Digital Equity for Women’s Economic Agency at STI Forum 2022

Event Registration Link: http://bit.ly/deweaSTI22

Online on 5 May 2022, 18:00-19:15CET / 12:00-1:15pm EST, the G20 Women20 European Union Delegation and Brussels-based Digital Leadership Institute are proud to organize “Digital Equity for Women’s Economic Agency,” an official side-event of the UN ECOSOC’s 7th Multi-Stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the SDGs (STI Forum).

Confirmed Speakers:

Format: This event will feature a Roundtable, with interventions by representatives of public and private organizations promoting women’s economic empowerment and closing the gender digital divide for economic recovery and sustainable development. A Question & Answer session open to the public will follow the Roundtable.

Moderator: The event will be moderated by Cheryl Miller, Co-head of the G20 Women20 European Union Delegation, and Director of the Digital Leadership Institute

Registration: This online event is open to the public and registration is required. The event will be organized on Zoom and accessed via the STI Forum Whova platform which is still in process. Those who register via Zoom will also have access. Please stay tuned.

Live Stream: The event will also be streamed live on the DLI YouTube channel.

Concept Note:

Anywhere in the world today, a woman is: 

  • Less likely to be online;
  • More likely to have low or no digital skills;
  • Less likely to be an IT professional; and 
  • Far less likely to launch a tech-driven enterprise.

As a result, women are at greater risk of being excluded by the digital disruption, a phenomenon exacerbated by the COVID pandemic.

COVID has disproportionately impacted women—forcing millions out of the workplace, many permanently. In response, entrepreneurship is and will continue to be a key factor in sustaining financial independence for women and in reigniting the global economy.  In the digital society, such participation is increasingly linked to skills supporting both digitally-enabled and digitally-driven entrepreneurship.

However, a key characteristic of the digital disruption which cuts across geographic locations and socio-economic conditions is that, no matter where they are in the world, women are less likely to be online than men. Of the Earth’s 7.8 billion human population, men make up thirty percent and women twenty-five percent of people who are online, reflecting 195 million fewer women online overall. Despite a surge in online participation during the COVID pandemic, the rate at which women go online continues to lag behind. This ubiquitous and persistent trend represents the digital divide compounded by the gender gap which, without focused effort to address it, risks widening.

In countries where digitalization has a firmer hold, women are still less likely to have digital skills, take up formal computer science or other STEM studies, or hold technical and leadership roles in IT organizations. Globally, the founder of a digitally-driven enterprise is five times more likely to be a man than a woman, and in many places the ratio is closer to ten-to-one.

In addition to the yawing social divide this reality reflects, italso represents a loss for the global economy and for women themselves who are unable to fully realize their potential as economics actors in an increasingly digital society. In 2013, the UN reported that bringing 600 million women and girls online could boost global GDP by up to $18B. A European study of the same period suggests that equal participation of women in the ICT sector would contribute as much as €9B annually to the European economy. Especially as a response to the COVID-induced “She-cession,” action to tackle the gender digital divide presents an opportunity to improve women’s economic agency, address the digital skills and job gap, and promote a pathway toward sustainable development.

Regardless of geography, closing the gender digital divide presents a critical factor in ensuring women’s economic agency, previously and again at present, in order to promote economic development. This focus has the advantages of limiting the risk of further marginalization of women as a result of the digital disruption, addressing the global IT skills gap, filling tech jobs that otherwise go unfilled, and of supporting a woman’s pathway to economic agency in the workforce and as an entrepreneur whose work is digitally-enabled and/or tech-driven.

As such, the greatest single driver of economic recovery exiting the COVID pandemic, and that which will most contribute to sustainable development going forward, will be action supporting digital equity for women’s economic agency at the intersection of promoting women’s economic empowerment (WEE)—with women as entrepreneurs,  equal actors in the workforce, and leaders across the board—and closing the gender digital divide (GDD).

Questions: The event will investigate the following questions: 

  • What is the economic impact of the gender digital divide and the opportunity presented by closing it?
  • What is the state-of-play regarding development action that focuses on tackling the gender digital divide and promoting women’s economic empowerment? 
  • What indicators and best practices may be employed to support digital equity for women’s economic agency as a pathway to economic recovery and sustainable development?

Topics: The event will address the topics of women’s economic empowerment, the gender digital divide, gender equality, woman’s rights, inclusive digital transformation, digital financial inclusion, access to finance, online safety, digital equity, digital skills, STEM skills, women-led entrepreneurship, economic recovery, building forward better from COVID, diversity, equity, inclusion, women in peacekeeping and conflict avoidance, women migrants and refugees, women in leadership, women in innovation, female founders, the SDGs, sustainable development goals, and sustainable development.

Moving Forward Support for Women Entrepreneurs

Women-led entrepreneurship can act as an enabler of women’s economic empowerment and gender equality and contribute to the post-COVID economic recovery.

On this important topic, DLI and it’s partners organized an event entitled Moving Forward Support for Women Entrepreneurs on 16 March 2022 at the Residence Palace in Brussels.  The event was hybrid, which supported people to attend from a large variety of countries and organisations.

Moving Forward Support for Women Entrepreneurs was organised in the framework of the Move It Forward Plus project (MIF+), an Erasmus Plus-funded project to support organizations working in the field of female digital entrepreneurship by equipping them with tools and strategies to better support aspiring women entrepreneurs. The highlighted “tool” was the Move It Forward female digital starters weekend, a two-day program with the aim of bringing together teen and adult women to provide them with the digital skills, resources and access to expertise necessary to inspire them to take up digital entrepreneurship.

During the event, speakers highlighted the importance of supporting women-led entrepreneurship from different angles and perspectives.  

First, Cheryl Miller, DLI Director and Co-head of EU Delegation to the G20 / Women20, dug into why it is important to support women entrepreneurs and what is at stake if this is not done.

The project coordinator, Marina Andrieu from WIDE(Luxembourg) then presented tools and methodologies developed in the MIF + project, and how they can be applied and used for training and mentoring of future digital entrepreneurs. 

Next, MIF+ partner organisations, Fundatia Professional (Romania), Led by Her (France), WIDE (Luxembourg), and CTK Rijeka (Croatia), described the specific actions they implemented to support women entrepreneurs and the impact this had in their local communities.

In the final and most heart-warming part of the event, three future women entrepreneurs who are currently enrolled in the MIF+ mentoring program, shared their experiences of why and how they started on their entrepreneurship journey. In each case, they underscored the fact that getting support to develop their project idea—first during the MIF digital starters weekend and afterwards with guidance from a mentor—is what has permitted them to start making their entrepreneurship dreams come true.

“COGE” Gender Equality Contest for Young People Launched

On 21 March 2022, the R&I PEERS project announced the “COGE: Contest on Gender Equality” competition, inviting young people between the ages of 18 and 25 who are studying in Belgium, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Israel, Slovenia, Spain or Tunisia, to submit a video of up to three minutes long describing their experiences, knowledge, perception and proposals for Gender Equality.

Information about the competition—including application form, rules for participation, and contact—is available online at the following link: https://ec.europa.eu/eusurvey/runner/COGE

Deadline for submitting completed videos: Midnight 31 May 2022 Central European Time

The R&I PEERS project partners include the Digital Leadership Institute of Belgium, the Greek General Secretariat for Demographic and Family Policy and Gender Equality, the Confindustria association, and seven Universities and Research Institutions from Europe and the Mediterranean. The project is coordinated by the University of Salerno in Italy.

The project “Pilot Experiences for Improving Gender Equality in Research Organizations – R&I PEERS” has been funded under the HORIZON 2020 program (GA 788171) and aims to create and evaluate pilot experiences from a gender perspective which do not limit the participation and career of women in Research and Innovation.

Organise Your Own Move It Forward Event!

As an outcome of the Move It Forward+ project, funded by the European Union Erasmus+ program, a toolkit for organising your very own Move It Forward (“MIF”) event–as well as CSR and mentoring activities to promote women (digital) entrepreneurs–is now available free, online for the public!

Move It Forward is an event footprint–sometimes called a “hackathon” or “tech-for-good” initiative–originally developed by the Digital Leadership Institute as part of its inQube “female digital accelerator” program. With MIF and other activities, inQube aims to support teen and adult women entrepreneurs by providing community, digital and business skills, and other resources they need to launch and grow successful digitally-enabled and digitally-driven enterprises.

Including Move It Forward+ project activities, the Move It Forward event has been organized 20 times in 9 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, reaching thousands of participants, since 2014. In 2018, MIF received a Global Mobile Award, and in 2019 was recognised as European finalist for the UN ITU EQUALS in Tech Award.

Materials developed and made available within the MIF+ project are available for download on the Move It Forward+ website and below.

Please feel free to contact us for more information about and support with organising a Move It Forward event in your own city!

1. Guides: How to organise a Move it forward+ Event

We provide our Guides in 5 different languages, to support you with the organisation of your Move it forward+ event.

2. Event Preparation Documents

You can find additional and printable materials here:

3. In-event Documents

You can find a variety of printable material here:

4. Guides: How to organise mentoring sessions

You will find here all the resources related to the organisation of mentoring sessions linked to your Move it foward+ event.

Annexe n°1: Impact and assessment of women programmes and events supporting women in entrepreneurship.

Annexe n°2: Mentor’s portfolio & Mentee’s portfolio

5. Event Presentations

Our Event Presentation will be available soon!

DLI Update – Winter 2022

Happy 2022 to all our friends and collaborators!

The DLI Board are actively involved in outreach activities with partners and stakeholders around the world that promote ESTEAM* leadership by girls and women. Find out more below about our outreach activities in Winter 2021-22, including the 22 December 2021 launch of the the G20 Women20 2022 Indonesia Presidency, attended by DLI’s director. For upcoming events by DLI and our partners please visit here, and have a look at our calendar.

*Entrepreneurship and Art powered by Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

15-17 November – SME Assembly 2021 (Portorož, Slovenia & Online): On 15-17 November 2021, Cheryl Miller Van Dÿck, DLI Founding Director,  joined the SME Assembly 2021, hosted by the European Commission and taking place in Portorož, Slovenia and online, as part of the Slovenian Presidency of the EU Council.


17 November 2021 – “Solutions Through Inclusivity” Group of Nations Virtual Summit:  Cheryl Miller Van Dÿck, DLI Founding Director,  joined a fireside chat on Digital Equity to Build Forward Better as part of a 17 November event on Solutions Through Inclusivity–celebrating 25 years of Group of Nations global events, including G20, W20, B20 and APEC.


25-26 November – Fin2021  Porto, Portugal  and Online): On 26 November 2021, Cheryl Miller Van Dÿck, DLI Founding Director,  provided a keynote presentation on the subject of Techno World at the FIN2021 event taking place in Porto, Portugal and online.  The event was supported by JEUNE, a pan-European organisation representing 1.6 million young entrepreneurs, for which Miller recently became Advisory Board member.


30 November – Udacity STEM Forward with Women: On 30 November 2021, Cheryl Miller Van Dÿck, DLI Founding Director,  contributed to an online panel promoting success for women in STEM  as part of the STEM Forward with Women event hosted online by Udacity.


2 December – Projexplorer Navigating the Future of Project Economy (online):  On 2 December 2021, Cheryl Miller Van Dÿck, DLI Founding Director,  joined a Projexplorer event on Navigating the Future of Project Economy with a keynote speech on the topic of Sexism in Tech:  Unlearn What You Know.


6 December – WEgate Community Council Meeting (Online):  Cheryl Miller Van Dÿck, DLI Founding Director, joined the third  meeting of the WEgate Community Council, supporting women entrepreneurs in Europe and beyond, on 6 December online.


9 December – Path to the Digital Decade  (Online):  On 9 December, Cheryl Miller Van Dÿck, DLI Founding Director,  provided a keynote address for an event of the Digital SkillUp project, on the topic of Path to the Digital Decade: Inclusive & Sustainable Upskilling for All, hosted by DIGITAL SME Alliance.


14 December – EIC Women Leadership Programme (Online):  Cheryl Miller Van Dÿck, DLI Founding Director, provided a keynote presentation for the 14 December EIC Women Leadership Program Personal Leadership Brand session, on the subject of Remaining Authentic in the Face of Adversity.

21 December – Italy-Indonesia Women20 Handover:  On 21 December, in the capacity of Head of EU Delegation to the G20 Women20, Cheryl Miller Van Dÿck, DLI Founding Director, joined the Italy-Indonesia Women20 Handover meeting.

22 December – Indonesia 2022 G20 Women20 Presidency Launch:   In the new capacity of Co-head of EU Delegation to the G20 Women20, Cheryl Miller Van Dÿck, DLI Founding Director, joined the 22 December launch event of the Indonesia 2022 G20 Women20 and G20 Empower Presidency.


To browse past activities with DLI and our partners, please click here.  Be sure to also visit our calendar, sign up for the DLI Newsletter and follow us on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram in order to keep up with DLI events and activities!

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We4Change Launches Train-the-Trainer Workshop

The We4Change consortium is looking for enthusiastic youth workers and trainers to support We4Change Changemaker events by learning to organise and deliver these events targeting our key beneficiaries. Details on the call for applications for a Train the Trainer workshop to take place in Brussels on 2-4 February 2022, may be found here and a draft application form here.

What is the Train the Trainer Workshop?

It is a training dedicated to youth workers and trainers that are interested to learn how to effectively deliver a We4Change Changemakers event – a hackathon-like event that offers an innovative combination of hands-on activities, training on digital, innovation
and environmental awareness skills, problem-solving and co-creation skills to young girls and women to address climate change.

The participants will learn a series of methods of facilitation of such type of event, which includes an important gender element, but also entrepreneurship and environmental activism.  They will develop their communication skills to work with a diverse audience, to change and adapt to different situations and how to handle complex group dynamics to keep things running smoothly. In addition, they will be trained to deliver or assist several workshops on themes such as:  digital, design thinking and pitching.

When will the Train the Trainer Workshop take place?

The training will take place in person between 2-4 February 2022, In Brussels (Belgium). Applicants must be available to participants to the entire 3 days training.

Who can apply?

The training program is addressed to youth workers, trainers, coaches and mentors working or interested in working with girls and young women on the themes covered by the We4Change project, including youth empowerment, environmental action, digital skills, entrepreneurial mindset.

Application and selection procedure
All applications must be submitted before the deadline of 10 December 2021 at 23.59 CET, via the online application form. By submitting the application, applicants accept the eligibility criteria and practical information related to this call.

More information on the WE4Change Changemakers Train the Trainer seminar, including eligibility criteria and practical details, may be found here!

DLI Update – Fall 2021

The DLI Board are actively involved in outreach activities with partners and stakeholders around the world that promote ESTEAM* leadership by girls and women. Find out more below about our outreach activities in Fall 2021, and for upcoming events by DLI and our partners please visit here, and have a look at our calendar.

*Entrepreneurship and Art powered by Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

14 September – UNIDO Women and Modern Technologies Event (Online): Cheryl Miller Van Dÿck, DLI Founding Director,  contributed to a webinar organized by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), entitled Women and modern technologies in restoring sustainability and building resilience in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis, which took place online on 14 September 2021. Outcomes of the webinar will be shared at the Multi-stakeholder global dialogue on emerging opportunities for women in the digital age, at the third Eurasian Women’s Forum (EAWF), on 15 October 2021 in St. Petersburg.


14-15 September – ICT Spring (Luxembourg & Online): On 14 September 2021, Cheryl Miller Van Dÿck, DLI Founding Director,  provided a keynote presentation on the subject of A Digital Spring for Women Entrepreneurs, as part of the annual ICT Spring event, taking place 14-15 September in Luxembourg and online. Complementary passes for this event may be found here.


29 September – W Closing Event (Finland & Online): DLI Founding Director, Cheryl Miller Van Dÿck, gave a keynote presentation at the closing event of the W-Power project, empowering women entrepreneurs in sparsely populated communities, taking place online on 29 September 2021 .


7 October – WEgate Summit (Brussels & Online): On 7 October, Cheryl Miller Van Dÿck, DLI Founding Director, contributed to a high-level breakfast briefing at the annual WEgate Summit, on the subject of WE are the Next Generation, taking place in Brussels and online.


19-22 October – Global Marketing Summit (Online): 19-22 October 2021, Cheryl Miller Van Dÿck, DLI Founding Director, gave a keynote presentation at the Global Marketing Summit 2021, which took place online for an audience of over 5000 participants, on the subject of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: Building Forward Better.


27 October – Fondation Lance d’Afrique Burundi (Online): Cheryl Miller Van Dÿck, DLI Founding Director,  joined Fondation-LAB Summit on Social Enterprise for Economic Empowerment: An African Woman’s Perspective, where she provided a keynote presentation on the topic of Building Forward Better: Women, Technology & Entrepreneurship.


30-31 October – G20 Summit (Rome & Online): On 30-31 October 2021, Cheryl Miller Van Dÿck, DLI Founding Director,  joined the 2021 G20 Summit in Rome as Head of the EU W20 Delegation and Co-chair of the Digital Working Group for Women20 Italia 2021, the women’s stakeholder engagement group to the 2021 G20 meetings in Italy.


Be sure to visit our Calendar and Outreach Activities page to keep up with DLI events and activities! You can also and sign up for the DLI Newsletter and follow us on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram!

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Women4Afghanistan

The recent withdrawal of the United States from Afghanistan after twenty years of occupation created a power vacuum and resurgence of domestic forces that has triggered a humanitarian crisis.  The clamping down on human rights and freedoms, especially impacting girls and women, is forcing flight of hundreds of thousands of Afghan nationals to other parts of the globe. Some of the most high profile evacuations have been of the Afghan Girls Robotics and Girls Soccer teams. There are thousands of harrowing evacuation stories, not all of which have been successful, and countless more at-risk girls and women are still living in uncertainty in Afghanistan. 

In her role as Head of EU Delegation to the G20 Women20 stakeholder interest group, Cheryl Miller, DLI Director, played an instrumental role in delivering a Declaration of Support for Afghan Women and Girls to G20 leaders, including EC President von der Leyen and US President Biden, ahead of a 24 August urgent G7 meeting on Afghanistan. President von der Leyen’s remarks there focused on the plight of Afghan girls and women: “We need to help mostly those who are at immediate risk. And those are women, girls and children, who make up the vast majority of internally displaced people – 80% of the internally displaced people in Afghanistan are women and girls.”

As Afghan refugees attempt to make their way to other countries, they will need support – for evacuating from Afghanistan, arriving to a new location, and in assimilating long-term as economic, political and social actors in their adopted homes. An initiative called Women4Afghanistan was launched by Anne Ravanona and Katharina Miller, EU delegates to the G20/W20, in order to rally support for Afghan girls and women on this path.  More information on how to contribute to this critical work may be found here: 

http://www.women4afghanistan.org/

As Afghan refugees arrive and begin the process of integrating into their new home communities, it will be up to programs like AMIF and the ATHENA project to specifically support Afghan women and their sister refugees from around the world, by delivering on its remit to promote entrepreneurship by women migrants. DLI and the ATHENA partners look forward to the opportunity to support the women and girls of Afghanistan, and women migrants from all over the world, in integrating and achieving financial independence for these most vulnerable. 

DLI Update – Summer 2021

The DLI Board are actively involved in outreach activities with partners and stakeholders around the world that promote ESTEAM* leadership by girls and women. Find out more below about our outreach activities in Summer 2021, including participation at the G20 Italy 2021 Women20 Summit in Rome where the G20 Italy 2021 Women20 Communiqué was delivered with contributions by all delegations including the EU led by Cheryl Miller Van Dÿck. For upcoming activities by DLI and its partners please visit here, and have a look at our calendar for events organised by DLI.

*Entrepreneurship and Art powered by Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics


4 June – “AI and Business” BSBI Café Scientifique (Online): On 4 June, Cheryl Miller Van Dÿck, DLI Founding Director, joined an online panel on the topic of “AI and Business,” as part of the Café Scientifique series hosted by Berlin School of Business and Innovation.


17 June – EU Parliament Workshop “Digital Gender Gap(Online): On 17 June, Cheryl Miller Van Dÿck, DLI Founding Director, spoke at an online workshop on The Digital Gender Gap, addressing the subject of “Access to Funding for Women Entrepreneurs in the Digital Ecosystem,” for Members of European Parliament Committee on Industry, Research & Energy (ITRE) Committee.


23 June – “Impact of the W20 in the Lives of European Women” Panel (Online): Cheryl Miller Van Dÿck, DLI Founding Director, joined a panel discussion, with opening remarks by Vice Presidents of the EU Parliament and European Commission, on the “Impact of the W20 in the Lives of European Women,” hosted by the G20 Women20.


13-15 July – G20 Women20 Italy Summit (Rome & Online): On 13-15 July, 2021 G20 Italy Women20, the women’s stakeholder engagement group to the G20 meetings in Italy, hosted the 2021 Women20 Summit in Rome, Italy. Cheryl Miller Van Dÿck, DLI Founding Director, participated at the Summit as Head of the EU W20 Delegation and Co-chair of the W20 Italy Digital Working Group.


Be sure to visit our Calendar and Outreach Activities page to keep up with DLI events and activities! You can also and sign up for the DLI Newsletter and follow us on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram!

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Cheryl Miller Elected Chair of Women Entrepreneurship Platform

1 June 2021, Brussels, Belgium –  Cheryl Miller Van Dÿck, Director of Brussels-based Digital Leadership Institute, was recently elected at a General Assembly meeting to the role of Chairwoman and President of the Women Entrepreneurship Platform (“WEP”), the pan-European membership organization whose mission is promoting women-led enterprise in Europe with a focus on advocacy, network-building, and knowledge-sharing. Miller Van Dÿck succeeds Grazia Rendo. 

Miller Van Dÿck was a founding WEP member in 2013 and board member of WEP since 2018.  She concurrently holds the position of Head of EU Delegation for the Women20 engagement group to the G20, and is former Chair of the European Centre for Women and Technology in Belgium, and Governing Board Member of the Digital Skill and Jobs Coalition for the European Commission.

As Director of the Digital Leadership Institute, Miller Van Dÿck has long championed women entrepreneurs in Europe particularly in digital fields, and of her new role says, “women-led enterprise is always and everywhere the most dynamic engine for economic growth.” Under her leadership, and with support from a membership representing 10 million women entrepreneurs across Europe, Miller Van Dÿck says “in the coming three years, WEP will prioritize its role as top advocate for a sustainable, green and digital recovery, and transformation in Europe led by women.”