Press Blogs

From classrooms in Nigeria, to forests in Brazil, and the frontlines in Ukraine -- meet the women who #EmbraceEquity

March 8, 2023

Gender equity is… fairness. Access to opportunities. Allowing everyone to reach their maximum potential. 

And, as Habiba Abdul Rabiu of Nigeria put it, gender equity is “synonymous to a better and more peaceful world.” 

This year, International Women’s Day is commemorated globally under the theme of “Embracing Equity.” It’s a celebration of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. Here at HP, we wanted to celebrate some of the women who inspire us. We asked women across our Sustainable Impact partnerships to share, in their own words, what gender equity means to them. Throughout, we found women united by purpose—women who are making a profound difference in the classroom, in their community, or even in a war zone.

“It is everyone's responsibility to educate their neighbor or the next person about gender equity,” Omolara Yeside Ojei, a teacher in Nigeria, told us. And in her classroom especially, she’s intentional about the use of teaching materials that embrace gender equity. A fellow teacher, Chidinma Amuchie, also says she makes a conscious effort to give everyone, regardless of their gender, the opportunity to learn. She takes simple steps to balance gender equity in her classroom, from seating arrangements to intentional language choices. And when her young students sometimes get emotional, she says she lets the tears flow, saying “it takes the eye to cry, not the gender.”

Both teachers participated in the HP Mentor a Teacher Program, a partnership between HP, 1 Million Teachers, and Girl Rising, which empowers educators across Africa to support girls and gender equity by providing skills, resources, and mentors. It’s one way HP is working to accelerate digital equity for 150 million people by 2030. Digital equity is the path for everyone, everywhere to have equal access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunity. And historically, girls and women are left out at higher rates.

Alla Kostyniak says all her life she has known the importance of education, especially during a time of crisis. Alla is a program officer for World Vision International in Ukraine who, when war broke out, volunteered at the Ukrainian-Romanian border. She saw “despair and fear” in the eyes of those desperately trying to cross to safety. Now, Alla is working to make sure educational needs are met with her work at World Vision. HP partnered with World Vision and the Global Business Coalition for Education as part of HP’s $30 million commitment to donate laptops and learning materials to teachers and students impacted by the war.

Iryna Polova’s 11-year-old daughter Margerita is continuing her education with a Ukrainian school using one of those laptops. They fled from Ukraine to Poland, where Iryna says she initially “thought she lost everything.” But now she has found that she has “gained a new life,” aided by a community of women who support one another: “We found ourselves getting closer day by day,” Iryna shared, “We formed a support group to strengthen each other.”

That community support can be invaluable. Growing up, YMCA Kosovo’s Avnora Morina says she started school later than other girls do nowadays in part because of the war in Kosovo. “Not many girls in my community finish elementary school,” she explains. “Therefore, for me it was important to finish elementary school, and high school and inspire other girls from the community to do the same.” Now, through her work with YMCA, she says “it is my goal to educate other girls, by providing them the resources needed to finish the school.”

YMCA Kosovo is participating in a partnership between HP and the YMCA to build tech centers and offer courses from HP LIFE, a free skills-training program from the HP Foundation. The courses are available in eight languages and cover topics from starting a small business to 3D printing.

Avnora’s work with YMCA Kosovo embodies the importance of inspiring the next generation of women and girls. Taruhim Miranda Cardoso Quadros, a Conversation and Restoration Analyst for the World Wildlife Fund in Brazil told us that she sees inspiration and gender equity as almost synonymous. “I grew up watching strong female, transgender leaders, fighting to open spaces in society with equity,” she says. “These are inspirations that help me build my mind and recognize all the potential that I have as a woman.”

Now in her forestry work, Taruhim notes “I am proud to say that the team promotes and embraces my female voice in the restoration of the Atlantic Forest. To help keep a continuity gender equity perspective, WWF together with HP is also strengthening women participation and leadership in natural resources decision-making spaces.”

At HP, we are proud of the difference our partnerships are helping us make across climate action, human rights and digital equity. And we are also ensuring we are creating a powerful culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion within our own organization. Two years ago, we were the first Fortune 100 tech company to commit to gender equality in leadership. So far, women represent 32.5% of director level and above positions globally. And right now, women represent more than 22% of technical and engineering positions. We aim to raise that to more than 30% by 2030. It’s not only the right thing to do – we know that diverse teams drive innovation, leading to thoughtful ideas that have the power to change the world.

There is more work to be done and no single company can solve the world’s global challenges alone. But by working together, we know we can create a better future. A future that Nigerian teacher Imemba Gift Victoria tells us is “a blissful one for women… because people are rendering their voices.” 


Lindsey O'Shaughnessy, HP


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