The Global Fund for Women, with the help of UN Women, has launched a worldwide online campaign called IGNITE:Women Fueling Science and Technology, aimed at exploring and highlighting the roles of science and technology in advancing women’s human rights, with a host of activities currently under way and more in the pipeline.

The campaign is part of the Global Fund for Women’s Technology Initiative to help close the gender gap in science and technology globally.

IGNITE profiles leading women in science and technology in the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa, describing moments that sparked their interest in science and technology and features stories, videos and interviews about women who have started projects to propel other women and girl’s rights in their communities through tech.

A hackathon for girls co-presented with UN Women is in the works and is scheduled to be held in March 2015, where girls from countries around the world will compete to design a solution for a pressing issue of girls’ human rights.

IGNITE also has an online petition titled Fueling Change which calls on governments, funders, and corporations to invest in addressing the global gap between men and women in accessing, shaping, and leading science and technology, in order to  increase progress on equality and human rights, the campaign organisers say

The petition will be presented to world leaders during International Women’s Day in March 2015. The aim is to get 20 000 by 5th March, just in time for the event on 8th March.

“We can’t divorce the global technology gap and the future of women’s rights,” says Musimbi Kanyoro, CEO and president of Global Fund for Women. “We work with women’s organisations all over the world who tell us that the gap is deep and it needs addressing now. We are in the midst of a global technology revolution and if women are left behind the consequences will be bleak.”

The Global Fund for Women has also thrown its weight behind a new fund set up to help attract and invest more than $2 million (around R210 million) over three years to empower women and girls with access to technology and offer support to grassroots women’s groups. Individuals and organisations can help by making a single or monthly donation to the fund on the Global Fund for Women’s website.

“Bringing women online and embracing their leadership and ideas will not only help bring gender parity, it will have a global economic impact,” Kanyoro adds. “Our governments and the international community have an obligation to enable and protect the human rights of women and girls everywhere: including their rights to meaningful use and development of technology.”

“By removing barriers to women and girls’ access to technology, we will enable opportunities for connection, education, engagement and imagination.”

[Source – Global Fund for Women IGNITE, image – Global Fund for Women Facebook]