DLI supports First U.N. Gender and Media Meeting

9-10 December 2015 at United Nations headquarters in Geneva, the Digital Leadership Institute joined the first-ever General Assembly of the Global Alliance on Media and Gender (GAMAG).  Read below the outcome of the gatherings, including input by Cheryl Miller, DLI Founder, on the impact of online media on the struggle for gender equality.

Media Equality Critical for Women’s Rights

Geneva, December 11, 2015:  The first general assembly of the Global Alliance on Media and Gender (GAMAG) has rounded out a week of meetings at the UN with a call for gender equality in and through the media by 2030 in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“On International Human Rights Day (10 December), we call for inclusive societies that give equal voice to all,” said Colleen Lowe Morna, CEO of Gender Links and GAMAG Chairperson. “This cannot be achieved as long as half the world’s population is effectively silenced.”


“We have come together to forge a global movement on gender and media,” said Alton Grizzle of UNESCO, which has facilitated GAMAG and organised the Geneva meeting with the Greek Secretariat General for Media and Communication. “Better access, leadership and portrayal of girls and women in media is a critical stepping stone for equal rights,” he added.

Launched in Bangkok two years ago, GAMAG brings together some 700 media houses, training institutions, journalism unions, gender and media activists to promote gender equality within the media and ICTs, and in the content they produce, as essential for achieving fundamental human rights for women worldwide.

Christiane Amanpour, Chief International Correspondent for CNN and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Freedom of Expression, joined the International Development Cooperation Meeting on Gender and Media remotely to kick off the week’s events.  Said Amanpour: “On the very important platform that is media, women are simply not equally or even adequately represented, either in leadership roles or in media coverage.”


Over the past ten years, little has improved concerning the presence of women in media, according to Sarah Macharia who spoke on behalf of the World Association of Christian Communicators, an organisation that regularly monitors gender equality in global news media.

The 2015 Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP) found that women constitute 24% of news sources – the same as five years ago.  “Women remain invisible or underrepresented on traditional media based on almost every indicator we measure,” Macharia warned. “And this trend has replicated itself in digital media as well.”

“As the struggle for gender equality moves to online media, the challenges multiply,” added Cheryl Miller of the Digital Leadership Institute, reporting for the GAMAG working group on media, ICTs and gender.  “Underrepresentation of women in both media and digital sectors converges online, and the scope for urgent action grows,” said Miller. From promoting positive role models online to tackling cyberviolence, “the internet is a double-edged sword for women,” she said. “It needs to be wielded for their benefit.”

At GAMAG’s inaugural General Assembly, stakeholders committed to making 2016 a year of unprecedented action on key priority areas which include digital media, youth, advocacy and gender and media research.  In addition, four regional GAMAG chapters were launched in order to operationalise the “Geneva Framework” reached at the International Development Cooperation meeting that preceded the General Assembly.


Actions announced by GAMAG working groups included a set of gender equality principles and standards to be signed up to by media houses; gender sensitivity education for the media; a best practice community on gender and media, and an initiative to identify regional and local champions for gender in media like Amanpour.

Lowe-Morna underscored the urgency of GAMAG’s mission.  “Gender equality in and through the media is intrinsic to freedom of expression, democracy, good governance and transparency. We cannot hope to achieve the SDGs if this is sidelined.” GAMAG will be lobbying for gender and media indicators in the SDGs in the run-up to the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) meeting in New York in March 2016.


UNESCO’s Grizzle celebrated the milestones reached by the Geneva gatherings, and the support garnered from UN agencies and key public and private sector partners around the world. “With these watershed meetings behind us,” Grizzle said, “we are now looking forward to the next steps that will mobilise even greater effort and resources toward actively achieving the mission of GAMAG at a local, regional and global level.”

DLI Update – November 2015

November was a busy month, highlighted by Women’s Entrepreneurship Day that took place all over the world on 18 November.  This month also featured hands-on involvement by DLI in several world class initiatives promoting young and experienced women in business, as entrepreneurs and, of course, in digital leadership of all kinds!

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 September 2015, learn here about future activities we are involved in, and visit our calendar for upcoming events that DLI is organising. *entrepreneurship, science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics

USEMb4-8 November – Women2Women Belgium Leadership in Action Event (Antwerp & Brussels) – The weekend of 7-8 November, DLI Founder, Ms. Cheryl Miller,  contributed to the Leadership in Action initiative of the US Embassy in Belgium during a partnership event and opportunities fair promoting leadership by girls from across Belgium.

EY12-13 November – Women3. The Power of Three (Istanbul): As part of the EY Women. Fast forward platform, Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founder,  facilitated a high-level roundtable at the global Women3. The Power of Three conference, promoting technology as an enabler to achieve global gender parity.

thinkbigger14 November – JCI THOE Think Bigger Entrepreneurship Event (Brussels): Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founder, contributed to a plenary session at the JCI The Heart of Europe Think Bigger event on the topic of growing your startup, and encouraging more women into entrepreneurship.

weday2015logo19 November – Bluemix Girls Night Meetup (Brussels): As part of the 2015 global celebration of Women’s Entrepreneurship Day — for which DLI Founder, Ms. Cheryl Miller, is Belgian Ambassador — DLI  collaborated with IBM Belgium/Luxembourg to deliver Belgium’s first Bluemix Girls Night Meetup, promoting digital entrepreneurship by women around the world.

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!


Hillary and Angela, Meet Jessica!

Equality Over Here–Equality Over There
In Europe, we can talk seriously about building a “smart, sustainable and inclusive” society without a smirk or sidelong glance from anyone. The “knowledge society” and the full contribution of a rich, diverse human capital is a widely recognized strength of a modern, united Europe. For this reason, there is a clear basis for formal dialogue on the topic of gender parity and greater empowerment of women — economically, politically and socially. In a formalistic top-down sense, there is reason therefore to even expect ground-breaking leadership by Europe on the topic of gender equality and women’s rights.  This is already evidenced by the milestone passage of the so-called “quota directive,” requiring at least forty percent representation of women on non-executive boards of all publicly-traded European companies.

On the other hand, class, gender and ethnic divides run deep in the old world.  High-level decisions are still largely made by a handful of “haves” and not necessarily in the interest of members of lower economic, social or political status. Change is slow and incremental, and universal directives, even the most noble, must be ratified by twenty-eight sovereign countries each with its own independent and distinct national priorities, culture, history and language(s). This means that any enlightened policies, including on gender parity, still must stand the test of local politics and traditions that have existed and persisted for literally centuries. Gender stereotypes are so ingrained in Europe that they almost typify some cultures, which also means that achieving gender equality on a grassroots level in practice will require a long, arduous and hard fought struggle that, in some senses, is only just beginning.


The Most Equal States?
On the other hand, quick and even far-reaching popular support for gender equality may emerge sooner in the US, as is already somewhat in evidence in this single domestic market with one dominant language, relatively affluent socioeconomic circumstances, and national media, including digital, that reaches almost all households.  After a certain “tipping point,” uptake of popular grassroots movements, like that in support of gender equality and women’s rights, can be quick and widespread in the US.  Whether such a tipping point has actually been reached for gender parity is certainly up for discussion. But it is clear that the open – sometimes violentdebate currently taking place on this subject, even globally, is dominated by actors, messaging and media, online and off, largely originating in the US.

The Interwebs
Regardless of how one measures progress on gender equality and women’s rights, this top-down leadership and bottom-up populist support are equally critical success factors.  To that end, both the US and Europe have important roles to play, as does the internet, where advances achieved on gender parity can be shared, replicated and scaled worldwide. For that reason, no matter where the struggle is waged, a new and important development is now taking place at the convergence of the battles for gender equality and net neutrality, where it may be argued that a free and open internet has replaced diamonds as a girl’s “best friend.”

Media:  The Silver Bullet
Though there is no silver bullet for achieving gender parity worldwide, popular media may present the single greatest opportunity today for positively impacting cultural norms to increase gender equality and promote women’s rights. Geena Davis famously said “if she can see it, she can be it,” and effectively raised the bar on portrayal of women and girls in popular culture, thus commencing a shift in role depictions in storytelling that may impact gender parity the world over.

As the home of Hollywood, of new content powerhouses like Netflix, and of  internet big brothers like Facebook and Google, the US enjoys unprecedented influence around the world via its unique brand of popular culture — which is consumed with almost equal voraciousness in Moscow, Russia as in Moscow, Idaho. This brings with it a clear responsibility:  The US must also begin to champion gender equality through better and more portrayal of girls and women in its own popular media, and it must equally demand such leadership by other actors — fictional and real — across the globe.

Step Up US!
US leadership on this double mission holds unparalleled promise for impacting the dialogue on gender equality around the world for the better, and it would squarely place the US on footing with Europe in its claims to an inclusive and diverse “knowledge society.”  Given the snails pace at which this topic has advanced to date, such a change — smirks and sidelong glances aside — would be welcome as long overdue.

*Featured Image:  Jessica Jones, Marvel superhero and subject of eponymous Netflix television series.

DLI Update – October 2015

October 2015 welcomed another record-breaking European Code Week, to which DLI contributed with two “Girls and the Future Internet” workshops exploring the internet of things and its impact on our daily lives. This month also took us to ICT2015, Europe’s largest ICT event, where DLI organised a stand on “Women in ICT” and carried out a “speed mentoring” session — with high school girls and adult women in tech — that celebrated 200 years of women in ICT leadership, starting with our beloved Ada Lovelace. Speaking of Ada, DLI also partnered with Euroforum to launch the first-ever Ada Lovelace Festival in Europe, where DLI Founder Cheryl Miller had the honor of delivering a keynote address, and she and DLI Cofounder, Rosanna Kurrer, organised two popular workshops on 3D printing and wearable technology. Find out more about our other October 2015 activities below.

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 September 2015, learn here about future activities we are involved in, and visit our calendar for upcoming events that DLI is organising. *entrepreneurship, science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics

mastercard8 October – MasterCard Women in Leadership Panel (Brussels): On 8 October in Brussels, Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founder, contributed to a MasterCard panel on women in leadership hosted at Vlerick business school.

SWlogo9-11 October – FinTech Startup Weekend Brussels – (Brussels): On 9-11 October, Brussels hosted its first-ever FinTech Startup Weekend, and Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founder, joined the event jury to choose the next revolutionary idea in banking and finance.

codeweek-badge10-18 October – European Code Week (Belgium): With the generous support of Google, DLI organised two workshops on “Girls and the Future Internet” as part Europe Code Week 2015. As Code Week Ambassador for Belgium, DLI Founder Cheryl Miller was active in promoting EU Code Week events in Belgium and beyond, which reached a record 7,000 events across Europe in 2015.

ff14 October – Failing Forward – (Brussels): On 14 October in Brussels, DLI Founder, Ms. Cheryl Miller, delivered a keynote speech at Failing Forward, Belgium’s flagship event that aims to “break through the stigma associated with failure,” organised by Startups.be.

CoR15 October – Open Days Workshop on “Inclusive Entrepreneurship” at the Committe of the Regions – (Brussels): As part of 2015 Open Days at the European Committee of the Regions, DLI Cofounder, Ms. Rosanna Kurrer, contributed to a workshop on “European Entrepreneurial Regions promoting inclusive entrepreneurship” taking place at the CoR offices in Brussels.

transmit16 October – Transmit at the Signal Festival – (Prague): Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founder, spoke on “Ada 200: The future of feminine, creative digital expression” at Transmit, the educational platform for digital culture, art and technology, at the annual Signal Festival in Prague.

bxldigweek17 October – Women in Tech Night at Brussels Digital Week – (Brussels): On 17 October, as part of European Code Week and Brussels Digital Week, Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founder, moderated a Women in Tech Night panel discussion on participation of girls and women in digital society, with top women from the Belgian tech sector.

ict_2015_lisbon20-22 October – ICT2015 (Lisbon): DLI led an “Ada200″ networking session on “Girls & Women in Tech” and hosted a Women in ICT booth at ICT2015, Europe’s largest ICT event, which took place 20-22 October in Lisbon, Portugal. At the networking session — celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Lady Ada Lovelace — DLI launched its newest policy initiative, Europe5050, host a handful of lightening talks by ICT luminaries, and facilitate a “speed-mentoring” event between teenage girls and women in tech.

adalovelacelogo27-28 October – Ada Lovelace Festival (Berlin): Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founder, gave a keynote speech at the first-ever Ada Lovelace Festival, an initiative of Euroforum DE, on 27-28 October in Berlin. Ms. Rosanna Kurrer, DLI Digital Literacy Lead, Ms. Miller and Ms. Norma Carr from Dimension Alley also led two popular workshops on 3D Printing and Wearable Technology.

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!



DLI Update – September 2015

Brussels Awards DLI Cyberviolence Project

The Ministry of Equal Opportunity of the Brussels Capital Region has selected DLI to lead a seminal campaign engaging Brussels adult and teenage women* in addressing cyberviolence in their communities. In Fall 2015, DLI will carry out several inQube – female digital accelerator workshops to build awareness about the growing problem of online violence, bullying and hate speech, and provide girls and women with skills and resources for tackling this problem. Six workshops will be held at DLI headquarters in Brussels from September through November 2015, culminating in the 28-29 November global launch of a Move It Forward digital starter event for girls and women focusing on Cyberviolence.

Move It Forward
Move It Forward

The events of the Move It Forward project are open to the public, and carried out in English, French and Dutch.  Attendance is free but space is limited so registration at the noted links is required.

To partner with us or sponsor the DLI “Move it Forward” Cyberviolence campaign, roundtable or digital starter event, please contact us!

The 2015 Move It Forward project on Cyberviolence is supported by the Ministry of Equal Opportunity of the Brussels Capital Region.

*anyone who identifies as a girl or woman

egalitedeschances logo

DLI Promotes Girls in Tech at ICT2015

On 20-22 October 2015, more than 4500 people will converge on Lisbon to attend ICT2015, Europe’s largest ICT event. DLI board members, Ms. Cheryl Miller and Ms. Rosanna Kurrer, will host the Women in ICT booth at ICT2015, and DLI will organize “Ada200,” a special networking session to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Lady Ada Lovelace — the first computer programmer in the world, a woman and a European.  DLI and its partners will showcase European women role models in ICT and carry out a speed-mentoring activity to encourage young girls toward digital studies and careers.

ECThe program for the Ada200 Networking Session at ICT2015 is as follows:

To participate in, partner or sponsor the Ada200 Networking Session at ICT2015, please contact us!






Successful Atlantic "Ada 200" Meeting

In celebration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Lady Ada Lovelace – namesake of the DLI Ada Awards and credited with being the world’s first computer-programmer – on 1 July in Brussels, the Digital Leadership Institute hosted 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 emphasized 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.


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.”


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.




DLI Update – June 2015

The DLI Board and Executive Team are actively involved in initiatives with partners and stakeholders around the world that promote ESTEAM (entrepreneurship, science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) leadership by girls and women. Find out below about our work in June 2015, learn here about future activities we are involved in, and visit our calendar for upcoming events that DLI is organising.

KET1-2 June – Digital & Key Enabling Technologies Skills Conference (Brussels): On 2 June, Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founder, contributed to a high-level panel on the subject “towards an e-Leadership ecosystem” at the first annual Digital and Key Enabling Technologies Skills Conference in Brussels.

bxl smart city3 June – Brussels Smart Cities Summit (Brussels): On 3 June, DLI Founder, Ms. Cheryl Miller, delivered a keynote address on the topic of “Smart People: Education and raising citizens’ awareness of new technologies” as part of a Smart City Summit presented by Mrs. Bianca Debaets, Brussels Capital Region Secretary of State for Regional and Community Informatics and Digital Transition, and hosted by the Brussels Regional Informatics Centre (BRIC).

SKFlogo4 June – SKF Belgium: On 4 June, DLI Founder, Ms. Cheryl Miller, visited SKF Belgium to facilitate the second meeting of the SKF Women Work group.

ladiescircle9 June – Ladies Circle (Brussels): On 9 June, the Ladies Circle of Asse & Grimbergen enjoyed a special evening of wine, discussion and 3D Design & Printing facilitated by DLI Founder, Ms. Cheryl Miller, at the DLI inQube space in Brussels.


unhrc17 June – 29th Session of the UN Human Rights Council (Geneva): As part of the 29th Session of the UN Human Rights Council taking place in Geneva on 17 June, Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founder, contributed to a Global Alliance on Media And Gender Europe panel on “Issues and challenges facing women in media“.

29 June – Visit of Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO (Brussels):Facebook & DLI Meeting On 29 June 2015 in Brussels, DLI board members, Ms. Cheryl Miller, and Ms. Janine de Keersmaeker, joined Ms. Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO and founder of LeanIn.org, and a small group of Brussels policy-makers to discuss increasing participation of girls and women in technological sectors.


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!


Erasmus+ Youth Coding Project Launch

Launch CYP

On 3 July 2015 in Brussels, DLI and its partners – Consulta Europa, PRISM & ATI (Spanish Association of IT Professionals) – launched Coding for Young People, a two year European Commission Erasumus+ Project that will collect and share best practices on innovative methods to teach coding to European youth, with a special focus on girls.

CYP PartnersFor more information about the Coding for Young People project, please contact us!