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.

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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!

 

Photo credit: Digital Leadership Institute

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

2019 European Ada Awards Finalists Announced

On behalf of the 2019 European Ada Awards jury and under the esteemed patronage of of Ms. Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, the Digital Leadership Institute and its partners are thrilled to announce the finalists of the 2019 European Ada Awards !

2019 European Digital Woman of the Year™ Award Finalists:

Nadia Aimé (Belgium)

Once homeless and a school dropout herself, Nadia’s work focuses on improving the lives of vulnerable groups, through education and creating more interest and enthusiasm surrounding careers within entrepreneurship and the digital sector. Today, she is an avid technologist social/tech entrepreneur, educator, a single mom, and studying cyber-security who seeks to help people evolve in a fast-paced world of technology and business. Nadia’s passion for sharing knowledge and constant learning, most especially improving her tech skills which she hones, birthed She Leads Digital, which is a Brussels based tech organization, aims at providing programs and initiatives that foster enthusiasm and encourage women and youth to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math fields.

Dee Saigal (United Kingdom)

Dee Saigal is the Founder, CEO & Creative Director of Erase All Kittens – an adventure game designed to give girls the confidence to code, whilst teaching digital and 21st Century skills. Like many women, Dee grew up believing that careers in technology were more for boys, which is why it took her years to follow her dream of getting into game design – and why she founded EAK. She and her team spent 12 months interviewing hundreds of students before designing their product, in order to create a coding tool that girls genuinely love. EAK has 150,000 players in over 100 countries, and 95% of girls want to learn more about coding after playing. Dee’s goal is for EAK to transform the way that children perceive coding and engineering, and to empower millions of girls worldwide with transferable, digital skills.

Eva Meyer de Stadelhofen (France)

Eva is the 21 year old founder of GirlCode, an international nonprofit who aims to reduce the gender gap in the STEM industry by offering free coding lessons to girls of age 7 to 17 in their schools. She also created a mentorship program through which GirlCode students can meet entrepreneurs, scientists, and all-around girl bosses in order to help them find their STEM superstar. GirlCode, which started as a small club, has rapidly grown these last two years into a worldwide “sisterhood of nerds”, with 304 clubs in 25 different countries and an estimated impact of 81’345 girls as of September 2019. Thanks to her work with her organisation, Eva has recently been chosen by Global Changemakers and the Thomas Reuters Foundation to attend their summits as one of the best entrepreneurs worldwide.

2019 European Digital Girl of the Year™ Award Finalists:

Tayra from Bulgaria (10 year old and under category)

Tayra is 10 years old and was born and lives in Sofia. Besides the gift of learning foreign languages (at the age of 8 she speaks some German, English, Chinese and Turkish), Tayra has another talent in the field of modern computer technologies. At the age of 8 Tayra participated in the  IT Znayko award contest and won a prize for an original idea and, as a member of the Coder Dojo club, won an award from the Bulgarian version of Coolest Projects Sofia 2017. The great victory comes in Dublin, Ireland, at the international competition Coolest Project 2017 involving more than 1,000 children from 17 countries. She won in the Scratch category at Coolest Projects 2017, when she is only 8 years old with her awesome project ABCD Code, which is a Scratch game developed to help children learn about healthy eating and the benefits of fruit and vegetables with the help of Makey Makey. The Healthy Eating project in English and Bulgarian version also became involved in the kindergarten process. She personally organizes and participates in workshops. At the age of 9, on 25.03.2018 she won a special prize from the Softuniada Kids (organized by Software University in Sofia, Bulgaria) with an amazing project (scratch project- “Three bears farytail”with the sign language videos for deaf kids).

Selin from Turkey (11-14 year old category)

Selin  is 13 years old and loves building robots and coding also loves animals and travelling. She started coding when she was 8 years old. Selin won first prize in the Hardware category at Coderdojo’s Coolest Projects International in 2018 with iC4U, her robot guide dog for the visually impaired. She was also a finalist in the Open Innovation category of the European Youth Awards 2018. In 2019 she received a 100% educational scholarship and attended a Robotic and Engineering summer camp held at Stanford University. She is presently working on the second version of her robot guide dog, the Raspberry Pi version and on a robot that aims to make life easier in schools and hospitals. She is hoping that her robot will help to make children’s stay in hospital a little easier if only to make them smile. She codes in Python language.    She is working on integrating image processing, voice control and artificial intelligence assisted dialogue capabilities in her robot project.  her aim is to study robotics at MIT or Stanford University and to build a humanoid. Selin speaks English, Turkish and French, she is also learning Python, C++ and Java. She facilitates workshops, mentors her peers and gives presentations at technology related events in order to inspire others especially girls.  She lives in Istanbul, Turkey with her mum, dad and dog Bailey.

Anne from Belgium (15-17 year old category)

Anne Maelbrancke, 15 years old, student at the Bernardustechnicum Oudenaarde, Belgium. Anne has been a member of Coderdojo Belgium since 2014. In 2015 she was confronted with a friend who had to stay at the hospital for quite a long time. She proposed to start an initiative called Clinicoders (facebook.com/clinicoders) to bring technology and programming to children in the hospital. Monthly, together with friend, she animates children patients with programming and robots.
Clinicoders also donates resources to hospitals to educate technology and programming in their schools. This year a “Clinimakers” initiative has been started to trigger children to build solutions for disabled children.

Alai from Spain (15-17 year old category)

Alai’s passion for STEM began when she was 7 years old. She has experience coding in multiple code languages, and has attended STEM workshops from textile technology to designing and 3D prototyping. In 2019, she was invited to speak at the Amazon Web Services Summit in Madrid to discuss her experience as a girl in technology. Additionally, this past May she was invited by Google to Women TechMakers Alicante to discuss her experience and future projects.

 

Congratulations to the 2019 Ada Awards finalists and all our nominees for their amazing leadership in digital fields in Europe!

Please join us at the Google Digital Atelier in Brussels on 16 October 2019 for the sixth edition of the European Ada Awards ceremony, where we will announce winners of the 2019 awards, with a special opening address by Commissioner Gabriel and a closing reception. This event is open to the public on a strictly first-come-first-served basis, with pre-registration required.

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 27 September 2019 (extended deadline!), and winners will be celebrated at the sixth annual European Ada Awards ceremony, taking place on 16 October at the Google Atelier 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 AdAwards

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

Top European Women in Tech Recognised

On 30 November 2017 at BeCentral in Brussels, the Digital Leadership Institute and its partners welcomed over two hundred key stakeholders and community members to celebrate the fifth edition of the European Ada Awards and to share the success stories of the 2017 Digital Brusselles project with support from the Digital Belgium Skills Fund. The Ada Awards are a long-standing pledge to the European Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition that recognise top European girls and women in tech and the organisations that support them.

Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founder, opened the evening with a warm thank you to DLI supporters, followed by keynote presentations from Ms. Céline Vanderborght, Brussels Region Smart City Manager and Ms. Andrea Almeida Cordero, Member of Cabinet for Ms. Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for the Digital Single Market. Both speakers committed their support and that of their stakeholders to active engagement of girls and women for fulfilling the vision of an inclusive digital Europe. A subsequent tweet about the event by Commissioner Gabriel was very well received on Twitter.

Opening presentations were succeeded by graduation of over sixty participants from the 2017 Digital Muse After School program with Ms. Valentina Cala DLI Digital Creative Manager, and from the first-ever cohort of the CYPRO “First Steps” program with Ms. Mai Ensmann, DLI CYPRO Coordinator.

Ms. Katja Legisa, Digital Brusselles Director, then recognised 200-plus participants of the 2017 “Female Digital Starters” training program, followed by an inQube / Digital Brusselles project pitching session hosted by Ms. Lama Jaghjougha, a recent Syrian refugee to Belgium and founder of Move Women Refugees Forward. Initiatives presented included those launched in the context of inQube Move It Forward events over the past two years, including:

  • Brussely – a platform by/for/about Brussels Generation Y-ers, presented by Ms. Safia Bihmehdn
  • MESS – a gamified concert-going platform for Brussels citizens, presented by Ms. Alexandra Pykacz & Ms. Edith Euan
  • MIA – a virtual innovation space for Brussels citizens, presented by Ms. Muna Ibrahim
  • African Gist – an African tech internship program, presented by Ms. Cynthia Mukendy
  • Tabadoul – a professional mentorship program for women refugees led by ENoWM and DAW, presented by Ms. Sinem Yilmaz

A particularly moving moment of the evening came about when, as part of her pitch for the Brussely platform, Ms. Safia Bihmehdn read a poem she composed about her participation in the Move It Forward for Women in Media event, which as the poem describes, inspired her toward a whole new direction in digital entrepreneurship and in celebrating the youth and diversity of Brussels.

The final highlight of the evening was the 2017 European Ada Awards, launched with inspiring keynote presentations by Ms. Dinah Barret, Senior Solutions Architect for EMEA at Amazon Web Services, and Ms. Gabriela M. Juric, 2016 European Digital Girl of the Year, and co-hosted by Ms. Miller and Ms. Loredana Bucseneanu, DLI Strategy Officer.

2017 European Ada Award trophies were presented by Ms. Simone Hume of Amazon Web Services in the following categories and announced by noted Ada Award partner representatives:
1. Ms. Pascale Van Damme, Vice President and General Manager at Dell EMC Commercial Belux, is 2017 European Digital Woman of the Year, as announced by Ms. Austeja Trikunaite, Secretary General of CEPIS.

2. 2017 European Digital Girl of the Year honours were awarded in the following age categories:

15-17 Year Old Category, as announced by Ms. Kiki Walravens, GSMA:
Maeve Galvin (Ireland)

11-14 Year Old Category, as announced by Mr. Laurent Roux, Impact Officer at European Institute of Technology:

  • Aoibheann Mangan (Ireland)
  • Charlotte Johnson (United Kingdom)

10 Years and Under Category, as announced by Ms. Tomislava Recheva of European Schoolnet:

  • Helena Staple (United Kingdom)
  • Zara Ilyas (Ireland)
  • Ruby Scott Kenny (Ireland)

3. Teen-Turn of Ireland is 2017 European Digital Impact Organisation of the Year Award, as announced by Ms. Michela Palladino, Director of European Policy at Developers Alliance.

The 2017 European Ada Awards and Digital Brusselles celebration concluded with a reception catered by From Syria With Love, an organisation led by recent Syrian women refugees to Belgium that Digital Brusselles is honoured to support.

The Digital Leadership Institute and Digital Brusselles would like to thank the speakers, judges, partners and sponsors of the 2017 European Ada Awards and Digital Brusselles celebration, including the Digital Belgium Skills Fund, Amazon Web Services, European Institute of Technology, CEPIS, European Schoolnet, Edosoft, GSMA, Developers Alliance and BeCentral.

Congratulations to all the girls and women recognised by this year’s Ada Awards and Digital Brusselles celebration. We are looking forward to welcoming even more of you again next year!

2017-18 European Ada Award Finalists Named

Congratulations to the finalists of the 2017-18 European Ada Awards, an initiative recognizing outstanding girls and women in digital studies and careers across Europe, and the organisations who support them! Join us on 30 November at BeCentral in Brussels for the 2017-18 European  Ada Awards and Digital Brusselles Celebration where winners will be announced!

2017-18 European Digital Women of the Year™ Award Finalists:

Cat Lamin – Consultant at Pi-Top (United Kingdom)

Cat is a Raspberry Pi Certified Educator, an Apple Distinguished Educator and a Google Certified Teacher. She initiated an event called Coding Evening for Teachers in UK that  brings together teachers, coding professionals and tech enthusiasts and allows them to work together to discuss ideas for the classroom. Her independent work has led to her being invited to Brazil to train and speak to a number of Brazilian teachers about the importance of computational thinking and basic computer science skills. She is a role-model for young, female coders and a lot of her outreach work includes working with groups that are actively encouraging girls to get involved with coding, including girls-only CoderDojos in London.

Pascale Van Damme, Vice President and General Manager at Dell EMC Commercial Belux and Head of EMEA Nato & Nato Alliances, President Agoria Digital Industries (Belgium)

When she started at Dell, Pascale was the only woman on the local leadership team. Tackling being female leader challenge in a positive way along with the learning experience is what motivated her to start building alliances to raise awareness around gender equality and bring about change. Pascale has been active for years in mentoring young women, speed-dating with students and coaching female entrepreneurs. She is a role model to women thinking about entering a career in the digital world and to those who have started a career within Dell.  She regularly “talks the talk” and “walks the walk” regarding the skills needed for a career in tech, at high-level events such as the NATO’s annual cyber symposium NIAS where as a speaker she raised awareness around the need for female talent in cybersecurity along with diversity and inclusion in any future-oriented organization.

Egle Ciuoderiene, International Cooperation Advisor at the Baltic Institute of Advanced Technology (Lithuania)

Egle inspires people of all ages to take part in the ICT industry through whatever means, despite any boundaries imposed by the society. She continuously shares her experience in breaking the industry’s boundaries through interviews and personal communication. Egle always emphasises that girls should not be afraid of the digital occupations, as she herself has made a successful transfer from a humanitarian background. Egle shares her experience and motivates women to partake in the fields of Computer Science – she has recently joined the Baltic Institute of Advanced Technology, which aims to create, develop and disseminate scientific knowledge and expertise about in the field of technology and innovation.

2017-18 European Ada Awards and Digital Brusselles Celebration:

2017-18 European Ada Award Winners will be announced at the fifth annual European Ada Awards Ceremony on 30 November 2017 at BeCentral in Brussels, ahead of the celebration of the 202nd anniversary of the birth of Lady Ada Lovelace!  Public attendance is welcome but registration at this link is required!

Belgian Minister De Croo Recognises Top Girls and Women in Tech

On 8 December in Brussels, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo recognised top girls and women in digital fields in Europe and underscored the need for positive role models, coding curriculum and communities of excellence to encourage youth toward digital careers. “Young people need inspiration,” De Croo said in remarks at a ceremony for the 2016 Ada Awards, named for Lady Ada Lovelace the world’s first computer programmer. “That inspiration comes from seeing excellent people at work, like the girls and women recognised by these awards.”

De Croo’s comments came on the heels of news that women make up fewer IT professionals than ever in Europe despite skyrocketing demand for digital expertise. “Over the last ten years, demand for tech specialists in Europe has grown eight times faster than other fields, but women hold just sixteen percent of these jobs,” explained Cheryl Miller, cofounder of Brussels-based Digital Leadership Institute and organisers of the Ada Awards. “By 2020, one million IT jobs will go unfilled because the skills are not available in the marketplace,” Miller continued. “So by engaging women, we can potentially double the number of tech experts in Europe, increasing European competitiveness and making sure girls and women do not get left behind in the digital disruption.”

Nuria Oliver, winner of the 2016 European Digital Woman of the Year Award, noted that digital disruption risks exacerbating the lack of diversity in tech, but also holds promise for positive change. “The percentage of girls and women in technology in most Western countries is simply not acceptable,” Oliver observed. “But in the future, we will only be able to address problems like global warming and the ageing population with the help of technology. So we need all our diverse human capital on board: to optimise innovation potential and to increase our chances of success in these important fields.”

According to Beata Stelmach, CEO for GE Poland, workforce diversity and digital transformation are two opportunities that GE, hosts of the 2016 Ada Awards ceremony, is explicitly leveraging for success. “We see GE as a 124-year-old software startup,” said Stelmach. “And with this thinking, we seek to pioneer a digital industrial sector that could contribute as much as $1.7 Trillion to European GDP annually by 2025.” In order to fully exploit the opportunities that digitisation brings,”it will be key to engage the entire European workforce,” she added. “And women in particular.”

Cerys Lock and Gabrijela Juriç, winners of the 2016 European Digital Girl of the Year Award, echoed the message of Deputy Prime Minister De Croo. Fourteen-year-old Cerys, feels that more computer science curriculum in school would be critical to get young people, girls included, engaged in the digital transformation. She reflected on the era of the Commodore 64 and said “forty years ago that computer was popular and got people into coding. We need something similar today, like the Raspberry Pi, that I personally am a huge fan of.” Gabrijela, also 14, added: “I am just proud that what I am doing actually matters to people in the sector. That really inspires me to keep going.”

Deputy Prime Minister De Croo summed up the awards event: “When someone is good at something you need to show it and congratulate her for what she is doing,” he said. “That is why the Ada Awards and the work of DLI is important: You need to show examples, and these young ladies are just the kind of examples we all need to see.”

The 2016 European Ada Awards were presented in the following categories to the noted recipients:

The Ada Awards are an initiative of Brussels-based Digital Leadership Institute in partnership with the Council of European Professional Informatics Societies (CEPIS), DIGITALEUROPE and European SchoolNet. The awards are named for Lady Ada Byron of Lovelace, the world’s first computer programmer. They are an official pledge to the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition in Europe.

The Digital Leadership Institute is a Brussels-based think tank whose mission is to promote inclusive digital transformation.

 

2016 Digital Woman Award Finalists Named

Congratulations to the finalists for the 2016-17 European Ada Awards that recognise top girls and women in digital studies and careers in Europe, and the organisations who support them! Join us on 8 December 2016 at The Square Brussels for the fourth annual European Ada Awards Ceremony — taking place as part of Garages 2016 and the European Commission’s Vocational Skills Week 2016 — where we will announce the 2016-2017 European Ada Award Winners!

2016-2017 European Digital Woman of the Year™ Award Finalists:

Saskia Van Uffelen has been working in the sector of information and communication technology (ICT) for over 25 years. She has held national and international sales and marketing functions in leading companies such as Xerox, Compaq, HP, Arinso, Bull and CSB Consulting. Thanks to her experience to transform a product driven organization to a provider of services and solutions, Saskia was appointed in 2014 as CEO Belgium and Luxemburg of Ericsson bringing her through the Telecom offer in the heart of the Networked Society.Since 2012, the federal ministry of economic affairs appointed Saskia Van Uffelen as ‘Digital Champion’ for Belgium in support of the mission of the European Commission.

Nuria Oliver is a computer scientist and holds a Ph.D. from the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She is one of the most cited female computer scientist in Spain, with her research having been cited by more than 10200 publications. Nuria is well known for her work in computational models of human behavior, human computer-interaction, mobile computing and big data for social good. Nuria is also interested in making science available to the general public. She has been a technology writer for Tecno2000 magazine and ‘El Pais’ newspapers, among others. Her work has been featured on multiple newspapers, magazines, radio and TV stations both in Spain and the US.

2016-2017 European Digital Girl of the Year™ Award Finalists:

  • Cerys from England

Cerys is a fourteen-year-old who has a passion for technology. Over the past couple of years she has got very involved with Raspberry Pi Computers and now runs her own raspberry jam in her hometown. She also helps at a code club and visits events right across the UK. There is a growing number of media clips and blogs on the internet that she been involved in, all aiming at getting young people–especially girls–involved in tech. Her motto is “if I can do it, you can too.”

  • Gabi from Croatia

Gabi is fourteen years old and has been programming web and smartphone apps for three years. She builds digital projects and has a passion for creative digital content like music and graphics. Gabi regularly participates in coding activities in school and in her community, especially those reaching out to girls. Her first project was a website to promote ICT to girls and women. Gabi started volunteering at young age and is a member of the school archery club and woodwind orchestra. She is always keen to try new things and believes everybody can be good at something.

2016-2017 European Digital Impact Organisation of the Year™ Award Finalists:

Geek Girls Carrots is a global organisation focused on connecting, learning and inspiring women in Tech and IT. We create community by organising meetings, workshops and other events which gather people to share their knowledge and experience. We bring together female admins, analysts, application architects, developers, graphic designers, IT managers, programmers, social media specialists, system architects, project managers, women with startup ideas, computer science students and many more. Geek Girls Carrots is present in Poland, Germany, USA, Luxembourg, France, Ireland, UK, Japan, Portugal, Gibraltar, Israel, South Korea and Czech Republic. Since 2011, meetings have taken place in 31 cities.

CyberMentor is Germany’s largest online mentoring program for girls in STEM (MINT in German). Up to 800 pupils from 5th to 12th grade are accompanied by a personal mentor for one year. The mentor serves as a role model for STEM activities and provides guidance on the choice of subjects and studies. Mentoring is provided via a protected online platform with mail, chat and forum, and is supported by a wide range of information on STEM, studies and professional choice. Cybermentor has been very successful since 2005: After leaving the program, 71% of all former participants choose an STEM subject as a subject or a course of study.

2016-2017 European Ada Awards Ceremony:

2016-17 European Ada Award Winners will be announced at the fourth annual European Ada Awards Ceremony on 8 December 2016 at The Square Brussels, in celebration of the 201st anniversary of the birth of Lady Ada Lovelace! Public attendance is welcome but registration at this link is required!

 

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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2015 European Digital Woman of the Year Finalists

Congratulations to the finalists for the 2015 European Digital Woman of the Year™ Award!

Monique 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.

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.

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.

 

Join us on 14 December at the 2015 European Ada Awards Dinner — taking place as part of the 15 December “Transforming Europe toward the Digital Age” event in Luxembourg — where we will announce the 2015 European Ada Award-winners in all categories!

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2014 European Digital Woman of the Year

On 30 October 2014 in RomeDLI announced winners of the 2014 European Ada Awards.  Join us here in congratulating the 2014 European Digital Woman of the Year, and read here the Press Release from our partners and sponsors about this great event!

***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 again to Esther, and thank you to our amazing partners and sponsors for making the 2014 European Ada Awards possible!