Celebrating the European Young Leaders 10th anniversary: Lindsey Nefesh-Clarke

A towering figure in the world of women’s empowerment and information technology, Lindsey Nefesh-Clarke is a British CEO and founder of the Women’s WorldWide Web, an online crowdfunding platform dedicated to protecting girls’ and women’s empowerment in developing and developed countries around the world, promoting human rights and access to technology.

A member of the European Young Leaders (EYL40) network since 2012, she has contributed to many policy discussions in Brussels, and brought women’s technological empowerment to the fore. Led by Friends of Europe, each year the European Young Leaders (EYL40) programme brings together talented, established leaders, aged 40 and under, who have made their mark in a wide range of fields such as politics, science, business, media, NGOs, the arts and civil society. You can find more information about the programme here.

To celebrate this year marking the 10th anniversary of the European Young Leaders programme, Nefesh-Clarke was selected for her inimitable feats in advancing girls’ and women’s rights and empowerment. It all started in Bangladesh, where Nefesh-Clarke decided to embark on an IT entrepreneurial adventure. There, she trained with Grameen Bank, founded by Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, and studied the Grameen microfinance model’s impact on remote Bangladeshi villages. Inspired by Grameen “telephone ladies”’ leading of a wave of telecommunications connectivity via mobile phones purchased through micro-loans, Nefesh-Clarke decided to pursue a similar career in women’s empowerment through IT and further a fight she described as “really connecting Bangladesh to the digital era.”

“By harnessing ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies), we can really catalyse girls’ and womens’ empowerment, and catalyse positive change. ICTs can yield vast benefits for girls and women, in terms of providing them with opportunities and resources. Of course, that requires access to ICTs, that’s on the one hand. And then today in our digital age, we have an unprecedented opportunity to advance girls’ and women’s rights and their empowerment.”

She has previously worked with Human Rights Watch, UNICEF and Enfants d’Asie. She received the International MBA Student of the Year award (from the Association of MBAs and The Independent newspaper) for her Executive MBA at ESCP-Europe. In 2016, Lindsey was selected as a Young Entrepreneur and member of the French delegation to participate in the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Alliance Summit in Beijing. She has also been named Woman in IT Role Model (European Commission), Inspiring Fifty-woman leader in Europe’s technology sector, and is the Simone Award recipient for the year 2020. She is now board member of WEI and advisor of UN Women France.

She occupies the role of senior fellow for Friend of Europe’s Connected Europe programme. Today, she continues her pioneering work to provide girls and women in Kenya and also in rural Maasai land with access to IT skills training. W4.org is currently partnering with EmpServe, a youth-centred organisation, to implement training programmes which encompass basic and advanced IT skills and social entrepreneurship.

To today’s women IT graduates, she is more hopeful than she has ever been. “This was a very challenging period for you, just emerging from a global pandemic, and you persevered, you were dedicated, you were assiduous. And today we were able to celebrate you […] But I hope this is just the beginning of your tech journey actually.”

To find out more about Lindsey Nefesh-Clarke, visit here…

To find out more about Women’s WorldWide Web, visit here…

To find out more about European Young Leaders, visit here…

Written by Theatrefullstop