DLI Update – May-June 2016

Spring has sprung right into summer, and although the weather may not reflect it, the crush of activities in Brussels has made it clear that the yearly exodus to warmer climes is imminent. Besides carrying out several awesome hands-on events around digital skills for girls and women, in this timeframe, DLI also launched the Digital Leadership Academy on 21 June with a seminar on “the Cloud” with Amazon Web Services, organised in the context of the first-ever Digital Festival in Brussels.

At GE‘s 14 June Minds+Machines event in Paris, DLI Cofounder, Ms. Cheryl Miller, also had the unique opportunity to interview Miss Niamh Scanlon (13 years old from Ireland), who is our Ada Awards 2016 European Digital Girl of the Year.  Check out the conversation they enjoyed here — and be sure to watch till the end to hear Niamh’s insightful advice for digital industry leaders!

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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 May and June 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


womenandtechgoogle3 May – Google “Women and Technology” Event (Brussels): On 3 May, Ms. Rosanna Kurrer, DLI Cofounder,  organised a hands-on workshop on “Android Coding with MIT App Inventor” for girls, and Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Coounder,  contributed to a high-level panel discussion at an event on “Women and Tech” organised by Google and Politico in Brussels.


bxlsmartcity3 May – Brussels Smart City (Brussels): On 3 May, DLI Cofounder, Ms. Cheryl Miller gave a keynote intervention on the subject of “Smart Citizens Make Smart Cities” as part of the Brussels Region “Brussels Smart City” event, organised under the auspices of Ms. Bianca Debaets, State Secretary of the Brussels Capital Region responsible for Digital Transition.


makerstown24 May – Makerstown (Brussels): On 24 May, Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Cofounder, spoke on the topic of “We Can Make It: Women Entrepreneurship,” as part of the first-ever Makerstown event in Brussels.


inspiringfifty25 May – Inspiring Perspectives (The Hague & Amsterdam): Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Cofounder, joined Inspiring Perspectives, a high-level event attended by her Majesty Queen Maxima of Holland and Mr. Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands, recognising top women in technology from around the world. The event was organised by InspiringFifty and StartupDelta special envoy Ms. Neelie Kroes, former Vice President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda.


smeepp2 June – Female Entrepreneurs and Digital Business (Brussels): On 2 June, Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Cofounder, contributed to an expert panel on “Female Entrepreneurs and Digital Business,” for SME Europe of the EPP in Brussels.


ge14 June – GE Minds and Machines (Paris): On 13 and 14 June,   Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Cofounder, joined the inauguration of the GE Digital Foundry and contributed to “Minds + Machines Europe 2016” with an interview of Miss Niamh Scanlon (13 years old from Ireland), the DLI Ada Awards 2016 European Digital Girl of the Year!


ey15 June – EY: Women. Fast forward Global Planning Session (Paris): On 15 June, DLI Cofounder, Ms. Cheryl Miller, contributed to a global planning session on harnessing digital disruption to promote leadership by women, at EY headquarters in Paris.


digitalfestivallogo221 June – Digital Festival 2016 (Brussels): Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Cofounder, joined the opening plenary panel of the first-ever Digital Festival in Brussels on 21 June, at which DLI also organized two official side-events:

  1. Digital Leadership Seminar on “The Cloud” with Amazon Web Services – for women decision-makers by invitation; and
  2. Coding for Young People Expert Roundtable and Android Coding Workshop with Ms. Rosanna Kurrer, DLI Cofounder.

youthspeak27 June – AIESEC Youth Speak Forum (Brussels): On 27 June, Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founder, delivered a keynote presentation on the gender gap in technology sectors, and she and the DLI team facilitate a workshop on building educational programs to address this gap, as part of the AIESEC Youth Speak Forum in Brussels.


28 June – Women and the New Economy: The Future of Work (Brussels): Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founder, contributed to a panel on “Women and the New Economy” as part of a conference organized by the Gender Equality Committee of European Commission trainees, on 28 June in Brussels.


dsi4eu29 June – CAPS Policy Workshop on Digital Social Innovation (Brussels): Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founder,  joined a panel on “digital social innovation” as part of a Collective Awareness Platform Workshop at the European Commission on 29 June in Brussels.


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

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Girl Tech Fest Brussels

On 30 April at European School IV in Brussels, 250 girls from thirty-three schools across Belgium celebrated International Girls in ICT Day 2016 by participating in Belgium’s first-ever Digital MuseGirl Tech Fest,” an all-day event promoting digital and creative skills to girls aged 11 to 15. The first Girl Tech Fest was carried out in Dutch, French and English and organized by the Digital Leadership Institute with support from Google, IBM, Amazon Web Services, Cisco, Dell and the ULB. The event involved over 100 volunteers who organised more than forty workshops and twenty Digital Muse Lab activities that showcased high-tech gadgets and activities like Cooking with Watson, Google Cardboard, and Smartgurlz Drones designed, powered and modeled after girls.

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Participants also took advantage of hands-on workshops teaching such skills as how to “Lead Like a Girl” and “Write in Wikipedia,” and they got to design and build their own gadgets like computer-powered legos and 3D holograms. The first-ever Girl Tech Fest also featured inspiring talks by role models from GTF partners, as well as former European Digital Girls of the Year, Miss Lune Van Ewijk and Miss Manon Van Hoorebeke. Ms. Lorena Boix Alonso of the European Commission and Ms. Saskia Van Uffelen, Digital Champion for Belgium were also guests of honour.

DM1 ArtOn the occasion of the first Girl Tech Fest, the Digital Leadership Institute also released its first music compilation, Digital Muse One – DM1, featuring top women electronic musicians from the past and present. Ms. Maya Postepski, aka Princess Century, who composed a DM1 track called “California,” also delivered an inspiring talk at the Girl Tech Fest, organized several workshops on “digital music composition” and had several girls to join her in DJ-ing at a GTF disco during the lunch break.

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The closing GTF plenary showcased amazing digital creations of the day for which the girls themselves were responsible, including an original Digital Muse letter font, digital music compositions, and high-tech fashion designs. Prizes were given to outstanding digital muses who inspired their fellow participants during the day with insight, helpfulness, and general enthusiasm about the event and their fellow digital muses.

By all measures, the inaugural Girl Tech Fest Brussels was an unqualified success, and DLI is grateful to all its partners, volunteers and sponsors for the hard work, commitment and love with which this amazing event was delivered. In the meantime, the feedback from the school was so great that we have already been invited back next year– but this time with twice as many participants! 😮

Better start getting ready for 29 April 2017 when we will kick off Girl Tech Fest Brussels 2017!!! 🙂

If you or or your organisation would like to support future editions of the Digital Muse Girl Tech Fest in Brussels or elsewhere — with expert-led workshops, sponsorship, promotional consideration, media coverage, technical infrastructure or onsite volunteers — please contact us.

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Girl Tech Fest Brussels 2016

In celebration of International Girls in ICT Day 2016, on 30 April in Brussels the Digital Leadership Institute will launch the first-ever Digital MuseGirl Tech Fest” — an all-day event promoting digital and creative skills to 11-15 year old girls from the greater Brussels region. Supported by top technology companies, youth networks, and public and private partners in Belgium and Europe, GTF aims to increase participation of girls in ESTEAM* studies and careers through hands-on workshops at the intersection of creative and digital endeavor.

Digital Muse Girl Tech Fest:  The first-ever Girl Tech Fest will showcase inspiring women role models in tech, a Digital Muse Lab where girls can experiment with the latest high-tech gadgets, and dozens of hands-on workshops promoting digital skills and creativity with subjects like “The Future of Fashion,” “Digital Music Composition,” and “Building Smarter SmartPhone Apps.”

DM1 Art

Digital Muse One – Music Compilation Release:  On the occasion of the Girl Tech Fest, the Digital Leadership Institute will also release its first compilation album, “Digital Muse One – DM1,” featuring top women electronic musicians from the past and present.  Album artists will join the Girl Tech Fest as speakers and workshop leaders, and will perform at the DM1 Release party and GTF after-party to be held the evening of 30 April at a central Brussels location.  Proceeds from the DM1 release event and sale of the album will benefit this and future Digital Muse activities.

If you or or your organisation would like to support the Digital Muse Girl Tech Fest — with expert-led workshops, sponsorship, promotional consideration, media coverage, technical infrastructure or onsite volunteers, please contact us.  We are looking forward to launching this world-first for International Girls in ICT Day in Brussels on 30 April 2016 with you!

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

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2015 European Ada Award-winners

On 14 December in Luxembourg, the Digital Leadership Institute and its partners – the Council for European Professional Informatics Societies, DIGITALEUROPE, the European Centre for Women and Technology, and European SchoolNetannounced winners of the 2015 European Ada Awards, recognising outstanding girls and women in digital studies and careers in Europe, and the organisations who support them.  The 2015 Ada Awards ceremony took place at the opening for a high-level eskills and entrepreneurship event as part of the Luxembourg presidency of the Council of the European Union.

2015 European Ada Award winners and finalists were recognised in the following categories:

NiamhScanlonWinner – 13 years old:  Niamh from Ireland

Niamh, 13, learned to code at CoderDojo when she was nine and she loves to build websites and apps that help people. When she was 11 she developed an award-winning app to help the drivers of electric cars. For three years Niamh has mentored at CoderDojo in Dublin City University, where she helps other young people – and particularly girls – to learn how to create with technology. She is a member of the Digital Youth Council in Ireland and she would like to see more coding and technology taught in schools.

YasminWinner – 14 years old:  Yasmin from England

Yasmin is a fourteen year old who has been programming for six years. She regularly builds projects with the Raspberry Pi computer, and volunteers to run workshops for young people to learn how to code using the Pi. As well as this, she runs a programming club during her school lunch breaks for younger pupils, to hopefully increase the uptake of Computer Science at her school.

Winner:  Janneke Niessen, Improve Digital, from the NetherlandsFoto janneke niessen

Janneke is a female serial technology entrepreneur who, next to her role of Chief Innovation Officer at Improve Digital, also makes big efforts to help other entrepreneurs and is a strong advocate for women in tech. She is mentor for startups, angel investor and regularly speaks at events to share her experience in building a high-growth international technology company. She is co-initiator of Inspiring Fifty, that makes female role models in technology more visible. She recently published a novel for young girls (10-14) to create a role model for them and show them how great and fun technology is and how many possibilities it offers.

First Runner-Up:  Monique Morrow, Cisco, from SwitzerlandMonique Morrow

Monique Morrow is the Chief Technology Officer for New Frontiers at Cisco that uniquely focuses on empowering women through the intersection of research, economics and technology execution.  Her current focus is spearheading an Internet of Women movement as an opportunity for women worldwide to collectively shape the future of the Internet powered by a SHE (Supercritical Human Elevated) technology platform.

Second Runner-Up:  Nicole Wajer, Cisco, from the NetherlandsNWajer

In her work, Nicole supports account teams and partners that need her technical expertise.  She is passionate about the Internet of Things (IoT), IPv6 and Security, and is currently playing with new technology e.g Sensors in her own home.  Nicole is a Champion of Change for her passionate work in the Industrial Automation space, and is a frequent blogger and attendee at the four annual Dutch Hacker Conferences.

vhtograbWinner:  VHTO, The Netherlands:
VHTO, the Dutch national expert organisation on girls/women and science/technology, makes an effort in many different ways to increase the involvement of women and girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Every year VHTO organises the Dutch Girlsday together with 300 IT and technical companies. In 2015, 9,525 girls participated! To increase the participation of girls in Computer Science specifically, VHTO created the Digivita program for girls (age 8-18) which took place in in six cities in 2014, and carried out the Digivita Summer Camp in 2015. In 2014 VHTO reached 55,210 Dutch children through projects in primary and secondary education.

TravisFoundation-1 Runner-Up:  Travis FoundationRailsgirls Summer of Code, Germany: 

Travis Foundation runs Rails Girls Summer of Code for the third year in a row now – providing stipends for women all over the world to work on Open Source projects. The grassroots initiative is a hands-on solution for the problem of women being underrepresented in Open Source and Tech in general. With Rails Girls Summer of Code we are not only changing women’s careers, diversifying Tech Communities and building safer environments for women in Tech – we are also creating the much-needed role models in IT, so that future generations can follow suit.

Congratulations to all the 2015 European Ada Awards nominees, finalists and winners in every category, and thank you to our Award Partners and supporters of the 2015 European Ada AwardsAmazon Web Services, Facebook, Google, HP and SAP!  Please contact us with questions or inquiries on how to  support the Ada Awards and the larger mission of the Digital Leadership Institute.

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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 Launches 2015 EU Ada Awards

On 23 April 2015, at our fifth annual celebration of International Girls in ICT Day, the Digital Leadership Institute and its partners – the Council of European Professional Informatics Societies, DIGITALEUROPE, European Centre for Women and Technology, and European Schoolnet – launched the third edition of the European Ada Awards recognising outstanding girls and women in digital studies and careers in Europe, and the organisations who support them.

The opening ceremony for the 2015 European Ada Awards featured lightening talks by inspiring Digital Leaders including girls and women in tech from across Europe, past & current Ada Award-winners, and supporters of the Awards, including:

Ada Awards

The launch of the new DLI digital innovation centre for girls and women included opening online nominations for the 2015 European Ada Awards in the following categories:


International Girls in ICT Day 2015:

The 2015 European Ada Awards Launch was part of an all-day Digital Leadership Institute celebration of International Girls in ICT Day 2015 that includes the following activities:

17:00-19:00 – g-Hive workshop on “Girls & The Future Internet”: A hands-on workshop for girls*, ages 13-17, to promote active participation and leadership by girls in designing and building the Internet of tomorrow, for fun, safety and wellbeing.

19:00-20:00 – 2015 European Ada Awards Launch & “Inspiring Digital Leaders” Talks, hosted by Ms. Cheryl Miller, DLI Founder & Executive Director.

20:00-22:00 – inQube workshop “Quantify Everything”: Third workshop in the Spring 2015 “Build A Kick&ss Online Presence” series for women* by Ms. Selma Franssen, DLI Communications Director & inQube Community Manager.

*Anyone who identifies as a girl or woman.

All DLI “Girls in ICT Day” and European Ada Awards events were an official part of the 2015 e-Skills for Jobs Campaign.

Volunteering, Donations & Sponsorship:

If you or your organisation is interested in partnering, volunteering, sponsoring girls & women to participate in DLI activities, or would like to support DLI and its mission in other ways, please contact us. Donations to DLI are gratefully accepted and go toward furthering its mission of bridging the gender gap and the digital divide worldwide.

Thank you to our 2014-2015 Ada Award Partners & Sponsors!