Ana Isabel González participates in the Hackatón Femenino, part of an initiative in Costa Rica that encourages young women to take up technology. It is supported through UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality.

Ana Isabel González participates in the Hackatón Femenino, part of an initiative in Costa Rica that encourages young women to take up technology. It is supported through UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality. Photo: Sulá Batsú/Natalia Vargas

UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality

Fund for Gender Equality icon

As a global grant-making facility, the Fund for Gender Equality backs the economic and political empowerment of women around the world. It finances high-impact initiatives by women-led organizations that deliver concrete results, especially for the most marginalized women and girls. In 2015, the Fund disbursed USD 7.6 million to 53 active programmes, and awarded USD 7.3 million in 24 new grants after a rigorous selection process involving 1,400 applications. The Fund’s total portfolio now includes 120 programmes worth USD 64 million. 

When Pamela Araya was a young girl in rural Costa Rica, she enjoyed taking computers apart. As she grew up, she realized she wanted to create computer programmes. Araya went to study computer engineering at the Costa Rica Institute of Technology in the northern area of San Carlos. Coming from an impoverished rural area, social pressure on her to pursue a “more feminine” career was intense. But Araya refused to back down. Today, the 22-year-old has an internship in a software engineering company as a junior software developer. “I feel powerful, like I am able to do a lot of things,” she says proudly.

Pamela’s path to empowerment in the male-dominated world of technology was eased by the Technological Café, an event organized by the Cooperative Sulá Batsú, through support from UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality. It drew together a host of dynamic women entrepreneurs and technology leaders to mentor young women like Pamela. Inspired to pursue her own dreams, she now participates in an ongoing series of Technological Cafés as a leader and mentor in her own right. “It is hard to know other women studying technology because there are so few of us. Having the chance to meet and talk is wonderful. There is nothing a woman cannot do; those are myths from the past.”

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The Fund for Gender Equality is both innovative and important—a generous source of funding dedicated to gender equality, with the power and resourcefulness of UN Women behind it. The training in results-based management was one of the most valuable requirements any donor has attached to a grant for Karama. FGE is unique in making such a strategic contribution to our organizational strengthening.”

KARAMA Beneficiary of the Fund for Gender Equality

For the full list of grantees, please visit unwomen.org/en/trust-funds.

FUND FOR GENDER EQUALITY

53

active
programmes

28.3

total value of
active grants in
millions of USD

218,000

direct
beneficiaries