Sophia Huyer is the founding Executive Director of WISAT. She has published and spoken widely on international gender, science and technology issues policy, including ICTs and social development. She is also Gender and Social Inclusion Research Leader at the CGIAR Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security. She served as Director of GenderInSITE from 2014 – 2016 and Senior Advisor to the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) from 2009 – 2014. She has worked with international agencies such as UN Women, UNDP, the Canadian International Development Agency, the Organization for American States, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), UNESCO, and others.
She is author of the chapter “Is the gender gap narrowing in science and engineering?” in the 2016 UNESCO Science Report. Other publications include the Introduction to the Gender Technology and Development Special Issue on Closing the Gender Gap in Agriculture in her role as Guest Editor, and the Gender and Climate-Smart Agriculture Module to the Gender and Agriculture Sourcebook published by the World Bank, IFAD, and FAO.
She was a main contributor to the 2011 UNCTAD report Applying a Gender Lens to Science, Technology and Innovation. In 2007 she was a contributor to the UNESCO International Report on Science, Technology and Gender. She co-edited with Nancy Hafkin Cinderella or Cyberella? Empowering Women in the Knowledge Society published by Kumarian Press in 2006. She is currently leading the WISAT project on National Assessments in Gender and STI funded by the Elsevier Foundation and Sida.
Earlier work includes “89.1 FM: The Place for Development. Power shifts and participatory spaces in ICTD”, in Journal of Community Informatics with R. Sterling and J.K Bennett, “Information and communications technology and gender equality: new opportunities and challenges for public administration to implement the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals” prepared with Gloria Bonder and Nancy Hafkin for the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and “Female Empowerment and Development in Latin America: Use versus Production of Information and Communications Technology”, in the MIT journal Information Technologies for International Development (ITID) – based on work developing recommendations for the Summit of the Americas in 2004. She was lead author on “Women in the Information Society”, in From the Digital Divide to Digital Opportunities: Measuring Infostates for Development published by Orbicom.
Sophia is a member of Women Organizing for Change in Agriculture and Natural Resources Management (WOCAN) and the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD). She received her Ph.D. in Environmental Studes from York University in Toronto.
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Nancy Hafkin has been working to promote information and communications technology in Africa and other developing areas, with particular emphasis on gender, for more than three decades. She was chief of research for 12 years in the program for women and development at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in Addis Ababa — the first international women and development program in the world — and went on to head the ECA program to Promote Information Technology for Development in Africa, where she worked to establish the African Information Society Initiative (AISI — eight years before WSIS). The ECA program set up the first electronic communication networks in a number of African countries and went on to convince African governments of the importance of the Internet. Nancy has written widely on information technology, gender and international development, including Gender, Information Technology, and. Developing Countries: An Analytic Study, and with Sophia Huyer, Cinderella or Cyberella: Empowering Women in the Information Society and Engendering the Knowledge Society: Measuring Women’s Participation. She also authored the 2014 UNCTAD report Measuring ICT and Gender: An Assessment.
Nancy did her undergraduate studies at Brandeis University; she has an MA and Ph.D. in History (Africa) from Boston University. She served 11 years on the board member of the international NGO PACT Inc. and currently serves on the advisory boards of a number of initiatives to encourage the use of the Internet in Africa and the participation of girls in STI. She was a board member and subsequent chair of Healthnet-Satellife, a pioneering health and information technology project for developing countries founded by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Bernard Lown.
Among her international honors are recipient of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and United Nations GEM-TECH Global Achiever Award in 2015 for boosting women’s empowerment through ICTs, the naming in 2012 as a Global Connector in the Internet Hall of Fame and in 2000 the establishment of the Nancy Hafkin Communications Prize by the Association for Progressive Communications.
She is the mother of a son Michael and a daughter Ribka, and the grandmother of Dameon Berhanu.
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