Author: Anu Jain (Member, Women Moving Millions)
Originally posted on March 31, 2017 – Women Moving Millions Member Bulletin
I have always been passionate about empowering girls and women around the world, and today I am inspired by the potential of technology to scale our impact.
I have spent the majority of my career in technology, co-founding companies that scaled access to information: Lavish Life (educating people about safe natural skincare/beauty products), InfoSpace and Intelius (making public information accessible to individuals).
I am excited to now be working at the intersection of impact + technology. My husband and I recently launched a $1 million Women Safety XPrize competition to incentivize innovators to design a technology-based solution that sets a new safety standard for girls and women. The winning technology solution will autonomously and inconspicuously trigger an emergency alert while transmitting information to a network of community responders, all within 90 seconds and for less than US $40 per device. Our hope is this solution will avert the assault and also help change the mindset of the attacker as he will think twice before attempting an assault again.
We have used technology to solve so many problems in our lives (from tracking our steps to building driverless cars), and yet women all around the world – regardless of where they live – still feel unsafe. I believe that we can use technology to create a world where women don’t have to worry about their safety, and can instead focus on pursuing their dreams.
As an advisory board member of Girl Up, a campaign of the UN Foundation, I have been lucky enough to visit some of the programs they run for the hardest to reach adolescent girls in Udaipur, India with my 23 year old daughter, Priyanka. These programs bring young village girls together on a monthly basis to build awareness around issues of health, their rights, education and child marriage. It was heartbreaking to see these girls being pulled out of school because parents didn’t feel their daughters would be safe walking a few miles to school or getting married off at such a young age.
I know that if we can empower girls with true safety, we can change this picture.
Once a girl is safe, she can go to school, get a job, and build a business, creating ripple effects that are felt throughout her family, her community and our world. This has certainly been the case for myself and my two sisters and brother; our father wanted to ensure we were equipped with the best education so that we could be independent and on as equal footing as men. He strongly believed that education was the secret to a life of freedom.
I share my father’s beliefs and view education as the most effective tool in transforming the trajectory of a girl’s life. Since women typically reinvest 90% of their income back into their communities, as compared to only 35% for men, when you educate a girl and help her get a job, you are bringing prosperity not only to her and her family, but to our world.
I am honored to be part of WMM, a community of women leaders who believe in our individual and communal power to change what our world looks like. I hope that my story highlights the opportunity to leverage technology for social good to create deep, lasting, and scalable change. Please help spread the word for teams to register by April 28th to come up with a safety solution for women.
Anu Jain holds a BA in business administration and economics from SUNY, Stony Brook, NY, and an MBA from Rutgers University in New Jersey. She grew up in Jerusalem, Israel and the neighboring countries as a UN child. Anu is on several non-profit boards focused on making a positive impact in the world. She and her husband have three children who are all entrepreneurs and actively involved in giving back to the community.