Coding Brings Confidence Say Europe's Women

In May 2017, the Digital Leadership Institute team met in Croatia with its WOW Code2Confidence partners, a project funded by the Erasmus+ program of the European Commission. The project organisations explored how learning to code can lead to more confidence for women during studies and in the job market.

During the meeting, results from a pan-European survey on the interest of European women in coding were presented. Key findings of the survey, which was carried out by WOW Code2Confidence partners across Belgium, Croatia, England, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Romania, are below:

  • 53% of European women surveyed expressed an interest in learning to code;
  • Most women surveyed rate their current coding skills as Beginner, and 85% of women surveyed noted that coding activities give them confidence.
  • The main reason for women’s interest in coding is because coding skills are required for studies/work and due to an expressed desire to become more familiar with technical terms and jobs.
  • The survey also revealed that the main reason for those surveyed having never tried coding is due to a lack of suitable training resources.

Read the full results of the survey in our most recent WOW Code2Confidence newsletter, and for more information about the project, or about other DLI work promoting women in coding, please contact us.

On 5-6 October in Brussels, DLI will host the Fall 2017 meeting of the WOW Code2Confidence Project whose focus will be how women can leverage coding skills to improve their opportunities in the job market.  Stay tuned!


Girl Coding Power at Salesforce Essentials

On 1 June in Louvain-La-Neuve, girls and women from across Belgium joined an all-female Android coding workshop organized by the Digital Leadership Institute in the context of Salesforce Essentials, a large-scale event reaching over 600 Salesforce enthusiasts. The workshop, carried out as part of our Digital Muse initiative in collaboration with Salesforce Belux and, attracted participants ranging in age from ten to fifty-five, who benefited from hands-on coding lessons using MIT App Inventor and inspiring talks by Salesforce employees.

Ms. Cécile Kempeneers is a role model with plenty of role models!

Ms. Cécile Kempeneers, a Salesforce Belux Senior Account Executive who also co-organized a workshop at the most recent Girl Tech Fest Brussels 2017, shared with participants about her own role models and people who inspired her to enter a career in tech — including her grandfather, but also Elon Musk, Michelle Obama, Emma Watson and Malala Yousafzai.  Ms. Carmina Coenen, Salesforce Manager for Solution Engineering, also captured everyone’s imagination with a promise that coding and working with Salesforce would give them more options for an exciting and rewarding career.

Ms. Carmina Coenen inspires the Digital Muses

Workshop attendees showed a clear talent for developing their own Android smartphone application that translates speech from one language into spoken output in another language.  The talks by Ms. Coenen and Ms. Kempeneer also piqued their interest in career opportunities with Salesforce.

“We are excited to build on this interest by offering our community more curriculum on smartphone app-development and on becoming certified Salesforce CRM experts,” commented Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founder.  “We look forward to pursuing this collaboration going forward, for the benefit of both Salesforce and for these amazing girls of all ages!” & Salesforce Selfie


DLI Update – April-May 2017

The DLI Board and Executive Team are actively involved in initiatives with partners and stakeholders around the world that promote ESTEAM* leadership by girls and women. Find out below about our work in April and May 2017, learn here about future activities in which we are involved, and visit our calendar for upcoming events organised by DLI.

*entrepreneurship, science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics

14 April – Alma Radio “Digital Kids” Show (Brussels): On 14 April, Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founder, joined Ms. Claire-Marie Healy from Alma Radio for a broadcast on the subject of “Digital Kids,” in the lead up to all-day Alma Radio coverage of the 2017 Digital Muse Girl Tech Fest organised by DLI on 29 April 2017.

10 May – Chatham House “Women in Trade” at European Parliament (Brussels): Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founder, contributed to a 10 May meeting at the European Parliament on the topic of “Women in Trade” with contribution from Chatham House experts and members of European Parliament, which preceded an 11 May hearing on Gender Equality in EU Trade Agreements.

11 May – Trefpunt – Sterke Onderneemsters (Brussels): Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founder, joined a Trefpunt event, panel and speed-dating exercise, hosted by the “Sterke Onderneemsters” project, aimed a promoting women-led entrepreneurship, on 11 May in Brussels.

19 May – Digital Skills Fair at BeCentral (Brussels): On 9 June, Ms. Maria Alfonso, DLI Development Coordinator, showcased DLI activities at an all-day event promoting Belgian digital skills initiatives that took place at BeCentral in Brussels.

Be sure to visit our Calendar, Upcoming Activities page, and sign up for the DLI Newsletter in order to keep up with DLI events and activities!


Let's Get Digital!

In honour of International Girls in ICT Day 2017, the Digital Leadership Institute and its partners organised the second annual Girl Tech Fest Brussels 2017, a volunteer-run event with over 100 activities reaching 250 participants from across Brussels, encouraging girls toward study and career paths in ESTEAM:  STEM plus Entrepreneurship and Arts!

Thank you! 

With 25 workshops and a dozen “Digital Muse Lab” activities, the Girl Tech Fest took tons of effort and dedication from a lot of people to make happen!  We would like to thank everybody who contributed:

GTF Press

Our event got some attention!  Find out who was impressed right here!


To help us improve Girl Tech Fest for the next time, please share your feedback here:

Stay in touch! 

For pictures of the event, news about upcoming activities and additional ways to stay involved in future DLI and Digital Muse events, please follow us here!

Thank you, and see you all again next year!

FREE Android Training Toolkit

In the context of the Coding for Young People project, the Digital Leadership Institute and its partners have developed a FREE Android App Training Toolkit for use and sharing by individuals and organisations interested in teaching Android using the MIT App Inventor platform.

In order to fully benefit from the Toolkit, please be sure to:

  1. Download the ‘Talk2Me” training presentation and watch the 50-minute “Talk2Me” training video. Use these to teach Android to your students, and feel free to share them with others!
  2. Download the training guidelines that include links to resources in English, Italian and Spanish!
  3. Fill out the Survey about your experience to let us know if we’re on the right track!
  4. Join the Coding for Young People Community to benefit from future resources from the project and its partners!
  5. Don’t hesitate to contact us if we can support you in any way in your mission to teach coding to young people!

Happy coding!

Featured Image: PC Magazine

Meet Alexa, Your New BFF, at Girl Tech Fest 2017!

Ever wanted to build your own robot sidekick?  Get ready to meet Alexa, Amazon‘s cloud-powered virtual assistant and your new BFF, at the Digital Muse Girl Tech Fest 2017!

Teen girls attending Girl Tech Fest 2017 will have a chance both to meet Alexa, and to program the Echo platform that helps Alexa run!  Those joining the GTF Alexa workshop organised by Amazon Web Services* will learn to customize Alexa’s voice-recognition system and remotely launch activities, from playing music to sending email.   After that, the chances to make a life-long virtual friend are endless!

The learning opportunity will continue after Girl Tech Fest, too, as the girls will benefit from official membership in the Amazon developer community where they can make use of the Alexa Skills Kit and other online materials to help them continue exploring and creating.

If you can’t join us at the Girl Tech Fest, why not celebrate International Girls in ICT Day along with us by trying out the Build a Trivia Skill tutorial with your own young developer?

Special thanks to  Amazon Web Services for supporting DLI work to increase participation of girls and women in digital fields, and for partnering for our second Girl Tech Fest!

Pepper is Coming to Girl Tech Fest 2017!

Pepper is an autonomous talking humanoid robot who is able to detect and respond to a whole number of human emotions including joy, sadness, anger or surprise. This high-tech robot is even able to make sense of data that traditional computers cannot understand like social media, video, images and text all through the power of IBM’s Watson!  Watson is “the first open cognitive computing technology platform and represents a new era in computing where systems understand the world in the way that humans do: through senses, learning, and experience.”

While still unavailable for individual purpose in Europe, Pepper is already popping up at local organizations, including  CHR Citadelle Hospital in Liege and AZ Damiaan Hospital in Ostend. Its duties include greeting patients and accompanying visitors to the correct hospital department utilizing the 20 different languages it knows!

But Pepper is not all work, it also has some pretty groovy dance moves too:

Pepper will visit GTF as a plenary speaker and participate in the Digital Muse Fun Lab throughout the day so each girl has the opportunity to say hello!

Still need to register for Girl Tech Fest? Do so here.

Special thanks to our partners at IBMCronos  and Craftworkz for making this possible!

Alma Radio at Girl Tech Fest 2017

Ever wonder what it would be like to produce your own radio show or conduct interviews as a radio journalist? Joining us at Girl Tech Fest 2017, radio show host Claire-Marie Healy of Radio Alma’s ‘Attention, Bébé a Bord!’ will introduce the girls to the exciting world of radio! Broadcasting from the Girl Tech Fest itself in a radio studio, the girls will conduct their very own interviews with the many women in STEM mentors, volunteers and participants throughout the day.

A graduate of the London School of Economics, Claire-Marie advises on regulatory affairs for the GSMA on policies related to the digital economy. After becoming a mother to her daughter Valentina, she became aware of the need for parenting support. This realization inspired her own personal journey to create ‘Attention, Bébé a Bord!’ during which she drops the frills and taboos in the discussion around parenthood to conduct personal interviews with young parents and specialists. Curious to know more? Listen in to Radio Alma on Tuesday between 11-12 or check out the radio website and Facebook page!

Want to join in on the learning experience? Come help promote girls in ESTEAM!

Girls aged 11-15 can register here:

Volunteers can sign up at: 

DLI Update – March 2017

March is always a busy month at the Digital Leadership Institute.  This year was no exception.  On International Women’s Day 2017, we had the special privilege of visiting European Commissioner for Justice, Ms. Vera Jourova with a group of young girls active in STEM areas.  The girls shared with Commission Jourova about their vision, challenges and hopes for a future with girls leading in STEM, or what we call “ESTEAM” sectors.  You can find out about the visit here, about our other activities in March 2017 below, future activities in which we are involved, and visit our calendar for upcoming events organised by DLI.

*entrepreneurship, science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics

logo_Women4Tech27 February-1 March – Women4Tech Summit at Mobile World Congress (Barcelona): In collaboration with the European Commission, the Digital Leadership Institute led a mission to the 2017 Women4Tech Summit and 4YFN startup event which took place as part of Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona. Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Cofounder, moderated a 28 February panel on Reducing the Gender Gap in the Startup Ecosystem at the Women4Tech Summit, and both Ms.Miller and DLI received honours as finalists for the 2017 Mobile Global Awards in the Mobile Industry Leadership category.

european parliament 7-8 March – European Parliament International Women’s Day Media Conference on Economic Empowerment for Women (Brussels): In celebration of International Women’s Day 2017, Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Cofounder, moderated a 2-day conference for media hosted by the European Parliament on the topic of Women’s Economic Empowerment in Europe.

(LeftAligned)InternationalWomensDay_RGB8 March – Amazon Web Services Celebration of International Women’s Day 2017 (Dublin, Ireland): On 8 March in Dublin, Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Cofounder, gave a lightening talk on the subject of “Be Bold for Change” at the Amazon Web Services European headquarters in Dublin, in celebration of International Women’s Day 2017.

13-17 March – Semaine Entreprendre (Brussels): On 14 March, Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Cofounder, contributed as “godmother” to an event promoting women-led entrepreneurship as part of a week of activities by EFP, the largest entrepreneurship education institution in Brussels.  On 15 March, Ms. Miller also provided a keynote for the week’s flagship conference on the topic of “digital transformation and entrepreneurship.”

8 March – DLI “Girls in STEM” Visit with Justice Commissioner Jourova (Brussels)In celebration of International Women’s Day 2017, DLI led a “girls in STEM” visit with European Commissioner for Justice, Ms. Vera Jourova, and hosted a mission of young girls including Ms. Manon Van Hoorebeke, 2014 European Digital Girl of the Year.

22 March – GSMA Mobile Meeting Series Breakfast (Brussels): On 22 March, Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Cofounder, and Ms. Maria Alfonso, DLI Development Manager, joined a GSMA Mobile Meeting series breakfast on “Fostering women inclusion in the tech sector” at the GSMA Europe headquarters in Brussels.

23 March – AmCham (Brussels) Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Cofounder, joined a 23 March gathering hosted by the American Chamber to the European Union on the subject of “Women and Entrepreneurship: Fueling social change through economic growth“.

28 March – Entreprendre 2017 (Brussels): On 28 March, Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Cofounder, joined Ms. Loubna Azghoud, leader of the Brussels Women in Business Platform, to host a workshop and networking lunch on women-led entrepreneurship, entitled “They did it, so why can’t you?“, as part of 2017 Entreprendre/Ondernemen, the largest annual entrepreneurship event in Brussels.

Be sure to visit our Calendar, Upcoming Activities page, and sign up for the DLI Newsletter in order to keep up with DLI events and activities!


Volunteer for Girl Tech Fest 2017!

In honor of International Girls in ICT Day 2017, on 29 April at European School IV in Brussels, the Digital Leadership Institute will organize the second annual Digital Muse Girl Tech Fest — an event that aims to encourage girls aged 11-15 to pursue studies in ESTEAM* through a day filled with fun, hands-on workshops and inspiring encounters with women role models in technology.  Past GTF events have included workshops on: “The Tech of DJ-ing, “3D Jewelry Design & Printing” and “The Future of Fashion.” Activities will also include a Digital Muse Lab where participants get to experience cutting-edge tech gadgets and interact with STEM mentors.  Interested participants can register here.

To carry out an event of this kind requires a dedicated team of volunteers for promotion, registration, coordination and workshop and DM Lab leadership.  So please get involved!

Promote the Girl Tech Fest in your Communities:
Be sure to get all the girls in your school and work communities involved in our event by printing and sharing GTF2017 posters in the following languages:

Why volunteer for the Girl Tech Fest Brussels 2017?

  • Social encouragement is 28.1% and career perception is 27.5% of the explainable factors influencing a young women’s wanting to pursue a computing related degree; and
  • If women held digital jobs as frequently as men, the gain for the European GDP each year would be around 9 billion euros!!!

If you’re interested in inspiring girls with STEM skills, check out the volunteer registration page! We do strive to showcase female mentors but men are of course very welcome to volunteer!

*STEM plus Entrepreneurship and Arts