DLI Founder Appointed to EU Digital Skills Board

On 28 September in Brussels, Ms. Cheryl Miller, Founder and Director of the Brussels-based Digital Leadership Institute, joined the first meeting of the Governing Board of the European Commission’s Digital Skill and Jobs Coalition, to which Ms. Miller has been appointed for a two-year term.

According to the Commission, the aim of the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition Governing Board is to “provide strategic leadership and give high-level advice to improve the functioning and the impact of the Coalition, as well as monitoring its overall progress.” The Governing Board also represents the views of the Coalition partners at European level, and acts as a link between pledgers, national Coalitions and social partners.

At its first meeting, Ms. Miller accepted to lead the Governing Board’s work on “digital skills for ICT experts,” one of four digital skills pillars treated as priorities by the Coalition.  Ms. Miller and her colleagues will provide recommendations in these areas to the new European Commissioner for the Digital Single Market, Ms. Mariya Gabriel, in the context of the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition Conference, taking place in Brussels on 7 December.

Ms. Miller joins representatives of eleven other Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition stakeholders in the Governing Board, whose organisations represent pledging members, national coalitions, and Coalition social partners.

Towards Inclusive Digital Transformation in Europe

The future is already here — it’s just not evenly distributed. – William Gibson

The world is becoming digitised at an unprecedented rate. The advent of the internet, mobile devices and cloud-working has put vast connectivity and computing power in the hands of individuals at the most personal level, the world over. Since 2000, subscriptions for mobile services in the world have grown ten-fold to seven billion, and today, 3.5 billion people are online, most of whom are located in developed countries (ITU). By 2020, it it is estimated that people will be joined on the Internet by more than 50 billion objects, only one percent of which are connected today (Cisco). The future scope of digitisation is staggering, and the speed of its onset, and apparent inevitability, has given rise to what is called “digital disruption.” The consequences of this digital disruption—for our lives, the planet and our fellow creatures—are still largely unknown.

Digital disruption is impacting the technology sector itself, where demand for skills and the computing power to fuel the transformation is far outstripping our collective ability to keep up. Digitisation is affecting non-tech industries too, where market leaders in sectors like financial services, energy and even government are reinventing themselves as “digital” organisations. The rate of digital transformation represented by consumer-focused cloud computing, whose generated revenue is predicted to quadruple over the next ten years to $173B, will be further dwarfed by the coming of age of the “Industrial Internet.” Digital transformation of the world’s power and production facilities, connected across a digital landscape populated by massive amounts of data, is heralding the fourth Industrial Revolution, and is predicted to add €422B in value to German industry alone by 2025 (BITKOM, Fraunhofer).

While we are starting to get our heads around what digital disruption is and what it means, it is also important to understand what it is not. Not all continents—let alone countries—enjoy large bandwidth and high availability online access today, and fifty-three percent of people in the world are not online. This situation belies a harsh reality underpinning the digital disruption: Not everyone is on board.

The Digital Divide

As digital transformation goes, Europe enjoys an unrivalled position in the world. Twenty-five EU countries score higher than the OECD average for ICT indicators, and nine out of the ten nations with the fastest broadband in the world are located in Europe. As ITU figures suggest, however, differences in broadband speed persist, and a “digital divide” among regions of the world which parallels socio-economic realities, is clearly observable. In 2016, more than half of the world’s population — 3.9 billion people — remain offline, and of the nearly one billion people living in the Least Developing Countries (LDCs), 851 million do not use the Internet.

Among regions of the world, a second, persistent phenomenon may also be observed that cuts across geographic locations and even socio-economic conditions. Around the globe, no matter where they are, women as a demographic are less likely to be online than men, and despite its apparent leadership, Europe’s women are also getting left behind. Of the three and a half billion people online in the world, eighteen percent are men and sixteen percent are women, reflecting 200 million fewer women online overall. In Europe, of the twenty-one countries for which the ITU collected sex-disaggregated data in 2015, men enjoy greater online access than women in eighteen countries. In addition, the rate that women come online is slower than men, which means that the digital divide thus compounded by the gender gap risks deepening.

Towards Inclusive Digital Leadership

In addition to generally enjoying less online access, European women have fewer digital skills than men, they are less likely to engage in formal Computer Science studies, and they hold twenty percent or less of technical and leadership roles in ICT organisations. Tech entrepreneurs are five times more likely to be men than women, and in some places this ratio closer to 100:1. In leadership across the board, including in the technology sector, women make up only four percent of corporate CEOs and they hold less than fifteen percent of board roles in the private sector. Since the tech sector is both a key driver of digitisation as well as a reflection of the general digitisation of a society, diversity in this sector is particularly indicative of digital inclusiveness.

Where digital skills are concerned, for the seven-year period from 2005 to 2012 during which sex-disaggregated Digital Scorecard data was collected by the European Commission, research showed a consistent and persistent lag in the digital skill-levels of European women. When overall skill-levels increased or decreased across EU member states, a corresponding shift in women’s skill sets was also reported. In every case a lag remained, roughly representing a ten percent difference between the genders. These percentages represent the following absolute numbers:

2012 – EU Population: 502M people

  • Men: 49% or 246M people in Europe
  • Men with medium-high computer skills: 57% or 140M people
  • Men with low or no computer skills: 43% or 106M people
  • Women: 51% or 256M people in Europe
  • Women with medium-high computer skills: 46% or 118M people
  • Women with low or no computer skills: 54% or 138M people

For a European population of 560 million people in 2015, Eurostat data for individuals with basic, no or low digital skills, shows the following evolution:

2015 – EU Population: 560M people

  • Men: 49% or 274M people
  • Men with basic, low or no digital skills: 50% or 137M people
  • Women: 51% or 286M people
  • Women with basic, low or no digital skills: 52% or 149M people

From this data, the following may be concluded:

  • 286 million people, or over half of Europe’s population, have basic, low or no digital skills;
  • 149 million people of Europe’s digitally under-skilled, or 27% of the total EU population, are women;
  • 12 million more women than men in Europe, or 2% of the total EU population, are digitally under-skilled; and
  • These numbers reflect a significant and persistent trend.

Although devolution in European digital skills over the 2005-2015 period may be explained by expansion of the European Union and changes to data collection approaches, the following facts are clear:

A woman in Europe is:

  • Less likely to be online;
  • More likely to be digitally under-skilled; and
  • At greater risk of being excluded from the digital disruption underway.

Towards Inclusive Digital Transformation

Like online access, digital skill levels are an excellent indicator of the general education and economic integration of a given demographic, and they are an even stronger litmus test of how well that demographic is engaged in the digital transformation afoot. As such, the situation described above represents vast lost potential to Europe and to the young and adult women of Europe who are unable to fully realise their place as productive members of our increasingly digital society. A risk exists that the needs of these women go unheeded and the benefits of engaging them in the further digitisation of European society go unrealised.

A 2013 European Commission report demonstrated that equal participation of women in the ICT sector — as a quick-win to address the growing skills and job gap in Europe — would contribute as much as €9B to the European economy every year. A UN study in the same period linked every ten percent increase in access to broadband with a 1.38% growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for developing countries, and noted that bringing 600 million additional women and girls online specifically could boost global GDP by up to $18B. The increasing rate of digital disruption could certainly serve to further compound the upside potential shown here as much as it could multiply the downside risk from exclusion that is already happening.

For this reason, the present Manifesto explicitly supports priority-setting, resources and action at the EU level that accomplishes the following:

  • Curtail the risk of further digital exclusion of Europe’s 286 million women;
  • Close the digital skills gap impacting women in Europe; and
  • Maximise the opportunities presented by engaging Europe’s women to actively design, build and lead Europe’s digital transformation.

To this end, the Manifesto seeks to promote, scale and replicate initiatives that increase ESTEAM—including digital—skills for girls and women and prepare them to lead Europe’s digital transformation. Such initiatives embody best practices of the following kind:

  • Focus on girls and women specifically;
  • Promote female role models in tech, and more generally;
  • Stimulate learning through hands-on, result-driven and values-oriented activities;
  • Develop a rich, diverse and widespread community of European female digital leaders in the public and private sector, including entrepreneurship.

Many world-class initiatives of the foregoing kind have been developed and carried out in Europe by the Digital Leadership Institute and its partners.

*Reprinted from The e-Skills Manifesto, Chapter 10: Towards Inclusive Digital Transformation, written by Cheryl Miller, Cofounder, Digital Leadership InstituteCheck against printed copy.

DLI Update – March 2016

March has been a roller-coaster of a month at the Digital Leadership Institute. It roared in like a lion celebrating International Women’s Day with DLI’s favorite Belgian and international stakeholders, and went out like a lamb seeking community with loved ones near and far in the wake of the Brussels tragedies that DLI Founder, Ms. Cheryl Miller and so many others experienced first-hand.  In between, we advocated for greater participation of women in media, peacekeeping and global leadership at the annual Commission on the Status of Women in New York, and brushed up our expertise portfolio with Ms. Rosanna Kurrer–DLI Cofounder’s graduation from a Certified Trainer in Mobile Educational Computing program at MIT.  Herewith you can find details about it all shared with, as Cheryl wrote, the expression of our heartfelt grief for the people whose losses are so much greater than ours, and a wish for continued vigilance on all our part in the work for peace.

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 March 2016, 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


EP2 March – European Parliament Media Conference “Women Refugees & Asylum-seekers in Europe” (Brussels): In celebration of International Women’s Day 2016, Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founder, moderated a conference for European media on the subject of “Women Refugees and Asylum-seekers in Europe,” which took place at the European Parliament in Brussels on 2 March.


us seal7 March – US Embassy to the Kingdom of Belgium Roundtable on “Civil Society as Change Makers” (Brussels): On 7 March, Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founder,  joined a roundtable on the subject of “Civil Society as Change Makers,” on invitation from her Excellency Denise Campbell Bauer, US Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium.


useu8 March – US Mission to the European Union Roundtable on “Empowering Women Entrepreneurs in the Tech Sector” (Brussels):  Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founder, contributed to a moderated roundtable on the subject of “Empowering Women Entrepreneurs in the Tech Sector,” hosted by the US permanent mission to the European Union in Brussels in celebration of International Women’s Day 2016.   The event was part of a pan-European initiative to promote greater participation of women in tech on the part of the US Commercial Service in Europe and led by the honorable Penny Pritzker, US Secretary of Commerce.  Photos of the Brussels event, attended by leading policy players in Belgium and Europe, may be found here.


codeweek-badge10 March – European Code Week Ambassadors Meeting (Brussels):  On 10 March, Ms. Rosanna Kurrer, DLI Cofounder, joined the annual meeting of European Code Week Ambassadors as 2016 Ambassador for Belgium.


GSMA_logo15 March – GSMA Mobile Meeting Series “Digital economy: Balancing inclusion, opportunities, and access for women” (Brussels):  On 15 March, Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founder, contributed to a GSMA Mobile Meeting breakfast on the topic of  “Digital economy: Balancing inclusion, opportunities, and access for women,” report for which may be found here.


Facebook18 March – Facebook Roundtable on “Women’s Online Safety” (New York, New York):  Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founder, contributed to an international roundtable on the topic of  “Women’s Online Safety,” that took place at Facebook New York HQ as part of the 60th Meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women.


gamag19 March – GAMAG Europe & North America Panel at 60th Meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women (New York): Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founder, moderated a Global Alliance on Gender and Media panel at the 60th Meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women, that took place at the United Nations in New York, on 19 March.

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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!

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Looking forward to a new year of learning!

A New Year’s message from Rosanna Kurrer, DLI Cofounder, Digital Literacy Lead & g-Hive Community Manager:

Hi girl-techies!

This year was a year of firsts for our organisation, and for our community. We got our own space in March, and started doing workshops on coding and electronics, using Scratch and Processing, as well as using interactive electronics and electric paint with the Bare Conductive Touch Board.

In the coming year, we plan on rolling up our sleeves and getting more active in organising a workshop series, for those of you who would like to take their learning experience to the next level. We will be introducing project-based learning workshops in coding and app development.  They will be taking place bi-weekly (every two weeks) on Wednesday afternoons. More information on these workshop series will be shared in January. If you have a preference for time and day, please don’t hesitate to send me an email with your requests.

I am also preparing a series of morning workshops for those of you who would like to learn basic coding skills, while enjoying a morning coffee with like-minded ladies. This will be a series of informal workshops called the “Techie Brekky Tuesdays”. You got it, we will be meeting on Tuesday mornings (every two weeks) for a couple of hours of group coding, coffee-sipping and croissant-munching techie-gigs. Again, more info on this on my next blogpost in January.

In the meantime, our female digital starter weekend “Move It Forward – tackling Cyberviolence and Online Hate Speech” has been moved to January 23-24, 2016. We have a line-up of great workshops scheduled for these two days, including a host of inspiring coaches who will help you with your projects and start-up ideas!

One more event that you might want to know about, we are teaming up with the IBM Bluemix team to organise a Bluemix Girls Night at inQube and offer a hands-on tutorial on their Bluemix Cloud Platform. Their team of engineers will be coming to our space and will lead hands-on exercises on real-world Internet of Things applications that could be deployed on the cloud. These tutorials will help us understand how cloud computing works, what the Internet of Things is, and how we can use “the cloud” to bring our start-up ideas to the next level. Visit here for more information, and to register for this event.

Here’s wishing all of you relaxing days during the holidays with your loved ones!

And let’s all stay techie-curious, and greet the new year with renewed energy to learn!

All the best,

Rosanna :)

Christmas Baubles with young Spruce tree branch. This file is cleaned, retouched and contains clipping path.

*Originally posted to g-hive.org on 21 December 2015

Support Women Tech Entrepreneurs

*The Move It Forward event originally scheduled for 28-29 November 2015 has been rescheduled for 23-24 January 2016!  More time for you to join us and help support this great initiative!

There’s a serious shortage of women tech entrepreneurs in Europe.  How serious?  We don’t really know.  There isn’t a lot of data available but unofficial numbers in Belgium, for example, put the percentage of female tech founders at three percent.  Three percent.  And although we know the following to be true, there exists no concerted effort on a Belgian or European level to engage girls and women in tech startup:

  1. Girls and women are underrepresented in the tech industry, academia and in startup;
  2. Growth in the number of women-led startups in Europe is outstripping that of startups led by men;
  3. Girls and women thrive in tech and startup initiatives that specifically target them; and
  4. The untapped economic potential of getting more women engaged in the tech sector is huge.

Despite the foregoing, there are no public- or private-supported initiatives that promote startup and innovation in Europe which explicitly address under-representation of girls and women in this area.  Talk about “innovation”:  This is a situation ripe for something new.

On 23-24 January 2015,* the Digital Leadership Institute will launch “Move It Forward,” a female digital starter weekend that aims to tackle the under-representation of women in tech startup in Europe.  The initiative — NOT a hackathon, NOT a startup weekend, but actually both of these with a twist — is an event for female, tech and startup beginners that gives girls and women digital and entrepreneurial skills, along with a social challenge they need to address using these skills.

With the pilot version of Move It Forward, DLI and the Brussels Capital Region have given girls and women from the greater Brussels area the mission to develop projects that promote online safety for girls and women, and tackle cyberviolence.  Participants will receive training and coaching in website and smart app development, data visualisation and in launching digital enterprises.  With these skills they will develop projects and initiatives that they will present for prizes, resources and further development on DLI’s inQube – female digital accelerator – platform.

We are still looking for coaches, jury-members, sponsors and partners for the Move It Forward Brussels event — which aims to reach teen and adult women in the greater Brussels region, and create a footprint for future MIF events on topics like media, health, migration, etc., in other cities in Belgium and across Europe.

Does the idea of getting more women in tech entrepreneurship interest you?  Would you like to support the Move It Forward project of DLI and its partners — Dell, Amazon Web Services, Tableau, et al.?  Please contact us and let us know how you would like to help!  🙂

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Move It Forward is supported by the

Ministry of Equal Opportunity of the Brussels Capital Region.

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.”

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0C-M9XLfEw

“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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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.

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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.”

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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.

 

 

 

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Welcome to the homepage of the Digital Leadership Institute, a Brussels-based, international NGO whose mission is to bridge the gender gap and the digital divide by empowering the digital leaders of today and tomorrow.

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The Digital Leadership Institute is Chair of the Belgian National Point of Contact for the European Centre for Women and Technology.

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