Europe Recognises Top Girls and Women in Digital Fields

“We are girls! We are women! We are strong!” – European Commissioner Gabriel to winners of the 2019 European Ada Awards recognising top female digital talent in Europe

“Take all challenges as opportunities,” advised Ms. Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, to a group of wide-eyed finalists at the sixth European Ada Awards ceremony organised on 16 October 2019 in Brussels as part of European Code Week and the WomenInTech.Brussels Women Code Festival. The Ada Awards, founded in 2012 by Brussels-based Digital Leadership Institute, promote top girls and women in digital fields in Europe in an effort to increase their numbers, a long-term priority for Commissioner Gabriel that she will carry into her new mission as European Commissioner for Youth and Innovation starting next month.

Commissioner Gabriel officially opened this year’s celebration of the Ada Awards, affectionately named for Countess Ada Lovelace, the world’s first-ever computer programmer, with a message that technology is “a strategic tool for the empowerment of citizens—of women and of men—that we must continue to use to advance ourselves,” she said. The Commissioner counseled those present to spend less time on embellishments and to focus on taking action when a door is opened, saying she would both hold them to task, and committed to supporting them along the way. The Commissioner closed her message praising the hard work and talent demonstrated by the Ada Award finalists and winners, underscoring: “We are girls! We are women! We are strong!”

Following her remarks, Commissioner Gabriel and Ada Award partners from civil society and private sector recognised the 2019 European Ada Award-winners.

2019 European Digital Woman of the Year Award

The 2019 European Ada Award for Digital Woman of the Year was presented by Ms. Kelly Dorekens, CRM Director at Deloitte Belgium, who shared that “diversity in a group matters as much as ability and brainpower,” adding that Deloitte “actively encourages women to embrace science, technology, engineering and math through selected partnerships and events, like the Ada Awards.”

Ms. Dee Saigal, United Kingdom – 2019 European Digital Woman of the Year
Ms. Dee Saigal is Founder, CEO and Creative Director of Erase All Kittens, an adventure game designed to give girls the confidence to code, whilst teaching digital and 21st century skills. Dee’s goal is for EAK is to transform the way children perceive coding and engineering, and empower millions of girls worldwide with transferable, digital skills. Dee shared that her biggest challenge so far, aside from being a woman in tech, has been fundraising for research and development. Her message to other women and girls is to not think tech is for boys or that it is “geeky.” “There are so many amazing careers in tech that are both interesting and challenging,” says Saigal. Now that Erase All Kittens has 150,000 players, her next step is to raise investment in order to be able to build more educational and gamified version to launch globally. Her team is raising £500,000, and are already at twenty percent of that goal.

2019 European Digital Girl of the Year Award

“10 Years and Under” Category:
The 2019 European Ada Award for Digital Girl of the Year in the “10 Years and Under” category was presented by Ms. Afke Schaart, VP and Head of Europe, GSMA. Winner in this category was Tayra, from Bulgaria.

Tayra, from Bulgaria – 2019 European Digital Girl of the Year “10 Years and Under”
Tayra is ten years old and was born in Sofia. She loves coding, and most recently won a special prize at Softunjada Kids with her Scratch project “three bears fairytale,” using sign language for kids. Tayra says the projects she is most proud of are her webpage and her robots. In ten years, she hopes to be a programmer. Her message to other girls who are interested in tech is: “I believe that girls have a power, and the power of technology can change the world for the better, no matter who we are. It is never too late or too early to get involved in tech,” Tayra says.

“11-14 Years Old” Category:

The 2019 European Ada Award for Digital Girl of the Year in the “11-14 Years Old” category was presented by Ms. Christine Marlet, Board Member, Global Wo.Man Hub. Marlet expressed her awe of the candidates saying “the Ada Awards grant the participants the perfect opportunity to enhance their digital dreams. It encourages them to take risks along the way in order to achieve their digital goals because they believe that their objectives are attainable.” She added: “Belief in yourself stems from belief in your role models.” Winner in this category was Selin, from Turkey.

Selin, from Turkey – 2019 European Digital Girl of the Year “11-14 Years Old”
Selin is thirteen years old and loves building robots, coding, animals and travelling. She wants to study robotics and eventually build a humanoid. Selin shared that she was inspired to build her robot dog when her childhood dog passed away. She said “I knew that blind people especially have a strong connection with their dogs. I wanted to help them out, and felt like this was a great way of doing that.” She spends her free time on the weekends working on and improving her robotic guide dog. Looking forward, Selin says “I am currently developing the second version of my dog, and this one will be able to sit, lay down, bark, and it will even do ‘heart eyes’ towards my mom. Currently it’s only programmed to understand English, but I’m hoping for it to learn Chinese soon!”

“15-17 Years Old” Category:
The 2019 European Ada Award for Digital Girl of the Year in the “15-17 Years Old” category was presented by Ms. Viola Pinzi from European Schoolnet. There were two winner in this category: Anne, from Belgium, and Alai-Miranda, from Spain.

Anne, from Belgium – 2019 European Digital Girl of the Year “15-17 Years Old”
Anne is a fifteen-year-old girl who created Clinicoders, an initiative to bring technology and programming to children in hospitals. One of the goals of this project is to encourage children to create solutions for permanently disabled children. Anne said her next steps for Clinicoders are to bring it to a hospital in Antwerp, as it is only currently in Ghent, Belgium. “My dad wants to help bring it to other countries as well. So we’ll see where it goes,” she said. Over time, Clinicoders has developed from an application for children into something for adults too. “We shared this application called ‘Mindstorms’ to adult hospital animators, and it has been a real success.” In terms of her own future, Anne plans on studying law, but definitely wants to continue engaging hospital patients with Clinicoders.

Alai-Miranda from Spain – 2019 European Digital Girl of the Year “15-17 Years Old”
Alai-Miranda’s passion for STEM began when she was seven years old, and it has yet to fade. Most recently, she was invited to speak at the Amazon Web Services Summit in Madrid to discuss her experience as a girl in technology. Alai-Miranda shared about a new project she has begun to work on called “EsVuela.” A combination of the Spanish words “escuela” (school) and “volar” (to fly), the project will educate children on how to fly and program drones. As far as where Alai-Mirand sees herself in ten years, she says: “Hopefully I will have graduated from MIT and will be working in technology at a company, or maybe I will have even started my own company at that point. I hope to be either in the U.S., or maybe in Europe, maybe even still in Spain – somewhere!” As for her experience at the Ada Awards, she said that she feels “inspired to continue talking about and learning technology.”

 

“Gender-Equality and Europe: Fit for the Digital Era?” Panel

The 2019 European Ada Awards ceremony was preceded by a high-level panel on “Gender Equality and Europe: Fit for the Digital Era,” moderated by Cheryl Miller Van Dÿck, DLI Founding Director, and including panelists Miss Manon Van Hoorebeke, 2014-2015 Ada Award-winner for European Digital Girl of the Year, Mr. Christian Veske, Stakeholder Relations Coordinator at the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), Ms. Annick Breton Elias, Partner of Deloitte Luxembourg, and Ms. Afke Schaart, Vice President and Head of Europe at GSMA, a global trade association for the mobile industry.

Christian Veske kicked off the panel with a discussion of EIGE’s 2019 Gender Equality Index released this week, the factors contributing to Europe’s score of 67 out of 100, and the increasing importance of promoting gender balance in digital fields. “Women won’t achieve equality until there is digital equality,” agreed Schaart from the GSMA. “Right now, women hold less than twenty percent of jobs in the tech industry, which is why GSMA expanded our Tech4Girls program this year.”

 

At sixteen, Manon Van Hoorebeke shared that winning the Digital Girl of the Year award at eleven years old has played a significant role in guiding her life choices since then, and that she is now studying Physics at university. Van Hoorebeke also admitted that a lack of confidence with technology is a barrier to getting more young women into the field, and even despite her accomplishements, that she sometimes faces self-doubt. Elias concurred that this patter appears in professional contexts as well for which reason, she said, Deloitte works to identfy high-potential women in digital fields and starts conversations with them on leadership. “Because it is often unlikely that women will initiate these discussions themselves,” she said.

 

Formal welcome for the 2019 European Ada Awards Ceremony was provided by Ms. Loubna Azhgoud, COO of Women in Business and WomenInTech.Brussels @1819 Hub, and by Ms. Audrey Scozzaro Ferrazzi, Senior European Policy Manager at Google. Azhgoud congratulated Ada Award finalists and highlighted the event in the context of the third-annual Women Code Festival organised by the Brussels Region, which succeeded this year in reaching 2300 participants, eighty percent female, to encourage them into digital fields. Scozzaro Ferrazzi also welcomed guests with a rousing speech expressing her awe and admiration for gathered laurates who, like her, are pursuing digital fields.

Following the ceremony, WomenInTech.Brussels provided a lovely reception for the finalists and winners of the 2019 European Ada Awards and all their friends, families and supporters.

Congratulations to the 2019 European Ada Award winners, finalists and nominees for their amazing leadership in digital fields across Europe!

Thank you to our Ada Awards sponsors and supporters!

You can find more pictures from the 2019 European Ada Awards ceremony here.

DLI Update – Summer 2019

The Digital Leadership Institute Board and Executive Team are actively involved in outreach activities with partners and stakeholders around the world that promote ESTEAM* leadership by girls and women.  Find out more about our outreach activities of Summer 2019 below, and please visit our calendar for events organised by DLI.

*STEM powered by Entrepreneurship and Arts


5 July 2019 – G7 & UNESCO International Conference (Paris): On 5 July in Paris, in the attendance of Ms. Malala Yousufzai and French President Emanuel Macron, Ms. Che Miller Van Dÿck, DLI Founding Director, and Ms. Loredana Bucseneanu, DLI Development Director,  joined a G7 and UNESCO international conference on the topic of “Innovating for Girls’ and Women’s Education.”


10-11 July 2019 – IMAGINE: A Better World, a Global Education Conference (Seattle): On 10-11 July in Seattle, Washington, Ms. Che Miller Van Dÿck, DLI Founding Director,  joined IMAGINE: A Better World, a global education conference hosted by Amazon Web Services, long-time supporters of the DLI mission promoting inclusive digital transformation.


24 July 2019 – Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Ambassadors Meeting (Global): On 24 July, Ms. Che Miller Van Dÿck, DLI Founding Director,  joined a meeting of the Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Global Ambassadors in preparation for the 2019 Women’s Entrepreneurship Day celebrations taking place on 15-16 November.


12-13 August 2019 – IMAGINE: A Better World, a Non Profit Conference (Seattle): On 13-14 August in Seattle, Washington, Ms. Che Miller Van Dÿck, DLI Founding Director,  joined IMAGINE: A Better World, a global nonprofit conference hosted by Amazon Web Services, long-time supporters of the DLI mission promoting inclusive digital transformation.


29-31 August 2019 – World AI Conference (Shanghai): In Shanghai, China on 31 August, Ms. Che Miller Van Dÿck, DLI Founding Director, gave a talk on “Challenges Facing the Future of AI,” at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference.


Be sure to visit our Calendar and Outreach Activities page, and sign up for the DLI Newsletter in order to keep up with DLI events and activities!

DLI.jpg

2019 European Ada Awards Open

EU Ada Awards Patron, Ms. Mariya Gabriel, EU Commissioner for the Digital Economy & Society

Under the esteemed patronage of Ms. Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, the Digital Leadership Institute and its partners are honoured to announce the opening of nominations for the 2019-2020 European Ada Awards recognising top girls and women* in digital fields from across Europe.


Online nominations for outstanding girls and women in digital sectors will be open until 20 September 2019, and winners will be celebrated at the sixth annual European Ada Awards ceremony, taking place on 16 October in Brussels as part of European Code Week and the WomenInTech.Brussels Women Code Festival. The event is open to members of the public who register, on a first-come-first-served basis. Official 2019 European Ada Awards timings may be found on the Awards calendar.

Nomination Details

Submission details and nomination forms for the 2019 European Ada Awards may be found at the links below:

Official 2019 European Ada Awards timings may be found on the 2019 European Ada Awards calendar.

Important Dates – 2019 European Ada Awards

19 June – 2019-20 European Ada Awards Online Nominations Open
27 September
– 2019-20 Ada Awards Online Nominations Close at midnight
4 October – 18:00 CET Online Announcement of 2019-20 European Ada Award Finalists
16 October
– 2019-20 European Ada Awards Ceremony at Google Atelier in Brussels

For more information about the 2019 European Ada Awards, including sponsorship opportunities, please contact us!

Thank you to the European Ada Awards 2019-20 partners and sponsors!

*Anyone who identifies as a girl or woman

DLI Update – May-June 2019

The Digital Leadership Institute Board and Executive Team are actively involved in outreach activities with partners and stakeholders around the world that promote ESTEAM* leadership by girls and women.  Find out more about our outreach activities of May and June 2019 below, and please visit our calendar for events organised by DLI.

*STEM powered by Entrepreneurship and Arts


10 May 2019 – Women in ICT Sharing Experiences (Brussels) : On 10 May, Ms. Katja Legisa, DLI inQube Director,  joined the eighth edition of the Women in ICT Sharing Experiences Annual Networking event organised by the Centre for Balanced Leadership in Brussels.


15 May 2019 – EC Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition Governing Board Meeting (Brussels) : Ms. Che Van Dyck, DLI Founding Director,  joined the seventh meeting of the Governing Board for the European Commission’s Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition, taking place in Brussels on 15 May.


21 May 2019 – STEM Fair (Los Angeles): On 21 May, Ms. Che Van Dyck, DLI Founding Director, contributed to organising a STEM Fair in Los Angeles County, in order to encourage young people, especially girls, to pursue studies and careers in these areas.


28 May 2019 – Computer Science Panel (Los Angeles) : Ms. Che Van Dyck, DLI Founding Director, joined a panel promoting Computer Science studies and careers for Los Angeles County high school students, especially young women, taking place on 28 May in Redondo Beach.


13 June 2019 – Digital Skills and Jobs Governing Board Meeting (Bucharest): On 13 June, Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founder,  joined the eighth meeting of the Governing Board of the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition of Europe. The meeting took place in Bucharest as part of Digital Assembly 2019, hosted by the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Ms. Loredana Bucseneanu, DLI Director of Development, also joined the event as representative of Belgium to the joint meeting of the National Coalitions for Digital Skills and Jobs.


13 June 2019 – WEgate Stakeholder Meeting (Brussels): On 13 June July in Brussels, Ms. Katja Legisa, DLI Entrepreneurship Director,  joined a stakeholder meeting for the WEgate platform, an initiative of the European Commission aimed at stimulating and supporting women-led entrepreneurship in Europe.


26-28 June 2019 – Mobile World Congress (Shanghai): Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founder,  joined the Mobile World Congress on 26-28 June in Shanghai as a guest of hosts GSMA, and participated in the Women4Tech Summit that took place on 27 June.


Be sure to visit our Calendar and Outreach Activities page, and sign up for the DLI Newsletter in order to keep up with DLI events and activities!

DLI.jpg

DLI Update – January-February 2019

Happy 2019 from DLI!

The Digital Leadership Institute Board and Executive Team are actively involved in outreach activities with partners and stakeholders around the world that promote ESTEAM* leadership by girls and women.  Find out about our outreach activities of January and February 2019 below, and please visit our calendar for events organised by DLI.

*STEM powered by Entrepreneurship and Arts

21 January 2019 – “Europe for Her” Conference with European Committee of the Regions (Brussels) : On 21 January in Brussels, Ms. Katja Legisa, DLI/Digital Brusselles Director, joined a panel on “Education and Careers,” as part of an event promoting a larger role for girls and women in Europe’s cities and regions, hosted by the European Committee of the Regions (CoR).


24 January 2019 – #SheDIDIT Learning Library: “Experts Speaking Out”  (Brussels) : On 24 January at Start IT Brussels, Ms. Che Van Dyck, DLI Founding Director,  joined a Learning Library mentorship gathering as one of seven women role models being showcased by the #SheDIDIT campaign, promoting entrepreneurship by women of diverse backgrounds in Belgium.


29 January 2019 –  GSMA Winter Celebration (Brussels) :  On 29 January in Brussels, Ms. Che Van Dyck, DLI Founding Director, joined a celebration of leadership by women in digital sectors hosted at GMSA in Brussels.  Ms. Van Dyck was part of a high-level panel for which the opening keynote was provided by Ms. Mariya Gabriel, EU Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society.


3-5 February 2019 – W20 Japan  Preparation Meetings at OECD (Paris) : 3-5 February at the OECD in Paris, members of the DLI Executive Team contributed to preparation activities ahead of the W20 Japan 2019 meetings taking place in Tokyo 23-24 March 2019.


25-28 February 2019 – Mobile World Congress & Women4Tech Summit (Barcelona) : Ms. Che Van Dyck, DLI Founding Director,  joined the Ministerial Programme and Women4Tech Summit that took place 25-28 February in Barcelona as part of Mobile World Congress 2019


Be sure to visit our Calendar and Outreach Activities page, and sign up for the DLI Newsletter in order to keep up with DLI events and activities!

DLI.jpg

DLI Update – May 2018

The DLI Board and Executive Team are actively involved in outreach activities with partners and stakeholders around the world that promote ESTEAM* leadership by girls and women. Find out below about our work in May 2018, learn here about future outreach activities in which we are involved, and visit our calendar for upcoming events organised by DLI.

*Entrepreneurship & Arts powered by Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics


9-11 May – AWS Summit & AWS Public Sector Summit (London): May 9-11, Ms. Mai Ensmann and Ms. Katja Legisa, DLI executive team members, joined three days of public sector, startup and cloud activities as part of the AWS Summit and AWS Public Sector Summit taking place in London.


15-17 May – Navigate (Austin, TX): DLI Founding Director, Ms. Cheryl Miller,  joined the 2018 Navigate Identity Governance Conference in Austin, Texas.


21-25 May – Brussels Days (Washington, DC & New York City): 21-25 May, Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founding Director, joined a Brussels Capital Region mission to Washington DC and New York City, including a Fin&Tonic event with B-Hive on “Algorithms for a Sustainable Future,” to celebrate Brussels Days.


28 & 30 May – W20 “Digital Inclusion” Meetings (Paris): In Paris on 28 and 30 May, Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founding Director,  joined the “Digital Inclusion” working group meetings as a Delegate for W20 Argentina 2018.


29-30 May – OECD Forum (Paris): 29-30 May, Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founding Director,  joined the OECD Forum in Paris whose subject this year is “what brings us together,” with a focus on Inclusion, Digitalisation and International Cooperation.


Be sure to visit our Calendar and Outreach Activities page, and sign up for the DLI Newsletter in order to keep up with DLI events and activities!

DLI.jpg

DLI Update – April 2018

The DLI Board and Executive Team are actively involved in outreach activities with partners and stakeholders around the world that promote ESTEAM* leadership by girls and women. Find out below about our work in April 2018, learn here about future outreach activities in which we are involved, and visit our calendar for upcoming events organised by DLI.

*Entrepreneurship & Arts powered by Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics


5 April – BSIS International Conference (Brussels): As part of the University of Kent’s Brussels School for International Studies 2018 International Conference on 5 April, Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founding Director,  joined a fireside chat with Ms. Sarah Wagner, Digital Trade Manager at DIGITALEUROPE, on the subject of “Digital Disruptions: How Technology Changes Our Reality.


11 April – All On Board – Closing the Digital Gap for Girls & Women in the Developing World (Brussels): On 11 April, Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founding Director,  contributed to panel on “private sector initiatives for accelerating gender equality,” as part of a UN Women, European Commission and European Parliament event entitled “All On Board – Closing the Digital Gap for Girls & Women in the Developing World,” that took place at the Berlaymont in Brussels.


19 April – AWS Public Sector Summit Brussels 2018 (Brussels): Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founding Director,  joined a high-level panel on the subject of “[We] Power Tech: Engaging and Retaining Technology Talent” at the 2018 AWS Public Sector Summit on 19 April in Brussels.


20 April – Student Forum (Brussels): In Brussels on 20 April, Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founding Director,  joined the Student Forum Maastricht to provide expert input on the topic “Boosting Digital Skills in the EU – Training the Workforce of the Future” to the hundreds of European university students who took part in the forum.


27 April – World IP Day at US Mission to the EU (Brussels): On 27 April, Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founding Director, joined an event at the EU Mission to the EU in Brussels, to promote the “brilliance, ingenuity, curiosity and courage of the women who are driving change in our world and shaping our common future,” in celebration of World Intellectual Property Day.


Be sure to visit our Calendar and Outreach Activities page, and sign up for the DLI Newsletter in order to keep up with DLI events and activities!

DLI.jpg

Women Power Code Project Launches

Studies on women active in Information Technology  unveil that a greater presence of women in the area would benefit the industry, women themselves and Europe’s economy. A change in policy is needed, particularly due to an alarming drop in female ICT graduates and the limited presence of women in the STEM area (science, technology, engineering and math) reflecting thus the gender gap acknowledged in the ICT sector.

The Women Power Code project aims to educate adult women over forty years of age to understand and learn coding in order to improve their everyday life through the use of the Internet of Things. It is never too late to acquire knowledge, skills and competences in any branch of education.

Women Power Code is a three year project targeting adult women who want new challenges and seek to acquire digital skills, literacy and numeracy. The project partners are:

  • CIVIC – UK, project leader;
  • EUROCREA MERCHANT – Italy;
  • BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT FRIESLAND – Netherlands;
  • DIGITAL LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE – Belgium;
  • DANIEL SG LTD – Bulgaria;
  • BIOANIM – Slovenia;
  • North-East ADR (via Regional Center for North-East Studies).

The project will equip beneficiaries with new digital competences and will pave the way for a smooth start in understanding how to improve their everyday life by incorporating these skills. In this way, the project aims to allow women with low digital literacy to adapt and better meet the challenges posed by the use of new technologies at work, and to also help balance gender inequality in this area.

For more information and updates please visit the project website.

DLI Partners with EY for Global Girl Tech Fest

In celebration of International Girls in ICT Day 2018 on 26 April, the Digital Leadership Institute is proud to collaborate with EY to organise a Girl Tech Fest, across twenty-three locations in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, that will reach over 500 girls with hands-on digital skills workshops.

Girl Tech Fest (“GTF”) is the flagship event of DLI’s Digital Muse initiative, a global platform promoting ESTEAM* skills to girls.  For its 2018 “global” edition, DLI has trained dozens of EY volunteers to deliver smartphone app-coding classes to girls aged 11-15, using the MIT App Inventor for Android platform.   *Entrepreneurship & Arts powered by STEM

Draft Workshop Agenda

  • 08:00-08:10 – Welcome & Introductions
  • 08:10-08:20 – Why we need more Girls in ICT
  • 08:20-09:50 – Hands-on “Talk2Me” Android app Training for Girls
  • 09:50-10:00 – Wrapup & Thank-yous

If you would like more details about this event, about International Girls in ICT Day 2018, or about organising your own GTF or other activity to increase participation of girls and women in tech studies and careers, please contact us!