Women | Tools | Technology: Building Opportunities & Economic Power

Women | Tools | Technology

Building Opportunities & Economic Power

Competition Information

Competition News

Winners Announced! The three winners will each receive a prize of US$5,000 from Ashoka Changemakers, and will be invited to participate in a collaboration workshop with Ashoka’s Changemakers and ExxonMobil during summer/fall 2010.

You may continue to read and comment on all entries. As always, we welcome your feedback.

ExxonMobil Welcome Letter

Welcome to Women | Tools | Technology: Building Opportunities & Economic Power.

ExxonMobil and Ashoka’s Changemakers believe technology has the potential to improve women’s economic livelihoods and, in turn, raise their standard of living, strengthen their families and communities, and contribute significantly to global progress.

The International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) joins Women | Tools | Technology as a partner, sharing its authoritative research in the field of gender and development – as well as new research on the ability of technology to forward the economic advancement of women in developing countries– to ensure the success of this challenge and its impact on improving the lives of women and their communities.

Through this challenge, we are looking for creative ideas and sustainable approaches that imagine a world in which women from developing countries contribute to and become leaders in our rapidly changing economy.

Whether through innovation, expanded distribution, more thoughtful design, outreach and education, or creative adaptation, the ideas and solutions generated through this challenge must spark profound transformation in the way women live and work every day.

We look forward to reviewing entrants' projects and considering their potential for impact. If you have a transformative solution for catalyzing women’s economic advancement through technology, join us. Watch technology live up to its promise of changing the world – the whole world – for the better.

Exxon Mobil Corporation

Guidelines and Criteria

The Women | Tools | Technology Challenge is open to all
types of individuals and organizations (charitable organizations,
private companies, or public entities) from all countries. We
consider all entries that:

  • Reflect the theme of the challenge: Women | Tools |
    Technology: Building Opportunities & Economic Power
  • Indicate growth beyond the conceptual stage and have
    demonstrated impact and sustainability. While we support new
    ideas at every stage and encourage their entry, the judges are
    better able to evaluate programs that are beyond the conceptual
    stage and have demonstrated a proof of impact.
  • Are submitted in English, Spanish, French, or

Please complete the entire entry form and submit before April
14, 2010.

Assessment Criteria

The winners of Women | Tools | Technology will be those that
best meet the following criteria:

Innovation: This is the knock-out test. The entrant
must describe a systemic and/or transformational solution that,
when applied, will expand women's access to and use of technology
to support their economic advancement. The innovation will
demonstrate a substantial difference from other initiatives in
the field with potential for replication. The solutions may

  • Development of a new technology that meets an unmet need for
  • Expanded distribution of an existing technology that already
    serves women
  • Improved outreach and education that teaches women how to use
    a technology to their utmost advantage
  • Better implementation processes - such as creative partnerships, distribution mechanisms or financing - that

    technology use is effective and sustainable for women.

The ideas and solutions generated through this challenge must
spark profound transformation in the way technologies used by
women in developing countries are invented, designed, accessed,
understood, used, or serviced.

Social Impact: It is important that the innovation
provides a system-changing solution that expands women's access
to and use of technology to promote their economic advancement.
We will look for projects and solutions that have the potential

  • Increase women's economic productivity or provide new
    economic opportunities
  • Rethink women's engagement in significant economic sectors -
    like energy and information and communication technologies
  • Identify and address at least one of the barriers which have
    prevented women from experiencing the benefits of technology
  • Demonstrate how women are integrated in the lifecycle of the
    technology development process not just as technology users, but
    also as technology designers, manufacturers, marketers, etc.

Some innovations will have proven success at a small level,
while others will have potential to grow, engaging millions of
people. Still others will achieve their impact quickly, while
some will seed change for the long term. We look for breadth and
depth, numbers and stories that make a substantive difference in
the lives of women and their communities. ExxonMobil has a
special interest in supporting investment worthy solutions that
support women's economic opportunities in the developing

Sustainability: For an innovation to be truly effective
it must:

  • Demonstrate a plan for financial support
  • Explain how partnerships, community support, design,
    marketing, or distribution opportunities will support long-term

Entrants should describe not only how they are currently
financing their work, but also how they plan to finance their
work in the future. The most successful entrants describe a
long-term vision with regional and or global targets and the
financial model to support them. Entrants should also demonstrate
that they have strong partnerships and support networks that help
achieve the project's mission.

For more information about how to integrate women in the
technology development lifecycle and the barriers that
historically prevent women from accessing and/or using
technology, see the International Center for Research on Women's
(ICRW) white paper,


target="_blank">Bridging the Gender Divide in Technology:
How technology can advance women economically

Challenge Deadlines and Procedures

Online submissions are accepted until April 14, 2010 at 5PM US
EST. At any time before this deadline, participants are
encouraged to revise their entries based on questions and
insights that they receive through the Changemakers'
collaborative process. Participation in the discussion enhances
an entrant's prospects and provides the community and the judges
an opportunity to understand the entrant's project more
completely. Participants are reminded to include all revisions in
the entry form. Revisions made in the comment field are less
likely to be viewed by the judges.

There are four main phases in the challenge:

  • Entry Stage, January 27 - April 14, 2010: Entries can
    be submitted until 5PM US EST on April 14, 2010, and throughout
    this stage anyone can participate in online discussion with the
    entrants. Early entries - received by March 1, 2010 - will be
    eligible for additional prizes.
  • Online Review and Judging, May 25 - June 2, 2010:
    Online review and discussion continues. Simultaneously, a panel
    of expert judges and a team of Ashoka staff select 10-15
  • Voting, June 2 - June 22, 2010: The Changemakers
    community votes online to select the three award-winners from the
    slate of finalists.
  • Winners Announced, June 29, 2010: The Women | Tools |
    Technology winners - the three finalists that receive the most
    votes - will each receive USD $5000 from Ashoka Changemakers and be invited to participate in collaboration workshops later this year.

Participation in the challenge provides the opportunity to
receive feedback from fellow entrants, Changemakers staff,
judges, and the Changemakers community. Showcasing initiatives
and demonstrating social impact advise potential investors about
how best to maximize the strategic impact of their


Early Entry Prize: The best two entries submitted by
6pm EST, March 1, 2010 will be eligible to win a digital camera
(with a value equivalent of up to USD $400),
to be featured in the Women in the World summit on March 12-14, 2010, and to be highlighted in Ashoka’s Changemakers marketing materials. Being an Early Entry Prize winner does
not preclude you from winning the competition in any way, or
guarantee finalist status. All entries will be equally evaluated
per the Changemakers criteria at the completion of the entry

Challenge Winners: Winners of the Women | Tools | Technology Challenge will each receive USD $5000 from Ashoka Changemakers and will also be invited to participate in a collaboration workshop with Ashoka’s Changemakers and ExxonMobil during summer 2010.

Disclaimer-Compliance with Legal Restrictions

Ashoka complies fully with all U.S. laws and regulations,
including Office of Foreign Assets Control regulations, export
control, and anti-money laundering laws. All grants will be
awarded subject to compliance with such laws. Ashoka will not
make any grant if it finds that to do so would be unlawful. This
may prohibit awards in certain countries and/or to certain
individuals or entities. All recipients will comply with these
laws to the extent they are applicable to such recipients. No
recipient will take any action that would cause Ashoka to violate
any laws. Additionally, Ashoka will not make any grant to a
company involved in the promotion of tobacco use.

Judges Panel

Andrés Randazzo

Founder and Executive Director, SANUT

Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi

Founder and Executive Director, African Women's Development Fund

Christine Grumm

President and CEO, Women's Funding Network

Geeta Rao Gupta

Senior Fellow, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Pamela Darwin

Vice President, Geoscience, ExxonMobil