DLI Update – September-October 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.  This month, DLI was selected as one of the Best 100 Startups in Belgium, and DLI team members joined Digital First on 19 October to celebrate.  Also, as part of DLI activities supported by the Digital Belgium Skills Fund, on 25 October in Brussels we launched Digital Brusselles, Europe’s first female tech incubator.  See the article about our recognition here and a video about the Digital Brussels launch below.

*Entrepreneurship & Arts powered by Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics


6 September – Women in Tech.Brussels Breakfast (Brussels): On 6 September, Ms. Katja Legisa, Digital Brusselles Director, joined a Women in Tech.Brussels breakfast meeting to contribute to coordinating upcoming initiatives that promote women in technology in Brussels.


13 September – EIB Gender Action Plan Expert Engagement Meeting (Brussels): On 13 September in Brussels, Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founder, contributed to an expert meeting on the Gender Action Plan of the European Investment Bank.


15 September – Creative Ring Brussels “Women in Innovation” Meeting (Brussels): On 15 September at the BOZAR Lab in Brussels, Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founder, contributed to a Creative Ring meeting on the topic of Women in Innovation.


19 September – Women in Business.Brussels Platform Meeting (Brussels): Ms. Katja Legisa, Digital Brusselles Director, and Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founder, joined the 19 September meeting of the Brussels Women in Business platform.


26 September – WISE4ALL Launch Event: Women Contributing to Innovation (Brussels): On 26 September, Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founder,  joined the WISE4ALL launch event at the European Parliament, in collaboration of MEP Pina Picierno and with support from the S&D Group, as part of a pan-European consortium promoting diversity in innovation. On the same occasion, Ms. Miller contributed to a round-table on Digital Manufacturing and New Innovation Processes.


28 September – First Meeting of the Governing Board of the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition (Brussels): Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founder,  joined the meeting of the first Governing Board of the European Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition on 28 September at the European Commission in Brussels. Ms. Miller was recently selected to the inaugural 12-member governing body of the DSJC.


4 October – Grand Opening of BeCentral (Brussels): On 4 October in Brussels, the DLI Team will join the grand opening of BeCentral, a community space in the heart of Brussels dedicated to closing the digital skills gap and accelerating Belgium’s digital transformation.


9 October – Women Code Festival 2017 Launch (Brussels): On 9 October at Co.Station in Brussels, Ms. Katja Legisa, Digital Brusselles Director, will contribute to a panel discussion as part of the launch of Brussel’s first-ever Women Code Festival.


19 October – Digital First 2017 (Brussels)DLI was selected among the Best 100 Startups in Belgium in 2017 by a jury organised by media company Digimedia. Ms. Valentina Calà, DLI Digital Creative Officer, and Ms. Katrien Geraedts, DLI Marketing & Communications Manager, were on hand at Digital First 2017 on 19 October, at Tour & Taxis  in Brussels, to celebrate.


11 October – InnovIris Women in STEM Panel (Brussels): As part of the Brussels Women Code Festival and European Code Week, on 11 October Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founder, will provide a keynote presentation on Digital Brusselles: The Heart of Inclusive Transformation and contribute to a Women in STEM panel organised by InnovIris, the Brussels agency for scientific research.


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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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.”

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.

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.

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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

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