Competition Winners Advance Economic Equality Through Innovation

Competition Winners Advance Economic Equality Through Innovation
January 22, 2014 at 03:01pm

It’s true that women today constitute 25% or less of the total workforce in the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and Pakistan – half the global average. But the just-announced winners of the Women Powering Work: Innovations for Economic Equality competition show that women across the region are leveraging market forces, new technology and innovative approaches to change all that.

Of the 107 entries and nine finalists, the three winning innovations in this year’s competition originate from from Jordan and Pakistan. All three demonstrate the scope of innovation and scale of economic dynamism among female entrepreneurs in the region. Each winner will receive $25,000 in unrestricted funding to support their solutions for advancing economic opportunities for women.

Every day, these women and countless others are creating opportunities for growth for females across the region. This is crucial for equitable growth because studies show that families, communities, and nations prosper when women have access to economic equality, in part because empowering women  enhances the wellbeing and resilience of societies as a whole.

The competition winners are: Busanti, a bus service in Pakistan that provides safe, affordable transportation to women, as well as access to a 24/7 health hotline; DoctHERS-in-the-House, a healthcare marketplace in Pakistan that connects home-based, female doctors to patients through telemedicine; and Handasiyat.net, a web portal from Jordan that enables Arab female engineers across the Middle East and North Africa to telecommute.

The winning innovations were selected by a panel of expert judges that included Kim Hessler, Director of Sustainability in General Electric, Amy Millington, President of eBay Foundation’s The Opportunity Project and Ahsan Jamil, CEO of The Aman Foundation.

The Women Powering Work: Innovations for Economic Equality competition, sponsored by General Electric and Ashoka Changemakers, contributes to the broader goal of greater economic equality and stronger communities. It does so both directly, through its cash award to winners and networking opportunities provided to entrants, and indirectly through the encouragement to companies operating in this field and general awareness raising about the importance of economic equality.

For more on GE’s initiatives to help build dynamic economies and strengthen the labor force, click here.

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