We are in a pivotal period in human history, and the next decade is a critical time period for humanity, our planet, and our future.
On September 25, 2015, at the United Nations General Assembly, world leaders representing 193 nations agreed on working towards achieving 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development over the next 15 years, intended to tackle the greatest challenges we face all over the world: ending poverty, protecting the planet, and ensuring prosperity for all.
Achieving all these goals requires democratizing innovation, and requires empowering the participation of women – half the world’s population – in solving and tackling these challenges.
It’s not enough to have Gender Equality as one of the Global Goals. In order to achieve these 17 Global Goals, we need to unleash the vision, creative ideas, scientific thinking, innovation, entrepreneurial drive, leadership, and problem-solving capabilities of women towards tackling these global challenges, and towards creating the future.
This is the guiding purpose behind the Womensphere GLOBAL CODEFEST, the Womensphere Innovation Leadership Lab (WILL) which pioneers, incubates, and scales STEAM*-powered and innovative approaches of empowering women and girls to create the future, and the Womensphere Incubator Network (WIN), a global initiative of the Womensphere Foundation to accelerate gender parity and inspire, train, and empower 1 million women and girls by 2020 (STEAM* = science, technology, engineering, arts & design, mathematics).
The Womensphere GLOBAL CODEFEST is a global movement and celebration to empower the next generation of women to code solutions to humanity's greatest challenges and to help achieve Global Goals for Sustainable Development.
There were two inspirations behind the Womensphere GLOBAL CODEFEST:
The NASA International Space Apps Challenge, now on its fifth year, which has harnessed the power of coders around the world to create innovative solutions to challenges posed by NASA, from space applications to those for climate change.
The overall open source movement and crowd-sourcing movement, which has harnessed the minds and talents of developers, creators, and problem-solvers around the world, to apply solutions towards all types of complex problems and issues.
We believe in taking an interdisciplinary approach to complex problem-solving. We also believe that the greatest innovation will come from the intersection of disciplines.
Thus, to empower and celebrate the next generation of women across several fields, we also have the Womensphere GLOBAL ARTFEST and Womensphere GLOBAL VIDEOFEST.
While there are Awards at stake, and while there is an exciting global contest component to this initiative, this is not just about a global competition identifying the top female talent around the world, nor is this only about having a visioning/problem-solving exercise.
The Womensphere GLOBAL CODEFEST is about building and celebrating a global community of like-minded leaders, innovators, and creators who are dedicated to creating a better future for the world. This is about empowering the next generation of women leaders, scientists, innovators, coders, artists, and creators to become active participants and leaders in shaping our vision for the world, and in creating solutions to achieve the Global Goals.
This is also about investing in advancing women’s knowledge and skills through learning from the world’s experts. This is about enriching the perspectives of those joining this community, and this is also about having this community enrich the perspectives of the world.
To these ends, we invite the participation of academic institutions, and of the women currently enrolled in universities and colleges around the world, across all majors, fields, and disciplines, to participate in the Womensphere GLOBAL CODEFEST. We invite the participation of companies as partners in this global effort, and to provide mentorship to the women participating in the Womensphere GLOBAL CODEFEST.
I invite your support and participation. I hope you will join us as partners and participants as we build and invest in this very special community through the Womensphere GLOBAL CODEFEST.
Best wishes on behalf of the Womensphere organizing teams,
Analisa Leonor Balares
Creator & Curator, Womensphere Global Codefest; CEO & Chief Innovation Officer, Womensphere Foundation, Womensphere Innovation Leadership Lab & Womensphere Incubator Network