Nº 1 2015 > Gender equality and mainstreaming
GEM-TECH Award winner: Spotlight on UNESCO
ITU celebrated the Gender Equality and Mainstreaming Technology (GEM-TECH) Awards 2014 in Busan, Republic of Korea, on 28 October at a Plenary Session of the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference
ITU celebrated the Gender Equality and Mainstreaming Technology (GEM-TECH) Awards 2014 in Busan, Republic of Korea, on 28 October at a Plenary Session of the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference. In this and future editions, ITU News will feature the chosen winner and project for each category, beginning with Category 1.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) won the first category of the seven GEM-TECH Awards, “ICT Applications, Content, Production Capacities and Skills for Women’s Social, Political Empowerment and Women’s Empowerment Linkages with Sustainable Development” with its online portal, Women in African History: An E‑Learning Tool (Africa). This platform consists of multimedia educational resources highlighting the role of women in African history (including comic strips, audio modules, and quizzes). Ensuring meaningful engagement of young girls with information and communication technologies (ICTs) through the production of relevant local content, the e‑learning tool enables capacity building of young girls as both decision-makers and producers in the information and communication technology sector. The platform is currently available in English and French (http://fr.unesco.org/womeninafrica/), with several African languages to be rolled out by 2015 to promote multilingualism in cyberspace and encourage online access by rural populations.
UNESCO is known as the “intellectual” agency of the United Nations and its main objective is to contribute to peace and security in the world by promoting collaboration among nations through education, science, culture and communication in order to further universal respect for justice and the rule of law and for human rights and fundamental freedoms for the peoples of the world.
Gender equality is one of UNESCO’s global priorities and the organization strives to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment by integrating these principles into all its work programmes. Education makes it possible to transmit the essential value of gender equality, and can help reinforce the fundamental human rights of women and their central role in all societies. The teaching of history has a crucial role to play since it enables the understanding of cultural dimensions, and highlights the social, political, and economic conditions in the lives of women in past societies.
Through the use of ICTs, the platform showcases African women or women of African descent. It demonstrates that historically, women have distinguished themselves in the history of the continent in areas as diverse as politics (Gisele Rabesahala), diplomacy and resistance against colonization (Nzinga Mbandi), defence of women’s rights (Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti) and environmental protection (Wangari Maathai). In terms of Open Educational Resources (OERs), the portal highlights the work of Yaa Asantewaa, Angie Elizabeth Brooks, Bessie Coleman, Awa Kaita, Miriam Makeba, Queen Nanny, Nehanda Nyakasikana, Huda Shaarawi, and Sojourner Truth.
By emphasizing the education, academic careers and main achievements of these exceptional women, UNESCO highlights their legacy and calls for continued research on the role of women in African history.
See our article on the GEM-TECH Awards 2014 in ITU News No. 6 (November/December 2014). Over the coming months, ITU News will be featuring more GEM-TECH winners.