Sophia Huyer is the founding Executive Director of WISAT. She has published and spoken widely on international gender and science and technology policy issues, including ICTs and social development. She is also the Gender and Social Inclusion Theme Leader at Accelerating the Impact of CGIAR Climate Research in Africa (AICCRA). 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, UNIDO, Global Affairs Canada, 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 2015 UNESCO Science Report. Other publications include  “A Global Perspective on Women in IT: Perspectives from the ‘UNESCO Science Report 2015.” and “Factors Influencing Women’s Ability to Enter the IT Workforce: Case Studies of Five Sub-Saharan African Countries.” (with N. Hafkin) In Cracking the Digital Ceiling: Women in Computing Around the World, Cambridge University Press.

She was also Guest Editor on a special issue of Climatic Change on Gender Equality in Climate Smart Agriculture: Framework, Approaches and Technologies. With Nancy Hafkin, she co-edited Cinderella or Cyberella? Empowering Women in the Knowledge Society, published by Kumarian Press in 2006.

Other publications include “ICT in a changing climate: A path to gender transformative food security” in a forthcoming book published by the EQUALS Research Group at UNU Macau and Women in IT in the Global South: Perspectives from the UNESCO Science Report in A Global Perspective on Women in Computing, eds. Carol Frieze and Jeria Quesenberry, published by Cambridge University Press.

She is currently a member of the subcommittee on Systemic Solutions to Climate Change of the USAID Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD); as well as the Gender Advisory Board of the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD).  She is also a co-editor at Gender, Technology and Development.

She received her Ph.D. in Environmental Studies from York University in Toronto.

Sophia’s full c.v.


NH-hafkinNancy 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.

Nancy’s full c.v.