frequently asked questions

here are some questions we are often asked about our work, our Principles and how gender-responsive innovation helps women and girls.

WhAt is the gicc?

UN Women created the Global Innovation Coalition for Change (GICC) with private sector, academic and non-profit institutions that collectively wish to improve women’s access, participation and ability to innovate. Our gender-response approach goes beyond acknowledging and raising awareness of gender gaps but also ensuring women’s and men’s concerns and experiences are equally integrated in the design of innovative products or services.

The GICC has three main goals:

• Build market awareness of the potential for innovations developed by women that meet the needs of women and girls

• Identify the key barriers to women and girls’ advancement in innovation, technology and entrepreneurship

• Work collaboratively to identify and take actions to address these barriers and needs at an industry-wide level

How does the gicc work?

The GICC helps UN Women implement activities that support women and girls in areas related to science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) and innovation. The GICC will review progress on, and constraints to, gender equality and women’s empowerment in innovation and technology globally and provide feedback and advice for the UN Women's innovation strategy.

The GICC has also been charged with promoting collaboration on gender and innovation between members and other organizations and to help overall efforts to raise awareness in countries of gender-related innovation issues as well as of the benefits to societies and economies of improving innovation practices and opportunities for women and girls.

The coalition was created in 2017 as a two-year pilot to develop a platform for private and public-sector partners to come together to address the barriers to women. Between 2017 and 2019, members of the GICC will develop a shared vision for actionable strategies to reduce the gender innovation gap.

The GICC will also take on an informal advisory role to UN Women and provide recommendations for approaches to ensure multi-sectoral action and commitment to advance women and girls across the innovation cycle.  After the two years, the recommendations will be integrated into the cross-sectoral efforts to address the barriers to innovation faced by women and girls. The coalition will be further expanded to include new partners and objectives. 

The coalition will provide working papers and a final report that summarizes and evaluates the suggested strategies.

WhY is innovation a key priority for women and the gicc?

The achievement of the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), notably gender equality and women’s empowerment (SDG 5), requires transformative shifts, integrated approaches and new solutions. Based on current trajectories, existing interventions will not be enough to achieve a Planet 50-50 by 2030. Innovative approaches that disrupt “business as usual” are central to delivering the SDGs for all. Innovation and technology provide unprecedented opportunities to break trends and reach those who are the most likely to be left behind. This is why UN Women has prioritized innovation technology as one of the “drivers of change” within its new Strategic Plan, 2018 – 2021.

What is the gender gap in innovation?

The gender gap in innovation refers to women’s under-representation as innovators, entrepreneurs and users of innovation, especially in STEM sectors, which have a high level of influence on innovation. It also refers to the lack of a gender-responsiveness in understanding women’s needs and the barriers of access and participation faced by women in the innovation cycle and the limited investment in innovations that meet the needs of women.

what is the difference between gender-sensitive and gender-responsive approaches?

Traditional approaches to diversity and inclusion typically adopt a gender-sensitive approach. This means they identify gender issues and aim to redress existing gender inequalities. The gender-responsive approach means going beyond acknowledging gender gaps and integrating women and men’s concerns and experiences equally so that they become fundamental elements in the design of innovative products or policies and that due consideration is given to gender norms, role and relations.

how did you come up with the GICC principles?

The Gender Innovation Principles incorporate various international standards providing tools and guidance for companies and organizations on how to integrate innovation and technology in development work and how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community. They refer to the Principles for Innovation and Technology in Development endorsed by UN Innovation Network Member and to the principles on Gender Equality and Innovation developed by the International Development Innovation Alliance (IDIA). They also refer to the Women's Empowerment Principles developed by UN Women and UN Global Compact that include corporate policies and processes that aim to better include women within the organization.

what are the objectives of the principles?

The Gender Innovation Principles serve as a guide for any organization trying to adopt a gender-responsive approach, suggesting entry points and actions to be undertaken. They also aim at bringing together like-minded organizations opened to sharing experience and knowledge to accelerate progress in their respective sectors.  

The aim of the Principles is to build on these approaches by addressing gender inequalities but also helping partners in adopting a gender-responsive approach in all their activities. The principles provide organizations with the benchmark for how to include women and women’s needs throughout the innovation life cycle so that they are at the heart of the design, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation of the innovation process.

What does it mean for an organization ot sign up?

In signing the Principles, participating organizations agree to adopt and implement them in support of UN Women’s and the Global Innovation Coalition for Change’s commitment to make innovation and technology work for women and girls. UN Women will capture and share experiences and knowledge across the network of signatory institutions to continuously improve collective action and will also evaluate and improve the principles over time. There is no quick fix, but by adopting the Principles, signatories will commit to taking positive action over the coming months and years.

What is the assessment tool and how does it work? 

The assessment tool takes about 10 minutes to complete and helps organizations set a benchmark to make gender-responsive improvements going forward.

After taking the assessment, the tool will calculate whether your organization falls under one of the falling innovator categories: beginner, emerging, mature or leading. The key to successfully implementing the principles will be based on your accuracy in answering these questions. The assessment can help you identify how far you’ve come and what remains to be done to progress to the next level.

We suggest that you take the assessment each year to see how your organization is progressing and to help you keep on track. The GICC understands this is a long journey and that each organization is unique with different challenges around this subject. Our role is to support you every step of the way.

What Happens after I take the assessment?

Once you have taken the initial assessment you will be informed of your current standing. If for example, you are deemed an “emerging” innovator you will be given a description of what you’re doing well and what you need to do to make further improvements. We also encourage you to integrate some of these parameters in your corporate KPIs so that they are easier to track. This will also show a high-level corporate commitment to adopting a gender-responsive approach to innovation.

What is She innovates global?

The She Innovates Global Program is created by UN Women and Global Innovation Coalition for Change. The program helps female innovators and entrepreneurs to defy gender barriers and turn their women-centered solutions into reality. The program consists of various elements such as events and meet ups, local chapters, mentoring program and She Innovates labs. For more information go to:

What is the 4Good program?

The program promotes women innovators in South Africa and gives them access to the knowledge, skills and expertise they need to grow, sustain and scale their business. Visit the 4Good Programme website for more information.