers faced by disadvantaged communities in their pursuit of STEM skills. They also empower girls to become future leaders in STEM by providing career guidance and opportunities through the Girl Geek programme.

Through this initiative, Plan International works to ensure free and equal access to quality education for all child —especially girls — from early childhood to secondary education in in x Latin American countries. This programme focuses on equipping these children and adolescents with crucial tech skills. Additionally, almost 300 female teachers have incorporated the use of software in their regular classes.

The Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre (W.TEC) is a Nigerian non-profit organization that supports girls and women to use ICTs confidently to become entrepreneurs or pursue technology careers. They have provided over 1,000 girls and women with STEM education and career training through partnerships with over 45 private and public organizations.


This category recognizes initiatives that promote women in decision-making roles within the ICT field.

The Digital Leadership Institute is a Brussels-based, international NGO and a recognized world leader in promoting greater participation of girls and women in strategic, innovative ESTEAM (entrepreneurship and arts powered by STEM) sectors.

Movimiento STEM is a non-profit organization that promotes STEM education, future jobs and innovation with a social and inclusive vision in Mexico and throughout Latin America. From the end of 2017 to date, 126 impact events have been carried out with more than 4,000 girls and young women in attendance, providing them with the chance to learn more about STEM in Mexico.

SheWorks! is a social impact enterprise empowering the millions of women that leave their jobs every year, due to lack of flexibility, to manage their career on their own terms.


This category recognizes initiatives that help women build small and medium enterprises in the tech sector to bridge the digital gender divide.

Kumasi Hive is a Ghanaian multi-initiative innovation hub. They provide a platform for rapid prototyping of ideas, support local innovations and start-ups, and promote entrepreneurship.

Bridge the Gap is a Kumasi Hive initiative that empowers women and girls by providing free training in digital skills, preparing them for future jobs and developing entrepreneurial know-how.

The Reach for Change Foundation is a child rights non-profit organization. In 2018, they initiated the Bridging the Digital Divide programme — BRIDGIT. All of the women in this programme have tech solutions to a pressing issue for children or youth, like education access in rural areas, deaf children’s rights and sex education.

Unlocking Women in Technology by iSpace aims to create an ecosystem that offers training and provides support for women to thrive professionally. They target women between 18-35 years old form diversity backgrounds who want to make an impact, gain new skills and kickstart a business.


This category recognizes initiatives working to expand digital gender divide knowledge in support of evidence-based decision-making.

Luchadoras is a Mexican collective for gender equality in digital media, it combines research, campaigns, capacity building and advocacy to get more women into tech.

The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media worked with Lyda Hill Philanthropies in 2018 for a new research study, Portray Her: Representations of Women STEM Characters in Media. They researched gender representation in media and advocates for equal representation of women and girls.

This initiative is committed to empowering young Rwandan women by providing them with digital and professional skills training.

If you would like to watch the EQUALS in Tech Awards live, please follow us on Facebook for the livestream that will start on 27 November at 5:20 p.m. CEST.

Congratulations to all finalist organizations, as well as to each initiative that was submitted. We look forward to announcing the winners. Check out our YouTube playlist to learn more about them!

About the Author

Rui Wan is a Junior Communications Social Media Officer at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). He is about to graduate with a Master of Arts degree in media and advertising (specializing in gender communication) from the University of Leicester, England.

Rui has experience in social media content generation, including image and video. He also worked for Bacardi China in 2018 as a global branding marketing executive.

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