UNU Macau’s Senior Researcher Dr. Jaimee Stuart attended the EQUALS-EU final conference last week in Riga, Latvia, which gathered experts sharing some of the project’s insights on gender equality and social innovation. The session run by the EQUALS-EU consortium on September 22 integrated the programme of the VIth International Economic Forum, hosted by the Institute of Economics of the Latvian Academy of Sciences.
In the session, Dr. Jaimee Stuart presented her insights on the challenges and opportunities of hackathons promoting gender equity in the Asian context. She also addressed the theme in a panel discussion together with other speakers in the session.
“Attracting women and girls to participate in events (such as Hackathons) aimed at intensive learning, skill building, and problem-solving are critical for producing novel, sustainable solutions to complex social, economic, and environmental challenges”, Dr. Jaimee Stuart points out.
According to UNU Macau’s Senior Researcher, hackathons can have the potential to promote the status of women and girls in technology and innovation, while at the same time support awareness of gendered issues among men and boys.
The SDG Open Innovation Camp 2023 for the Greater Bay Area, organised and co-designed in May by UNU Macau and its regional partners, as part of the EQUALS-EU project, was a youth hackathon focused on problem-solving for sustainable development. The initiative, which gathered 40 participants from Mainland China and Macau – 20 women and 20 men –, was aimed at maintaining a gender balance among all facets of the programme, raising awareness of gender and innovation, and providing explicit learning opportunities regarding gender as it relates to technology. Teams of participants, as well as presenters, mentors and judges, were also all gender balanced.
As Dr. Jaimee Stuart noted, based on her research, the Macau experience resulted in an increase in self-efficacy for all participants and an increase in positive attitudes towards gender equality, with the event successfully contributing to the promotion of gender equality in the technological field in the region.
EQUALS-EU represents a consortium of 19 organisations from 15 EU Member States and two non-European consortium members from the Global North and Global South, and UNU Macau is one of them. Its aim is to reverse the increasing gender digital divide, and to close the gap by 2030 – supporting UN Sustainable Development Goal 5 by empowering women through their use of information and communication technologies. UNU Macau is participating in EQUALS-EU to support a global exchange of knowledge and good practices on gender digital inclusion in technology and innovations, and to highlight the role of Macau in pursuing international digital equality efforts.