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I believe technology is the strongest catalyst for change in our community, our society and our economy. For example, technology can offer us a way to bring education to young girls who can’t access it due to local social and economic factors, such as a lack of female bathrooms in schools. By leveraging technology through the Action Coalition platform, we can bring solutions into the real world.

The number one thing I have seen consistently work in driving change is being bold and challenging the status quo. We have to keep asking difficult questions, such as why girls are being trafficked, and then think how we can use technology to help put an end to this atrocity. By leveraging tools like artificial intelligence, big data and machine learning, we can start to tackle this issue and many of the other huge societal challenges in the world. The second thing that works is building a sense of community. Nobody can single-handedly mobilize a movement of change, instead you must build a community and work as a team. Finally, I have something I call ‘go big or go home’ – if you really want to leverage technology, don’t be shy. Technology has the capability to build solutions at scale, and that is something we need to tap into by thinking big.

If you want to leverage technology, don't be shy.

In order to extract the true value of technology, we have to be open and vulnerable to exploring the power of innovation. Innovation is not just building something out of an idea. It is bringing the best ‘out’ of the idea which addresses a specific challenge. I work with a lot of startups and have grown to appreciate this culture of innovation and pushing the envelope. We need to bring that mindset to see transformative change in achieving gender equity.

One of the most exciting aspects of the Action Coalition process is setting targets. We are focusing on bridging data and accountability, so thinking about how we can measure all of the work that we are doing is vital to ensure real success. At the Generation Equality Forum in Paris, we announced a new collective commitment that Microsoft is spearheading, aimed at addressing the disparities in the quality, availability and use of gender-related data. Read more about Microsoft’s ground-breaking commitments at the Forum.

Through the Generation Equality Forum and Action Coalitions, we are encouraging folks to learn from one another and to advocate collectively. Creating durable change is not easy, but with the power of data we can generate concrete evidence showing what works, what doesn’t work, and what we need to do differently to achieve the transformative change we are after.

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InfluencHER: Technology as a Catalyst for Change

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