Read about Lorenza Jachia

Lorenza Jachia
Senior Economist
United Nations Resident Coordinator Office in Serbia


What brought you to a career in technology at the United Nations?

While serving as Head of the UNECE programme on Standardization, I became aware of the key role that technical standards play in every aspect of our everyday life, from the temperature in our homes and offices, to the size of the protective jackets working on a construction site. As I partnered closely with leading international, regional and national standards organizations, I also realized that standards are developed by technical committees where male experts are the majority. At the time, there was a widespread assumption that because standards are technical in nature, they are by default gender neutral. I worked hard to collect evidence of how these norms were, in fact, gender-blind. I then went on to ideate, launch and roll out to over 80 countries, worldwide, the "Gender Responsive Standards Declaration" a ground-breaking initiative that radically changed both standards specification and the standards development process to make them more inclusive and gender aware.


What has been your favorite technology project or initiative at the United Nations and why? What was your contribution?

This was by far my favourite project, and its connection to ICT should be highlighted too. In fact, standards and specifications are as important in the world of tech as they are in our physical reality. To quote just one example, a data visualization journalist at Bloomberg shared at a recent conference that when they asked AI image software to show images of “judges,” only 3% of the pictures it created were of women. This is why I believe that the work of making standards more gender-informed should be extended to ICT and that the UN has an important role to play in this endeavour.


What advice would you give women interested in pursuing a field in technology?

My advice is to be ready for people to say that gender equality is not a priority in the particular field that you are working on, or to adamantly insist that the technology that they are using is gender-neutral. Have your arguments at the ready!