17 – 19 November 2017

Gender Equality Hackathon

SDG Accelerator #PolicyHack on GENDER EQUALITY

The SDG Accelerator #PolicyHack was a two and a half day event that aimed to create a space for the development of new tools and innovations tackling gender equality challenges. Bright minds from all walks of life brought in their individual skills and professional experiences in order to brainstorm, discuss and find innovative and sustainable solutions to twelve proposed challenges.


Discover the Challenges

  • Transparency in Public Innovation Funds

Out of the 100 best startups ranking in 2017 in Switzerland, only 11 have women CEO or co-founders. The gender gap regarding access to innovation funds and the lack of inspiring role models for girls to embrace tech careers could be some of the key reasons. According to the FONDETEC Annual Report 2016, women earn half the amount of money men do in innovation. This questions the transparency of public funding processes for startups in Switzerland, but also questions the attribution of funds from a gender equality perspective. In order to move towards equal treatment, action is required to improve the systems and processes of public fund attribution to innovation startups.

By Green Go Web


  • Girls in Engineering


According to recent statistics, around 20% of Swiss baccalaureates in the field of physics and applied mathematics are awarded to women. As research has shown, stereotypes and gender bias associated with technical and engineering topics are still strongly anchored in people’s minds in Switzerland. The transition from lower secondary education to high school functions as an early and major filter in the educational and professional trajectory of girls and boys. So, how can we positively impact young women’s aspirations, achievements and confidence and offer them equal incentives to choose technical and engineering studies and careers?

by Bureau de l’égalité de l’EPFL


  • Empowering Future Female Change Makers


Women have always been changemakers. Women in every country, in every community, are pushing for progress. Due to socioeconomic conditions and limited access to quality education, a lot of girls around the world grow up without knowing about what job opportunities are available to them. Universities, non-profit sectors and different stakeholders are building e-learning platforms to provide fair and equal access to education for all. Unfortunately, most of the time, children aren’t aware of such learning opportunities. E-learning can be the enabling factor that provides the practical knowledge and skills that help one’s potential flourish, and empower girls economically. How can we ensure that girls are benefitting from the digital revolution as equally as boys? How can digitalisation provide them with more choices with their future career prospects? How to promote self-directed learning among girls in remote areas and developing countries?

By Empowerment Lab


  • Changing Perceptions


As the level of visibility and recognition of the gender equality cause has increased over the past decades, there seems to be a paradoxical growing disbelief, annoyance, even sometimes even anger amongst a segment of the male population. Gender-based discrimination is perceived as not relevant to them, because they don’t experience its consequences first-hand and because some of them think that it imposes unnecessary constrains to their lives. We believe that the main reason for this phenomenon is a lack of understanding of what reality truly is like for people facing systemic discrimination. Changing these perceptions seems crucial in order to bring them on board with gender equality-related debates and progress, and thus it leads us to the following question: how can we involve more people who are not facing direct discrimination in their daily lives to ensure better and more inclusive behaviors, and ultimately achieve equal opportunities for all genders?

By Lift


  • Positive Advertising


The use of gender-based stereotypes in advertising and marketing reinforces rigid gender roles that result in far-reaching negative consequences for society. There are currently no standards or guidelines available for brands and agencies internationally or in Switzerland. Adherence to rigid gender roles and patriarchal norms limits men, women and LGBTQI individuals in their rights and opportunities. This is evidenced by existing gender bias and discrimination throughout society (home, employment, government). How could brands and agencies promote gender equality and avoids the use of gender-based stereotypes? The challenge aims at developing standards and guidelines for products and advertising that attempt to promote gender equality.

By Heather Huhtanen, David Mishra-Newberry, Davide Ballestra


  • Humour to Fight Gender Inequality


One challenge around feminism and gender-related inequalities is the difficulty to understand and discern it for people who are not experiencing them. Comedy and humour provide one way of making feminism more accessible by encouraging people to suspend their current beliefs and help them to overcome the negative perceptions held by feminism. How can we use humour to provide positive narratives, respectful of gender and other diversity dimensions?



  • Retention of Young Women in the Workplace


Although senior female managers are more loyal to their employer than men, the Advance Gender Intelligence report shows that the turnover (the rate at which employees leave a workforce and are replaced) among women aged 21 to 30 years old is significantly higher compared to their male counterparts. It is suspected that gender role expectations and the lack of role models plays an important role in this situtation. Additionally, young female talents themselves may perceive that they have lower chances to receive a promotion – especially once they have children or they lower their employment percentage. These may be reasons why women leave their employers at the beginning of their career more frequently than men. As it is also known that diversity in the workplace is good for business, companies should aim at higher retention rates of their female talents. What can governments, companies and women/men do to reduce the fluctuation of young women?



  • Women in Media


Women are widely under-represented in the media, as shown by various studies. The last Global Monitoring Project in 2015 showed that women only accounted for 24% of the people seen, heard, read or in question in the media, written or audiovisual. Among the given examples, 19% are women. Le Temps did its own introspection last March by calculating the percentage of women who write in the invited author pages. In 2016, 27% of the forums published in Le Temps were signed by women. Two questions arise : on one hand, how can we improve this percentage, and on the other, how can we assess its progress ?

By Le Temps


  • Women in Labour Market: Automation and AI Gap


Few would disagree that technology advancement has its benefits. Its transformative power means a future with new opportunities and limitless possibilities. However, women stand to lose, as they are less likely to be working in areas where the adoption of technology will create jobs. Reflecting the marked persistence of gender gaps in labour markets in emerging economies, men stand to gain one job for every three jobs lost to technology advances, while women are expected to gain one job for every five or more jobs lost. Then, how can we make sure that the benefits of automation and AI are shared by women as well as men?

By Apolitical


  • Awareness Raising on the Importance of Leadership Training for Women


According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, it should take 170 years to achieve gender equality on a global scale. Previous projections were first about 80 years, and later about 120 years. The progress is therefore extremely slow and we are moving backwards. Training people and providing workshops on gender equality which aim at enhancing women’s leadership skills have proven to be crucial in enabling dialogue and understanding about gender imbalances, as well as improving women’s self-confidence and skills. The goal of the challenge is to find solutions that would raise awareness towards governments and the private sector on the importance of leadership training for women.



  • Reintegration of Women in the Workplace


In Switzerland, most mothers are forced to interrupt their professional careers or lower their work percentage to take care of their newborn children. For those leaving the labor market, the possibility of reintegrating it later and the access to education is low and decreases as the years of unemployment go by. The most vulnerable persons are the ones undergoing economic vulnerability, as well as immigrating women. How do we enable the reintegration of these mothers in the work place, whilst taking into account the children at their charge, their level of education, the financial aspect or their nationality? Allowing them to have access to an education and supporting them in their search for employment seems crucial in order to provide them with an autonomous and stable situation.

By Hospice Général


  • Women in Leadership


Many companies in the ICT industry face a shortage of female talent in general and specifically in leadership positions. In the past, companies have invested in a number of initiatives as well as overall working conditions to promote female leadership, including but not limited to mentoring, talent programs, focused recruitment efforts, flexible working arrangements, etc. yet the results fall short of expectations. What does it take for female leadership to increase in a company that operates in a traditionally male industry?

By Swisscom


The Jury

Emily Atkinson

Founder and Director at DevelopHer (formerly Girls in Tech)

Emily is a software engineer at Condé Nast Britain.​ Coming into coding from a non-traditional path, Emily is passionate about encouraging others to learn more, regardless of experience. She was involved in the UK drive for Hour of Code, is interested in the crossover with tech and education, and regularly gives talks for events and workshops.

Kali Taylor

Advisor at United Nations SDG Lab

Kali Taylor leads the Geneva 2030 Ecosystem initiative and is an Advisor to the SDG Lab at UNOG.   These initiative promote collaboration and innovation for Geneva-based actors focused on SDG implementation. Prior to joining IISD, Kali co-founded and ran a youth-focused NGO that works on energy and climate issues called Student Energy. She has also completed an internship with the Green Growth Knowledge Platform, a joint initiative between the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the World Bank and the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) for advancing the green economy. In her early career, Kali held a number of positions in the energy industry focused on climate change and sustainability, including assessing policy regimes and technological options for climate mitigation. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Calgary specialized in Energy Management and a Graduate Diploma in Social Innovation from the University of Waterloo.

Anja Wyden Guelpa

Geneva State Chancellor

Anja Wyden Guelpa was the first woman elected as Chancellor of State in Geneva in 2009, and she was reelected in 2013 for a second term. Fascinated by innovation and change as the natural order of things, she began her career at the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs as project manager. She then went on to work for IBM Business Consulting, in which position she advised both public administrative offices and private companies on change management and strategy. She joined the public administration of Geneva in 2003, first as Deputy Director, then as General Director of the Social Policy division. In this strategic function, at the crossroads of politics and operational services, she modernized numerous procedures and regulations pertaining to social benefits, in order to reduce threshold effects and improve benefit targeting.

Together with the Heads of State departments, Anja Wyden Guelpa manages transversal issues and projects related to the modernisation of the administration. She ensures the organization of political rights, voting processes, and municipal, cantonal and federal elections. She also leads major innovative projects such as the partnership between public and private entities in the field of philanthropy or promotion of the active participation of young population in public debate.

Shirin Heidari

Director at Reproductive Health Matters Journal, Senior Fellow in Residence at The Graduate Institute Geneva

Dr. Shirin Heidari is the Executive Director of an international NGO, Reproductive Health Matters, promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of its peer-reviewed journal. Recently, Dr. Heidari has joined the Graduate Institute of International and Development studies in Geneva as Senior Fellow in Residence. Dr. Heidari has more than 15 years of experience in research, policy and advocacy, as well as in academic publishing, and is the author of more than 35 articles. A gender-equality and human rights activist, Dr. Heidari has been a trusted board member of Amnesty International in Sweden, working on sexual and reproductive health and rights. She has also served as Vice President of Kid’s Future, an organisation focusing on health and rights of women and children of ethnic minorities in northern Thailand. More recently, as a member of Council of European Association of Science Editors (EASE), she established and chaired a Gender Policy Committee, leading the development of the SAGER guidelines, encouraging researchers to address the gender bias in research.

Caitlin Kraft-Buchman

Founder and CEO at Women@TheTable, Co-Founder at International Gender Champions

Caitlin Kraft-Buchman founded and runs the Swiss NGO Women@theTable which helps make women visible on the global stage + women leaders a point of reference in cultural conversations that extend past ‘women’s issues’ into the larger debate on governance, the economy, technology, sustainability, and sport. She co-founded the International Gender Champions, (IGC), a leadership network of female and male decision makers that breaks down gender barriers for system change, in 2015 with the Director General of the UN in Geneva, and the former US Ambassador to the UN and international organizations in Geneva. The group originally called the Geneva Gender Champions quickly became the International Gender Champions, and a movement, with groups in New York and Vienna, and shortly Bonn-Berlin launching at COP23, the Climate Change conference in the fall.  IGC  counts the Heads of 175 organizations from the Director Generals of the World Trade Organization, International Labor Organization, World Intellectual Property Organization, World Health Organization, International Committee of the Red Cross, and the International Federation of the Red Cross, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and High Commissioner for Refugees, the Heads of CERN, the Atomic Energy Agency, the International Olympic Committee, the UN’s top Climate Change official, and now proudly the UN Secretary General António Guterres and his Cabinet along with Ambassadors, Civil Society and the Private Sector.

Gilles Crettenand

Coordinator at MenCare Switzerland

Gilles Crettenand is the Swiss coordinator of the Swiss MenCare National Program run by männer.ch, a member association of the International MenEngage Alliance. Inspired by the MenCare global campaign, MenCare Switzerland promotes fathers’ engagement and men’s participation in the field of general care (“caring mascunilities”). An economist by trade, his rich and varied professional career has led him to hold positions at all levels in marketing, HR and financial management , project management and the management of a para-public institution. In charge of developing MenCare in French speaking Switzerland for a year, he carries out various concrete actions addressed to companies: awareness courses for future and new fathers, conferences on the reconciliation of professional, private and family life – as well as to the population as a whole, interactive benefit information systems, exhibitions and debates.

Aniela Uguresan

Co-Founder at EDGE Certification, International Gender Champion

Prior to co-founding EDGE Certified Foundation, Aniela acquired extensive professional experience as a consultant with Arthur Andersen and Andersen Consulting, as a trader and project manager with TXU Europe and SIG Geneva, and as the CEO of CT Technologies. She holds an MBA from the University of Geneva and a BA in International Trade from the Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies. Aniela strongly believes that the time has come for businesses to move from vision to action, and that the EDGE certification process will enable them to understand what is holding them back while providing them with a road map to achieve better performance and more inclusive workplaces.