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Empowering Women

Since its beginnings in the early 1900’s, International Women’s Day has established itself as one of the most widely celebrated dates on the global calendar. On March 8 our teams across Asia Pacific organised celebratory events and female employees, including engineers and designers, shared their stories with media in the hope of inspiring other women. March also marked the launch of Intel’s latest global CSR initiative – She Will .

She Will seeks to empower girls and women around the world by fostering equal economic and educational opportunities so they can participate, prosper and lead in the global economy. Working together with partners in society and government, Intel is helping to remove gender-based barriers to education and technology. This is not a piecemeal pledge to ‘make things right’, it is a commitment to proven strategies to improve education, digital literacy, innovation, entrepreneurship and ultimately advance the way people live, work and learn.

Although much progress has been made since the first International Women’s Day in 1911, universal gender equality still evades today’s world. An estimated two-thirds of the world’s illiterate population are women , yet countries that have greater gender equality in education and employment have faster economic growth, more transparent businesses and lower levels of child mortality . Empowering women yields powerful, tangible dividends for societies and economies, enabling them to realise their true potential – something all the more crucial in today’s highly competitive global economy.

Intel has long recognised this concurrent responsibility and opportunity. Through our long-standing commitment to advance education and access to technology, we have learned first-hand how investing in women and girls improves not only their lives, but also that of their families, communities and the economy.

Education is the first crucial step to empowerment; it expands horizons, revealing new opportunities, and equips the recipient with the knowledge and skills to seek out further opportunities and identify and pursue their life goals.

In the last decade, Intel has invested over US$1 billion and Intel employees have donated close to 3 million hours toward improving education through technology-based education and digital literacy programs like Intel Easy Steps, Intel Learn and Intel Teach. The She Will initiative will complement these programs with an agenda specifically focused on girls and women.

In Taiwan She Will has got off to a flying start, championing the aspirational success stories of girls and women who have benefited from programs like Intel Teach and Intel ISEF. It is our conviction that their example will help inspire their peers and serve as best practice models for schools, communities, governments and organisations across Asia Pacific.

By improving and increasing access to education and technology women can acquire and generate new sources of prosperity and invest it in the health, education and well-being of their families and communities. This initiates escalating cycles of empowerment as they then reach out to help others. These small-scale but important advances are the drivers of innovation at the macro-level – employment and entrepreneurship. The result is decreased poverty and increased GDP.

These lofty aspirations can be somewhat daunting, so it is important to recognise they are only realised through millions of individual triumphs along the way. In the Philippines, a Leyte province government has made a commitment to use the Intel® Easy Steps program to teach digital literacy to women in the community . Through the program, there are many success stories like that of Gudilla B. Dacunay, a 49 year old day care worker from the Tanauan in the province of Leyte. Following her digital literacy training under the Intel Easy Steps program in January this year, she says she now feels that her social standing has risen as her colleagues consider her a role model for integrating technology into the learning process. Gudilla also feels that the very fact she is now computer literate is empowering, noticing that people respect her more.

Empowering people with knowledge and skills not only breeds confidence, it inspires people to seek out and pursue a purpose.

On the last day of the training Gudilla wrote a letter to her mayor requesting the loan of a laptop, LCD projector and screen for her day care centre. The mayor granted her request. As the President of the local Women’s Federation, Gudilla has taken it upon herself to become an advocate of technology, encouraging her community, as well as her colleagues, to use information technology to advance their lives.

The She Will program has particular resonance for our region. Gender equality is intrinsically linked to a country’s efforts to place knowledge, technology, entrepreneurship and innovation at the centre of its economy. Consequently it is also critical to remaining competitive in the global economy. As Asia Pacific continues its ascendancy in the global economy, countries across the region have the opportunity to leverage the massive potential that lies with incorporating gender equality within the fabric of their social and economic development. If this is achieved we will realise the improved social, economic and welfare outcomes that the empowerment of women is proven to deliver.