Solutions for Women

The Global Tech Challenge, launched at CES 2020, is presented by CES® and the World Bank Group.



2021 Winners

Supported by the World Bank’s Digital Development Practice, whose mission is to achieve connectivity for all, the Solution for Women Challenge rewards scalable and innovative technological solutions that seek to increase digital access, skills and opportunities for women. The challenge was supported by a panel of leading experts from: Microsoft 4Afrika Initiatives, GSMA, SoftBank, the International Telecommunication Union, IBM and The Female Quotient. The 3 winners of the challenge will engage with governments and World Bank Group teams to potentially scale their solutions within development projects.

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About the Challenge

The World Bank Group, one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries, has partnered with CES, the world’s largest and most influential technology event — to reward scalable, innovative solutions that seek to empower women in four areas:  

  1. Platforms: Solutions that increase the availability of locally relevant digital platforms catering to women.

  2. Digital skills: Solutions that support the development of digital skills by women and girls.

  3. Online content: Solutions that increase the availability of women-oriented online content and platforms.

  4. Enhancing digital access: Solutions that focus on innovative business models that make it easier for women to access and use digital technologies and enable the use of digital identification, such as pay-as-you-go systems, and models that promote women's sustained use of mobile internet.

Benefits for Innovators

The Global Tech Challenge: Solutions for Women provides a platform for innovators to

  • Deploy solutions at scale.
  • Replicate tested ideas in new environments.
  • Engage with World Bank clients.
  • Build long-term, sustainable solutions to achieve digital equality.

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Digital Gender Gap


women around the world not using the internet


women remain disconnected


women are less likely than men to use internet in developing countries


New Focus Area for Rapid Response

The application period closed on May 4.

Addressing the gender digital divide is crucial to ensuring the sustainability of women’s livelihood. This is particularly the case during crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic when connectivity is key.

Historically, leaving structural gender inequalities out of the crisis response has further compounded those inequalities. At times like this, we need to emphasize the importance of digital access for women.

  • Access to mobile phones can help gain access to key information for women, at a time when access to their traditional information channels may be limited.

  • Access to information and communication technologies can ensure that women have access to mobile money, helping poverty outcomes for female-headed households. As countries implement unconditional cash transfer programs, enabling women to access money can improve their household bargaining power.

  • Access to mobile phones during area-wide quarantines can help women seek emotional support and advice as they shoulder more care work within the household.

Given the COVID-19 pandemic, we will accept rapid response applications to fast track implementation of sustainable solutions around digital access and online content.

Challenge Timeline

More About Why We Need Digital Solutions for Women

Barriers to gender digital equality are linked, among other factors, to availability of infrastructure, financial constraints, interest and perceived relevance of digital technologies, and socio-cultural and institutional contexts.

More than 300 million fewer women access the internet in low and middle-income countries than men. This divide has persisted and is, in fact, widening.

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Opportunities for Winners

  • Recognition at CES 2021. 
  • Mentorship from technology companies and World Bank leaders. 
  • Share stories at regional and international events. 
  • Build professional networks. 
  • Raise international profile and brand. 
Frequently Asked Questions

Learn about who is eligible, application criteria and more. 

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