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January 9, 2017

How one GEM-TECH Award winner is tackling the digital gender gap

By Ileana La Rosa

According to new ITU data, the global digital gender gap has grown from 11% in 2013 to 12% in 2016, with more than 250 million fewer women online than men. The gap has increased in Africa, the Arab States and the Americas.

This means that those women still not online are not able to properly benefit from the learning, entrepreneurship and employment opportunities that Internet access opens in today’s digital economy.

Aliadas en Cadena, the private initiative I started in Venezuela, has demonstrated that information and communication technology (ICT) education makes a real difference in women’s daily lives.

To date, we have empowered over 25,000 women by providing in ICT skills, office training, and fueling entrepreneurship by providing support for business startups. As we address the issues in a holistic manner, we promote gender equality – the key ingredient in women’s empowerment.

In November 2016, I received the exciting news that UN Women and ITU had chosen Aliadas en Cadena as the winner of the GEM-TECH 2016 Award for the Application of Technology for Women’s Empowerment and Digital Inclusion.

It was such an honor to be selected from over 300 amazing organizations, which have all been doing magnificent work with women in their countries. As the founder and Director of Aliadas en Cadena, I travelled to Thailand to accept the award and share with the world who we are, what do we do and why we won the award.

At Aliadas en Cadena we empower women through ICT training, entrepreneurship and life skills.

In our ICT Workshop, participants are trained for five months to be placed with one of our 85 business partners for a paid internship. For 60% of our trainees this will become a permanent job. For most of them their first proper job.

With our Computer Training Courses, Venezuelan women have access to computers, the Internet and to basic ICT skills. Our startup initiative, The Entrepreneurial Workshop Program, provides women economic empowerment to start their own business.

All our students are part of our Women’s Network, spreading their knowledge and providing a multiplier effect, inviting more women to join us. Three times a year, we extend open invitations to all women in our core cities.

In the future, we will empower women as coders to be able to write computer programs, develop apps and design webpages and as Digital Community Managers. This will enable women to create innovative digital solutions through e-learning platforms and online digital marketing.

Ileana La Rosa
Ileana La Rosa, Founder and Director of Aliadas en Cadena, and Ashoka Fellow, has over 12 years experience as a Social Entrepreneur, and is widely recognized as a leading woman technology entrepreneur. Ileana launched Aliadas en Cadena, a Venezuelan NGO, with the mission of empowering women through ICT training, entrepreneurship and life skills.
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How one GEM-TECH Award winner is tackling the digital gender gap

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