September 20, 2017

Let's Hack Policy and Improve Women's Lives!

poster of the Sustainable Development Goals

Did you contribute to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals announced in September 2000? How about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) announced in January 2016?

If you are not employed by the United Nations, is it even possible to contribute to these goals? Can you, as an individual, make a difference at a global scale? The answer to both these questions is yes. Now, the most important question: Do you want to make a difference? If the answer to this question is yes, read on.

The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Foraus (the Swiss Forum on Foreign Policy), and Think Tank Hub Geneva are organizing the “SDG Accelerator #PolicyHack,” November 17–19, 2017, at Impact Hub Geneva. The event will focus specifically on one SDG: achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

Here is a quick FAQ on the event.

What is the format? And who should apply?

It is a hackathon bringing together people of diverse backgrounds including executive directors, students, entrepreneurs, diplomats, politicians, representatives of international organizations, academic institutions, think tanks, administration, corporations, and NGOs.

It will help accelerate the implementation of the SDGs by creating a space for the development of new tools and innovations for effective, efficient, and transparent policies at the local, national, or global level. As teams get cracking on the issue, the working sessions will be interjected with talks by noteworthy academics, policymakers, entrepreneurs, and changemakers.

At the end of the event, the teams will present their solutions to policymakers, decision-makers, representatives from academia, think tanks, and international organizations. A jury will provide feedback as well as individualized support to further develop the solutions.

What are the goals of the event?

The event has two main goals:

  • Creating awareness about the SDGs by involving a varied audience and empowering people to help achieve the goals. In addition, ameliorating the understanding of how the SDGs affect us and how we, as individuals, can contribute to a better tomorrow.
  • Finding innovative local, national, or global policy solutions and tools through cross-sector collaboration between people from diverse backgrounds, and boosting public impact and sustainability of global governance decisions.

What specific issues will be tackled at the event?

The event will address any issue that helps achieve gender equality including, but not limited to, the following:

  • End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere
  • Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation
  • Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation
  • Recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household and the family as nationally appropriate
  • Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life
  • Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences
  • Undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws
  • Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women
  • Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels

Should I apply?

If you are keen to make a difference, feel passionate about solving any of the issues listed above, are motivated to tackle challenges as part of a community, and are ready to share your knowledge — yes!

What happens after the hackathon?

Organizers will provide individual follow-up consultancy sessions to support the teams in further developing and implementing the solutions presented at the event.

What are the types of viable solutions?

The solutions can take any form — political proposals, structural changes, creation of a startup, changes in legal frameworks, technological solutions, or a combination of any of these possibilities.

Alright! I am interested! What do I do?

To begin with, submit a challenge by September 22, 2017. If you miss the deadline, you can still participate by registering as a policy hacker. Registration begins on October 1, 2017. Visit Think Tank Hub Geneva’s SDG Accelerator for more information.

Let’s get hacking and do our part to contribute to a better world.

The views expressed in the Government Innovators Network blog are those of the individual author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, the John F. Kennedy School of Government, or of Harvard University.

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