DLI Awards Top European Girls and Women in Tech

LUXEMBOURG – 14 December 2015 – Today in Luxembourg, Europe celebrated top girls and women in technology as part of the Luxembourg presidency of the Council of the European Union. The 2015 European Ada Awards, an initiative of the Brussels-based Digital Leadership Institute (DLI), were presented in the categories of Digital Woman, Digital Impact Organisation, and Digital Girl of the Year.  Two teens from Ireland and the UK were recognised in the category of Digital Girl of the Year.

imageEurope’s Best Young Coders

“I’m really excited,” beamed Niamh Scanlon, thirteen-year-old Digital Girl Award-winner from Ireland who has been coding since she was nine. According to Scanlon, after-school classes at CoderDojo were critical for her to hone and share her award-winning app-building skills. “Classes especially for girls are really important to get them coding,” Scanlon adds. In a field susceptible to discouraging stereotypes, “girls shouldn’t feel like coding is just for boys,” she says.

“I go to an all-girl school and still uptake in computing wasn’t as high as other subjects,” says Yasmin Bey, fourteen-year-old Digital Girl Award-winner from the UK who knows five coding languages and professes a love for tiny Raspberry Pi computers. “I started coding clubs to inspire girls and show them how awesome programming is,” she says. Bey now teaches classes with hundreds of students and is keen to share her knowledge. “Everyone should learn to code,” she says.

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Needed: More Female Tech Role Models

Janneke Niessen, COO and Cofounder of Improve Digital, received the 2015 European Digital Woman of the Year Award and acknowledges that being one of a small group of woman tech founders in Europe “has its own challenges.” Since as few as three percent of European founders in digital fields are women, more action to increase their visibility is needed, according to Niessen. Niessen herself has launched two initiatives: InspiringFifty, promoting women tech role models, and a book for young girls called Project Prep. “Girls don’t know what they’re missing when they say ‘no’ to a career in technology,” Niessen says, “so it’s important for us to show them.”

Longterm Vision and Commitment

Cocky Booij, Director of VHTO in the Netherlands, accepted the 2015 European Digital Impact Organisation Award for her organisation’s pioneering work to increase participation of girls in digital sectors. “Given the dominance of digital technology in our lives and the chronic underrepresentation of girls as digital makers,” Booij says, “VHTO promotes an integrated approach with a longterm vision to engage girls and keep them in these fields.”

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Driving Step-Change

“The goal of the Ada Awards is to drive a step-change in attitudes about girls and women as digital leaders,” says Cheryl Miller, DLI founder, who admits frustration about the pace of change. Unfilled tech jobs in Europe will reach one million by 2020, so skilling girls and women now to take up these jobs is a ‘no-brainer,’ she says. “Targeted action to engage girls and women in digital leadership is not a luxury,” Miller continues, “but an economic necessity demanding urgent action by Europe’s leaders.”

Transition to the Digital Future

Support for the Ada Awards is led by top digital skills organisations in Europe, including CEPIS, DIGITALEUROPE, the European Schoolnet and ECWT, and technology companies like Amazon Web Services who are driving the transition to a digital future.

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1. Digital Girls of the Year:

  • Niamh Scanlon, 13-years old from Ireland
  • Yasmin Bey, 14-years-old from the United Kingdom

2. Digital Woman of the Year: Janneke Niessen, COO & Cofounder Improve Digital

3. Digital Impact Organisation of the Year: VHTO, the Netherlands

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©2013-2015 Digital Leadership Institute, asbl/vzw
Place Van Meyelplein 24
1040 Brussels, Belgium

Amazon Web Services Sponsors Adas

In celebration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Lady Ada Lovelace – namesake of the Ada Awards and credited with being the world’s first computer-programmer – on 1 July in Brussels, the Digital Leadership Institute carried out its third best practices roundtable of 2015 on getting more girls and women into digital studies and careers.  At this first-ever transatlantic “Ada 200” meeting, attended by Brussels decision-makers in technology and policy fields, Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI founder, and Ms. Teresa Carlson, Vice President Worldwide Public Sector at Amazon Web Services, facilitated a discussion that emphasised a need for the following:

  • sharing of best-practices between U.S. and European ICT organizations to increase global tech leadership by women;
  • driving girl- and women-focused digital skills and entrepreneurship initiatives; and
  • promoting “disruptive recruitment practices” that break industry stereotypes and “business-as-usual” hiring practices by ICT organizations.

AWS

Following the roundtable, Ms. Carlson spoke of her experience as a woman leader in technology in an inspiring talk to young participants of a g-Hive “3D Jewelry Design & Printing” workshop sponsored by AWS.  “You are leaders,” Ms. Carlson told the teenage girls assembled.  “The skills you’re learning will help you get into good schools, and if you keep at it,” she promised, “I will come back here to recruit you.”

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Ms. Carlson underscored the commitment of Amazon Web Services to getting more women into digital studies and careers worldwide, and engaged her organization to support the work of the Digital Leadership Institute.  As a start, AWS pledged sponsorship to the 2015 Ada Awards, a DLI initiative that recognizes outstanding girls and women in technology and the organizations that support them around the world.

Photos from the event may be found on the DLI Facebook page here (Album: Atlantic Ada 2015).

Ms. Teresa Carlson is vice president of worldwide public sector at Amazon Web Services where she is responsible for operations, strategy, sales and business development. She was previously vice president of federal government business at Microsoft, among several other positions, and worldwide vice president of marketing and business development for Lexign Incorporated. Before moving into IT, Carlson spent nearly 15 years in healthcare. Among her many honors is the March of Dimes Heroines in Technology Lifetime Achievement Award.  She is also one of the Washingtonian’s 100 Most Powerful Women.

 

 

 

Congratulations 2014 European Ada Award-winners!

Yesterday in RomeDLI announced winners of the 2014 European Ada Awards!  Join us here in congratulating the winners, and read here the  Press Release  from our partners and sponsors about this great event!

***Congratulations to the 2014 European Digital Girls of the Year™!***

Ten and Under:

9-year-old Lauren developed a site that was coded by a kid for kids.  She mentors at Coderdojo in Ireland teaching kids Scratch, HTML, CSS, etc., and is also part of a group called Code for Ireland who meet and develop apps for community challenges and problems to assist government.

Eleven and Over:

Manon is eleven years old and started coding with Scratch at a young age.  She now actively coaches kids and especially girls to learn to code and be interested in technology by using Arduino. For two years, she has been promoting Coderdojo Belgium to reach more kids (and girls) to become interested in technology and STEM education. Her dream is to get more girls interested in technology and that more technology be taught at primary and secondary school.

***Congratulations to the 2014 European Digital Woman of the Year™!***

esther  Esther Roure Vila, Cisco, from Spain

A lack of female role models is what drives Esther today to be a role model herself. It also drove her to petition the entertainment industry for better female role models in STEM.  Among many achievements, Esther has launched “WISE EMEA” – ‘Women in Science and Engineering’ a Cisco employee recourse group which includes 200 members across all countries in EMEA; and WIN, ‘Women in Networking,’ – a group of female technical support engineers that aims to attract, build and retain strong female technical support engineers, which includes more than 100 female engineers.

***Congratulations to the 2014 European Digital Impact Organisation of the Year™!***

The Stemettes aim to inspire the next generation of females into Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) fields by showing them the amazing women already in STEM via a series of panel events, hackathons, exhibitions, and mentoring schemes.

Congratulations again to these very deserving winners and thank you to  our amazing partners and sponsors for making the 2014 European Ada Awards possible!

©2013-2014 Digital Leadership Institute, asbl/vzw
Place Van Meyelplein 24
1040 Brussels, Belgium