Technology is created and harnessed to make our lives better. When leveraged for social change and bestowed upon communities open to innovation, technology can move mountains. It can help level the playing field by giving the voiceless a voice, a platform, and opportunities to improve their lives. Women the world over are starting to embrace technology and mobility more than ever, but in the grand scheme of things progress has just begun.
In honor of the third annual U.N.-sanctioned International Day of the Girl, the Toolbox is doing a roundup of technology and business-based, social change initiatives designed to educate and empower girls and women across the globe.
The Nike Foundation and global figures have united to to bring forth the "Girl Declaration," a coming together of the international community to develop a plan of action to invest in adolescent girls and reap enormous returns. The Girl Declaration is based on overwhelming evidence – that girls not only face appalling discrimination in much of the world, but they are also the most powerful potential drivers of change in their families, communities and countries.
Signatories of the Girl Declaration include Malala, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Microsoft and Unliver.
Across the globe, 25 percent fewer women than men have access to the internet in the developing world. To combat this disparity, Intel is kicking off the "She Will Connect" program, which is committed to expanding digital literacy and equality among young women in developing countries. The initiative is launching in Africa, where the gender gap is the largest. The goal is to reach five million women and reduce the gender gap by 50 percent.
The social enterpriseInVenture leverages technology to help women gain financial independence. Currently, there are more than 4.5 billion individuals lacking credit scores and access to formal financial services. InVenture’s solution addresses the lack of financial literacy, accounting tools, and credit histories for low-income business owners. InVenture's triple-piece product suite combines a mobile tool, algorithm and web dashboards.
So far, InVenture has collected 500K+ financial records with a 98 percent accuracy in their credit scores, in addition to predicting default. Seventy-five percent of InVenture's users have been deemed credit worthy by independent credit officers. InVenture Founder Shivani Siroya says she and her team have worked with both housing and finance lenders, as well as housing developers to ensure that low-income informal individuals can get access to affordable housing.
To learn about how you can take action to educate and empower girls around the world, check out 11 Days of Action.