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.

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“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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1040 Brussels, Belgium

First EU Ada Award Winners Celebrated at ICT 2013

On 7 November 2013 at Europe’s largest ICT event, ICT 2013, Ms. Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda, announced the winners of Europe’s first-ever Digital Girl, Digital Woman and Digital Impact Organisation of the Year Awards.  Affectionately known as the “Ada Awards” after Ada Lovelace, in their inaugural year the Awards enjoy the patronage of Vice President Kroes and are an official pledge to the Grand Coalition for Digital Skills and Jobs in Europe.

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“I am so happy to congratulate these talented women and girls who have achieved great things in ICT,” said Vice President Kroes of the first group of Ada Award-winners.  “And I hope they go on to inspire more women to explore the digital sector,” she added.

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For distinguishing themselves in digital studies and careers, and for promoting greater participation of girls and women in digital sectors, Vice President Kroes recognised the following individuals and organisations for the 2013 Ada Awards in Europe:

SashaSasha is founder of both the European Centre for Women and Technology and the Bulgarian Centre of Women in Technology, having launched the latter at end 2012. During her career as a global executive for Hewlett-Packard, Sasha succeeded in attracting key investment in the ICT sector in Bulgaria that resulted in thousands of new digital jobs. She is responsible for launching and actively contributing to a multitude of outreach activities that aim to inspire girls and women to pursue digital careers in Bulgaria and beyond.

 

Amy14-year-old Amy has been coding for three years and has inspired people of all ages with her keynote speeches at the Raspberry Jamboree, Campus Party EU and Wired: Next Generation. She teaches older pupils how to code during her school lunch breaks and with the Manchester Girl Geeks.

 

 

 

LuneLune develops her own games and interactive movies with CoderDojo.  She designs robots and dreams of becoming an engineer. At nine years of age, she is already a true digital visionary and has a track-record of getting girls her age excited about digital endeavor.

 

 

htwThe Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft is Berlin’s largest University of applied sciences. In 2009, HTW inaugurated an innovative women-only bachelor program, “Frauenstudiengang Informatik und Wirtschaft”, aimed at increasing leadership for women in technology.  The program accepts forty applicants every year and celebrated its first graduating class in 2012.

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As part of their award, each girl finalist for the first-ever European Adas received a brand-new HP Slate7 from Hewlett-Packard, and all the finalists are eligible to spend shadowing days at different SAP locations around the world in the coming year.  The Award partnership is grateful to HP, SAP and Facebook for their contribution to the European Ada Awards.

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The Ada Awards are an initiative of Zen Digital Europe in partnership with the Council of European Professional Informatic Societies (CEPIS), DIGITALEUROPE, the European Centre for Women in Technology (ECWT) and European SchoolNet, and were created to celebrate European female talent in digital fields, promote European role models, and recognise organisations that support diversity in digital sectors.

The Ada Award partners view the ICT 2013 celebration as a major milestone in promoting women in digital studies and jobs in Europe, and hope it will ignite more initiatives attracting and retaining women in these sectors in Europe and beyond.

For further information about the Ada Awards and actvities of the Award Partners, please contact us.

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