iGIANTS – impact of gender/sex on innovation and novel technologies summit


The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is launching a new program called iGIANTS which stands for the impact of gender/sex on innovation and novel technologies summit. It will be an opportunity to highlight groups which have made progress in the sex/gender space and to inspire them to serve as ambassadors for their respective sectors to foster more interest and innovation. It is an exciting time to move from the research bench to the bedside, to the design of driver’s seats and cockpits to even computer keyboards and sporting equipment. Sex/gender impacts every aspect of our lives.

Thirty years of research reveal that sex and gender bias is socially harmful and expensive. From 1997-2000, 10 drugs were withdrawn from the market in the United States because of life-threatening health effects. Eight out of these 10 drugs posed greater health risks for women than men (GAO, 2001). It costs billions of dollars to bring pharmaceutical agents to market. Additionally, when these drugs fail or have serious side effects, they cause significant suffering and even death. In regard to transportation, “out-of-position” drivers which are often women lead to more injuries in automotive accidents. Understanding how men and women use information technology is also essential to new engineering designs and novel technologies. Sex/gendered innovations stimulate sex/gender-responsible science and technology which enhances the quality of life of men and women globally.


In 2014, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy developed a blueprint for the formation of the iGIANTS to foster innovation and novel technologies through partnerships and outreach with diverse sectors and stakeholders.

Participants: 50-60 representatives from the following sectors will participate in the Summit: transportation, information technology, biotechnology, and retail. Representation from the following stakeholders will be invited: agencies, academia, industry, advocacy, and the White House.

Format: Brief presentations (10 minutes each) from the sectors represented that have achieved significant accomplishments focused on sex/gender. This didactic session will be followed by break-out sessions in which representatives from different sectors will discuss approaches to incorporate sex/gender into their activities. In a closing session with all participants, groups will share outcomes from their respective break-out sessions and stakeholders will present statements of commitment to promote sex/gender-based initiatives.

Co-Hosts: OSTP, the White House Council on Women and Girls, DHHS Office on Women’s Health

Location: White House South Conference Center

Time: Summer 2015


 1) Short Term: Raise awareness of the impact of sex and gender in health care and other sectors. An overview of the challenges and barriers as well as the advantages and solutions to accomplish this will be defined. (Pre-summit)

2) Immediate: Statements of commitment for sex/gender-based initiatives to improve the lives of both men and women will be delivered at the the conclusion of the Summit. Representatives will commit to serve as ambassadors for their respective sectors to encourage further collaboration and participation by their peers to promote the impact of sex/gender as a means to advance innovation and novel technologies. (During Summit)

3) Long Term: Demonstration of progress to incorporate sex and gender into innovation and technology to foster improved efficiency in the work place, daily lives, health care and other sectors. For example, new policies, curricula, partnerships, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and devices will be developed. (There will be a summit one year post initial event to showcase accomplishments.)

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