On 14 December in Luxembourg, the Digital Leadership Institute and its partners – the Council for European Professional Informatics Societies, DIGITALEUROPE, the European Centre for Women and Technology, and European SchoolNet – announced winners of the 2015 European Ada Awards, recognising outstanding girls and women in digital studies and careers in Europe, and the organisations who support them. The 2015 Ada Awards ceremony took place at the opening for a high-level eskills and entrepreneurship event as part of the Luxembourg presidency of the Council of the European Union.
2015 European Ada Award winners and finalists were recognised in the following categories:
- Digital Girl of the Year – outstanding young women in digital areas:
Niamh, 13, learned to code at CoderDojo when she was nine and she loves to build websites and apps that help people. When she was 11 she developed an award-winning app to help the drivers of electric cars. For three years Niamh has mentored at CoderDojo in Dublin City University, where she helps other young people – and particularly girls – to learn how to create with technology. She is a member of the Digital Youth Council in Ireland and she would like to see more coding and technology taught in schools.
Winner – 14 years old: Yasmin from England
Yasmin is a fourteen year old who has been programming for six years. She regularly builds projects with the Raspberry Pi computer, and volunteers to run workshops for young people to learn how to code using the Pi. As well as this, she runs a programming club during her school lunch breaks for younger pupils, to hopefully increase the uptake of Computer Science at her school.
- Digital Woman of the Year – outstanding women in digital studies and careers:
Winner: Janneke Niessen, Improve Digital, from the Netherlands
Janneke is a female serial technology entrepreneur who, next to her role of Chief Innovation Officer at Improve Digital, also makes big efforts to help other entrepreneurs and is a strong advocate for women in tech. She is mentor for startups, angel investor and regularly speaks at events to share her experience in building a high-growth international technology company. She is co-initiator of Inspiring Fifty, that makes female role models in technology more visible. She recently published a novel for young girls (10-14) to create a role model for them and show them how great and fun technology is and how many possibilities it offers.
First Runner-Up: Monique Morrow, Cisco, from Switzerland
Monique Morrow is the Chief Technology Officer for New Frontiers at Cisco that uniquely focuses on empowering women through the intersection of research, economics and technology execution. Her current focus is spearheading an Internet of Women movement as an opportunity for women worldwide to collectively shape the future of the Internet powered by a SHE (Supercritical Human Elevated) technology platform.
Second Runner-Up: Nicole Wajer, Cisco, from the Netherlands
In her work, Nicole supports account teams and partners that need her technical expertise. She is passionate about the Internet of Things (IoT), IPv6 and Security, and is currently playing with new technology e.g Sensors in her own home. Nicole is a Champion of Change for her passionate work in the Industrial Automation space, and is a frequent blogger and attendee at the four annual Dutch Hacker Conferences.
- Digital Impact Organisation of the Year – organisations fundamentally impacting the ecosystem to get more girls and women into digital studies and careers:
Winner: VHTO, The Netherlands:
VHTO, the Dutch national expert organisation on girls/women and science/technology, makes an effort in many different ways to increase the involvement of women and girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Every year VHTO organises the Dutch Girlsday together with 300 IT and technical companies. In 2015, 9,525 girls participated! To increase the participation of girls in Computer Science specifically, VHTO created the Digivita program for girls (age 8-18) which took place in in six cities in 2014, and carried out the Digivita Summer Camp in 2015. In 2014 VHTO reached 55,210 Dutch children through projects in primary and secondary education.
Travis Foundation runs Rails Girls Summer of Code for the third year in a row now – providing stipends for women all over the world to work on Open Source projects. The grassroots initiative is a hands-on solution for the problem of women being underrepresented in Open Source and Tech in general. With Rails Girls Summer of Code we are not only changing women’s careers, diversifying Tech Communities and building safer environments for women in Tech – we are also creating the much-needed role models in IT, so that future generations can follow suit.
Congratulations to all the 2015 European Ada Awards nominees, finalists and winners in every category, and thank you to our Award Partners and supporters of the 2015 European Ada Awards: Amazon Web Services, Facebook, Google, HP and SAP! Please contact us with questions or inquiries on how to support the Ada Awards and the larger mission of the Digital Leadership Institute.