It’s 2021 and technology is present in every part of our daily lives. Our personal routines and professional work. We know the power of technology, but it can also be leveraged as a tool to enable change. There are so many opportunities to use tech as an enabler to create a more equal and sustainable world. But in order for that to happen we need to ask ourselves - how do we use the power of technology to create a more socially sustainable world?
So that's what we did. We gathered our local social entrepreneurs and some prominent experts from the business and entrepreneurship field to explore the biggest barriers to using tech as a tool to accelerate social good. Our discussions landed on three critical themes.
In Sweden, statistics show only 28% of those working in the tech industry are women, but more worryingly, only 11% of those pursuing deep tech education are women. And this data only reflects gender inclusion. One of the most discussed topics during our Roundtable was how to make the creation and use of tech more inclusive. Both when it comes to producing, and consuming tech. To find the best solutions for how to use tech as an enabler for social good we need to broaden our perspective and democratise innovation and the production of tech. By teaming up with local social entrepreneurs the tech industry can easily get better access and understanding of the perspectives from those who live closest to the challenges. At Reach for Change, we believe in creating more potential spaces and opportunities for different actors to meet and interact.
How can we make tech more inclusive if the content is tailored for certain groups? In Ghana, Reach for Change works with a female led organisation, Young at Heart, who shared some very interesting insights with us. Production of content in the edtech industry is for example based on Western content and stories. Young at Heart has addressed this challenge by creating African curated content, to contribute and have an African representation in the development of the edtech industry. This example sums up the need for diverse perspectives and how we increase our chances of creating a more equal world as long as we always look at challenges from the beneficiaries' glasses.
All of the local social entrepreneurs we support in our programs start with the challenge. The problem they want to solve. Some use tech solutions to solve it, some have more face to face service models. But they all understand the potential technology can play in scaling their impact. But most of them haven’t been working in the tech industry with loads of knowledge, networks and insights into how to maximise impact. In Sweden, one of the entrepreneurs that Reach for Change supports is a social enterprise by the name of Locker Room Talk, who educate sports teams and young boys in gender norms through banter in the Locker Room. But this is of course not only a challenge in the locker rooms. The boys come home after practice, turn on their computers and then it continues. Imagine if we can get better at combining the knowledge of the beneficiaries that organisations like Locker Room Talk have with expertises from the tech industry. It’s not always a matter of reinventing new ideas and solutions. Many great ideas have the potential to be converted into digital solutions, or the digital world. But we do need to lower the barriers to access the knowledge and insights in tech as an enabler.
Sofia BreitholtzReach for Change CEO
June 30, 2021, 12:49 p.m.
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