Harnessing Technology and Innovation to Support Women’s Post-Pandemic Economic Empowerment



Advancing Women’s and Girls’ Rights: Harnessing Technology and Innovation to Support Women’s Post-Pandemic Economic Empowerment

The coronavirus pandemic is disproportionately hitting women, posing increasing challenges to women’s rights and access to economic opportunities around the world. The economic fallout due to COVID-19 has been devastating for women and has pushed millions out of the labour force, depriving them of their livelihoods.  

At the same time, governments, as well as international and national organizations, are dedicating significant resources to fostering the economic development and education of women and girls. Including women and girls in decision-making around the pandemic response is crucial to addressing their needs and priorities and to ensuring an effective overall response.  

Now more than ever, we must accelerate efforts to promote women’s economic empowerment and support environments that enable women to thrive in all aspects of their lives. Research and academia are key players in these efforts, offering examples, projects, lessons learned and evidence-based recommendations about the most challenging issues. 

This webinar will highlight the importance of women’s economic empowerment in ensuring a sustainable recovery — including supporting women entrepreneurs as well as the education of girls — and discuss ways we can harness technology and innovation to advance this agenda.  

Tuesday, May 18, 2021 
9 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. (EST) | 4 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. (EEST) 

Online via Zoom 
This event is open to the public.  

Registration is required

This event will be in English, but the audience may ask questions in French. 

The event will be recorded for future use such as on the website of the University of Ottawa or the Embassy of Finland.  


Opening remarks:
  • His Excellency Roy Eriksson, Ambassador of Finland in Canada 
    H.E. Roy Eriksson is the Ambassador of Finland in Canada since 2019. He arrived to Canada from Mexico, where he served as the Ambassador of Finland to Mexico, as well as being the concurrent Ambassador of Finland to Central America. Ambassador Eriksson started his career in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland in 1990. He has served in different departments of the Ministry, the latest being the Department for Americas and Asia, where he worked as the Director for Latin America and the Caribbean. Further to Mexico, he has served in Turkey, Germany and the Finnish Permanent Mission to the European Union in Brussels. This is the second time he represents his country in Canada.
  • Mr. Jacques Frémont, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Ottawa 
    Jacques Frémont was appointed President and ViceChancellor of the University of Ottawa in 2016 and his mandate was renewed in 2021. Prior to this, he was chair of Quebec’s Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission, and director of the International Higher Education Support Program at Open Society Foundations. He also served at the University of Montreal in various roles including provost and vicerector (academic affairs), and dean and professor (Faculty of Law). Mr. Frémont has advised international organizations on issues of human rights, good governance and democracy, and directed several important international cooperation projects in the fields of human rights and judicial training.

Our panellists:

  • The Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of International Development, Canada (pre-recorded intervention)
    The Honourable Karina Gould was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Burlington in 2015. A graduate of McGill University and the University of Oxford, Minister Gould is passionate about public service and international development. Before her election as the Member of Parliament for Burlington, she worked as a trade and investment specialist for the Mexican Trade Commission in Toronto, a consultant for the Migration and Development Program at the Organization of American States in Washington, D.C., and spent a year volunteering at an orphanage in Mexico. 
  • His Excellency Ville Skinnari, Minister of Development, Cooperation and Foreign Trade, Finland   
    Mr. Ville Skinnari has been a Member of the Finnish Parliament since 2015 and minister of Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade since 2019. He has been a member of the Constitutional Committee, the Finance Committee and the Committee on Transport and Communications. He has also been a member of the Finnish delegation to the Nordic Council. Mr. Skinnari has served as Vice Chairman of the Social Democratic Party since 2017 and a member of the Lahti City Council since 2012. He has studied at the University of Wolverhampton (BA Hons 1999), Holland Business School, Amsterdam (BBA 1999) and Brunel University, London (Master of Laws 2001). 
  • Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director, UN Women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka is United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women. She was sworn into office on 19 August 2013and brings a wealth of experience and expertise to this position, having devoted her career to issues of human rights, equality and social justice. Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka has worked in government and civil society, and with the private sector, and was actively involved in the struggle to end apartheid in her home country of South Africa. 
  • Professor Barbara Orser, Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa 
    Professor Orser is a Full Professor and the Deloitte Professor in the Management of Growth Enterprises at the Telfer School of Management. Her research, teaching and advocacy focus on entrepreneurship and women’s economic empowerment. Advisory and board roles includeWomen20 (W20) Delegation Canada, Women’s Economic Imperative, International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, and Global Women’s Entrepreneurship Policy Research Group. Dr. Barbara Orser conducts research about entrepreneurial feminism, small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) growth, and public policy. She is the co-author of bestseller Feminine Capital:Unlocking the Power of Women Entrepreneurs (Stanford University Press, 2015), and has led numerous large-scale studies about enterprise growth. 
  • Ms. Milja Köpsi, Coordinator, “Women Code” Project 

    Finnish influencer and face of the #mimmitkoodaa program, MiljaKöpsi is a name synonymous with equality for being an active voice for thousands of adult women who have never received support or encouragement for their studies or work in technology. The Mimmitkoodaa or Women Code program has received several accolades including the “EUEquality Prize” and “Diversity Leader of the Year 2020” series in the Nordic Women in Tech competition.  
  • Rachidata Sidibé, Student Representative, University of Ottawa

    Rachidata Sidibé is a uOttawa student in the Master of Communication specialized in Organizational Communication. She’s also the co-founder of the NGO Auzam, based in Ivory Coast whose purpose is to help today's youth and entrepreneurs throughout collaborations and cooperation.
  • Yasmine Oucouc, Student Representative, University of Ottawa

    Yasmine Oucouc is a graduate student doing her Master's in Organizational Communication at the University of Ottawa. She is trilingual and she has occupied positions in digital marketing and communications. She thrives in the digital world and grew a real passion for digital marketing and public relations.
  • Fanta Diaby, Student Representative, University of Ottawa

    Fanta Diaby holds a Master's degree in International and Public Affairs from the University of Ottawa. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in international development and globalization. Her published master’s research focused on public policy and randomized controlled trials. She analyzed the importance of evidence supported by mixed method research regarding access to health insurance for informal workers. Fanta is a member of the Auzam organization.
  • Yasmine Bouzaaboun, Student Representative, University of Ottawa

    Yasmine Bouzaaboun is a graduate student enrolled in the Communication Masters specialized in the theories of media at the University of Ottawa. Having studied Political Science and International Relations in her bachelor’s degree she is interested in many topics and always looking forward to gaining more knowledge. Her interest in communication and media led to a passion for all that is related to digital marketing and public relations.

Closing remarks: His Excellency Roy Eriksson, Ambassador of Finland in Canada 


  • Ms. Martine Lagacé, Associate Vice-President, Research Promotion and Development, University of Ottawa 

    Martine Lagacé was appointed Associate Vice-President, Research Promotion and Development, in August 2018 for a five-year term.  She is a Professor at the Department of Communication and is affiliated with the School of Psychology. Professor Lagacé was Vice-Dean, Governance at the Faculty of Arts from 2014 to 2018, and Director of the Department of Communication from 2011 to 2012. In addition to her administrative experience, she has extensive expertise in journalism, having worked at Radio-Canada for more than 10 years. Professor Lagacé has contributed greatly to the advancement of knowledge on the psychosocial aspects of aging, particularly as they relate to discrimination based on age.

Master of ceremonies: Mr. Adel El Zaïm, Associate Vice-President, International, University of Ottawa

For information, questions or to submit questions prior to the panel, write to us at this address.

This event is hosted by the University of Ottawa, the Embassy of Finland in Canada and Global Affairs Canada 

Back to top