Harnessing technology and innovation for good — reflections from the RightsCon Summit Series

By Mary Bridger, Head of Operations and Engagement, Equal Measures 2030

Mary Bridger (third from left) takes part in a RightsCon panel to discuss the digital divide

From its early days, Equal Measures 2030 has worked to ensure that technology, innovation and information accessibility were central motivators in our work. Whether through our tech collaborations with partners like Tableau or JP Morgan or our commitment to ensuring advocates have access to data via innovative means and mediums, we are always looking for new ways to engage with our stakeholders and connect data and evidence with advocacy and action.

With these objectives in mind, we found a welcoming home at the recent RightsCon Summit Series held in Toronto this May. Over three days, a global community gathered together to collectively address the most pressing tech challenges in a context of respect for diversity, inclusion, and human rights.

At RightsCon, we gathered to collectively address the most pressing tech challenges in a context of respect for diversity, inclusion, and human rights

As the seventh event in the RightsCon Summit Series, convening organization Access Now brought together over 2000 people from 100+ countries and 750+ organizations, including top tier business leaders, technologists, government and intergovernmental representatives, startups, journalists, researchers, policy experts, human rights defenders and activists.

When invited to attend and participate in various speaking panels, Equal Measures 2030 was more than happy to accept and seize the opportunity to learn and collaborate with such an audience.

With speaking platforms on subjects including data accessibility for civil society advocates, closing the digital divide for girls and women and the role of the private sector in achieving the SDGs, Equal Measures 2030 had a busy three days filled with innovative collaboration opportunities, inspiring bilateral chats and reconnecting with existing allies.

All the while, we were able to bring our great work as an EM2030 partnership to new audiences from diverse sectors.

Overall, we were left with a confirmation of what the partnership had always believed: if we’re going to truly make an impact in this new SDG period, we cannot operate in a business-as-usual model.

The digital era that we’re currently in poses unique challenges and opportunities alike, whether it’s the gendered risks linked to consent and privacy facing girls and women in online spaces, or the accessibility of data and sharing potential that these same spaces provide.

if we’re going to truly make an impact in this new SDG period, we cannot operate in a business-as-usual model.

We as EM2030 need to continue to ensure that we are keeping these opportunities and challenges at the forefront of our minds as we look to harness this age of technological innovation and information access in our efforts to accelerate progress for girls and women across the SDGs.

We look forward to continuing these conversations and bringing the power of our forthcoming SDG Gender Index and Online Platform to the next RightCon Summit Series in Tunisia in 2019!