In 2009, ExxonMobil, in partnership with Ashoka's Changemakers and the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), committed to advance economic opportunities for women through technology by contributing new research and identifying proven innovations in developing countries. Building on the momentum of the 2009 commitment, ExxonMobil, Ashoka's Changemakers, ICRW, and the Thunderbird Emerging Markets Laboratory (TEM Lab) will partner to expand the reach of high-impact and sustainable innovations that access innovative energy technologies to help advance women economically. Technologies to Improve Women’s Economic Livelihoods program will include grants and consulting support; supporting the innovators' connections with other social entrepreneurs, and business and technical experts; and the identification of best practices.
The program will help identify and deploy technologies and innovations that can improve quality of life and enable women to participate more fully in income-generating activities. The program is part of ExxonMobil’s Women’s Economic Opportunity Initiative (previously Educating Women and Girls Initiative), which was launched in 2005 and has invested more than $20 million in programs that have involved women from 64 developing countries.
The $1.5 million first-year commitment of the Technologies to Improve Women’s Economic Livelihoods program will involve the research, publication and dissemination of a white paper by the International Center for Research on Women on areas where technological innovation can advance women’s economic productivity.
As a result of their increased access to technology, beneficiaries of this commitment are beginning to see new economic opportunities, such as increased crop yields, increased productivity, and business growth. The measurement and evaluation process implemented by ICRW enables grantees to better understand the strengths and weaknesses of their project implementation process and improve their efforts accordingly. This information will inform ExxonMobil's future investments, and can serve as a best practice model for others in this space.