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

2015 European Ada Award-winners

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 SchoolNetannounced 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:

NiamhScanlonWinner – 13 years old:  Niamh from Ireland

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.

YasminWinner – 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.

Winner:  Janneke Niessen, Improve Digital, from the NetherlandsFoto janneke niessen

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 SwitzerlandMonique Morrow

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 NetherlandsNWajer

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.

vhtograbWinner:  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.

TravisFoundation-1 Runner-Up:  Travis FoundationRailsgirls Summer of Code, Germany: 

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 AwardsAmazon 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.

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

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