The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in London, United Kingdom

#Design4Change, Design For Women’s Rights

#Design4Change. That was the headline of an event held at the Dutch Ambassador’s Residence in London on 12 December. Over 2,000 people around the world watched via Facebook Live how a room full of members of the British creative community, including students from the London School of Fashion and tech innovators, were inspired by the moving stories of six female speakers:

AFSA AKBAR, Chayn & Snook & SAFELIVES on new ground-breaking research on how women experiencing abuse in the UK are using technology.

BONNIE CHUI of Lensational on using photography to empower women in bonded labour

HASEENA LATHEEF, Co-Founder of Dfynorm on ethical fashion, a movement, a revolution.

MARYAM MOHSIN of GirlsNotBrides on ending the harmful practice of child marriage.

MILENA MARIN of Amnesty International on using cutting edge data science to engage people around the world in human rights research.

LAUREN TAPP of the Sex Workers Open University / Sex Workers Union on the changing landscape of sex work in the Internet age.

Each speaker had just five minutes to share her experience and expertise of a women’s rights issue with the audience, which ranged from child marriage, human trafficking and the sex industry to the use of innovative tech to track and record human rights abuses or as a tool in the fight against domestic violence.

Building bridges

It was an evening of hope, inspiration and innovative thinking where bridges were built between individuals but also across sectors and organisations. The Dutch Embassy was proud to offer a platform for the sharing of innovative ideas and technologies that can help women and girls around the world to achieve their dreams.

Over to the designers

Charlotte Talens, who works on foreign policy in the Embassy’s Political Department, was the inspiration behind the event. She worked closely with Hera Hussain of “feminist changemakers” Chayn to bring the event to fruition. “Design, innovation and human rights seems like a perfect recipe”, said Talens. “And now it’s over to the designers to get creative! As they say in the UK: the proof of the pudding is in the eating!”.

A chance to win an internship at HEMA Netherlands

The designers and students who attended the event have been invited to create a design in response to the stories they heard. These will be displayed at the Dutch Embassy on International Women’s Day in March 2017. A jury, presided over by Dutch top designer Mattijs van Bergen, together with Studio Roosegaarde, Dutch retail chain HEMA and top British tech innovators will choose the best entry. The winner will be offered an internship at the design department of HEMA Netherlands.