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Announcing the 2021 EQUALS in Tech Award Winners

Updated: Dec 13, 2021

The EQUALS Global Partnership is delighted to announce the 2021 EQUALS in Tech Award winners. The five winning initiatives were selected by an expert panel of judges for their vision, significant impact, regional importance and tireless work in bridging the gender digital divide.

On 9 December, 2021, the annual EQUALS in Tech Awards were held as a virtual event in the context of the Internet Governance Forum in Katowice, Poland. From a field of 155+ nominees and 25 finalists, five winners were announced, one in each of five categories: Access, Skills, Leadership in Tech, Leadership in SME, and Research.

And the winners are…

2021 Equals in Tech Award Winners


The Access category recognizes individuals and initiatives working to improve women’s and girls’ digital technology access, connectivity and security. EQUALS partner Internet Society presented the 2021 EQUALS in Tech Award in the Access Category to Fundación BBVA Microfinanzas (Spain).

FMBBVA, winner of the 2021 Access category award, provides microfinance and other digital tools to empower women entrepreneurs in underserved areas

FMBBVA aims to empower women by providing access to digital financial services, training and support. Connecting everyone to the benefits of the internet is a strategic corporate priority of the Foundation. Through best-practice microfinance and many user-focused tools and trainings, FMBBVA aims to reach more than 1.5 million female entrepreneurs in the next 5 years so that they can access training content, new online sales channels and access to networks, in order to boost their businesses and with it, their well-being and health. of their families.


The Skills category recognizes individuals and initiatives supporting development of science, technology, engineering and math skills of women and girls so that they can participate fully in an increasingly digital world. EQUALS co-founding partner GSMA presented the 2021 EQUALS in Tech Award in the Skills Category to FemDev Burundi.

FemDev provides tech skills training to girls and women in Burundi, empowering them to join the digital revolution

FemDev is a program in Burundi that was initiated by the KIT-Hub social platform with the aim of increasing representation of women and girls in the tech sector in STEM by enhancing and showcasing their talents and awareness. Through schools, youth groups and employment organizations, they provide programs including capacity building, digital skills trainings, summer camps, workshops, and much more. FemDev supports girls and women at every stage of their digital lives.


The Leadership in Tech category recognizes individuals and initiatives working to close the gender gap in representation and decision-making roles in the technology sector. EQUALS co-founding partners UN Women and International Trade Centre presented the 2021 EQUALS in Tech Award in the Leadership in Tech Category to Ada ITW, an Argentina-based initiative.

Ada ITW offers coding and soft-skills trainings to encourage and enable girls and young women to pursue tech careers and ambitions

With a goal of reducing the gender digital divide in ITC, Ada ITW empowers women through technology, conducting intensive training in frontend and backend programming, as well as soft skills workshops. Ada ITW teaches students from North and South America and beyond. In 2020, they became the first and only organization in Latin America to certify indicators of labor insertion, retention of students, and other aspects with the CIRR, the organization that certifies such indices for coding bootcamps around the world.


The Leadership in SME Category recognizes individuals and initiatives that promote women’s leadership and entrepreneurship in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the tech sector. EQUALS co-founding partners UN Women and International Trade Centre presented the 2021 EQUALS in Tech Award in the Leadership in SME Category to Promoting Female Talent in Tunisia.

Promoting Female Talent brings awareness, education and opportunities in tech leadership and entrepreneurship

Promoting Female Talent is program implemented by GIZ in Tunisia as part of the Invest for Jobs Initative, Econowin and the Digital Transformation Center Tunisia to support women on new career paths in leadership positions in the digital economy. The program tackles the problem of under-representation of women in tech leadership in Tunisia, and to help young women break the glass ceiling they face in a male-dominated digital economy. Promoting Female Talent offers many ways to help, including trainings and workshops, networking events, and field visits to tech companies.


The Research Category recognizes individuals and initiatives working to expand digital gender divide knowledge in support of evidence-based decision-making. EQUALS Research Coalition lead partner Oslo Metropolitan University presented the 2021 EQUALS in Tech Award in the Research Category to The Feminist Data: Exploring the Use of Data by Feminist Movements in Africa Project by Pollicy (Uganda).'s research examines the transformative power of data for feminist social justice movements in Africa

This research examines the crucial question of how data can be used in the quest for gender equality and societal change. The transformative role of data, when applied accordingly, can challenge dominant power imbalances and create social impact in communities. This research focuses specifically on African feminist movements working towards social justice; within this context, it explores the collection, sharing and use of digital data for social transformation. As a co-initiative it has so far reached more than 140 organizations and movements in Africa.

Congratulations to all!

During the awards ceremony, EQUALS Global Partnership representatives offered congratulations to the winners, the 25 finalists, and to all 150+ nominees this year whose work is focused on closing the gender digital divide, especially in the difficult context of the global COVID pandemic which makes their work ever more vital. These five inspirational winners join a growing community of EQUALS in Tech Award recipients united in one goal: to reimagine a digital future where women and girls are equals.


Resources and background information:


The EQUALS Global Partnership is made up of more than 100 members from international organizations, governments, the private sector, civil society and academia, all committed to working together to ach gender equality in digital access, digital skills and leadership opportunities in the tech sector.


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