Digital Nationals Alliance at the European Development Days 2018

Digital National Alliance, together with the Diplomatic Institute to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs organised a lab debate "Digital skills - a girl's superpower" at the headline annual event for development - European Development Days. Every year the forum is bringing the development community, as well as heads EU institutions, and UN top-level representatives.

DNA hosted a debate focused on three key topics: how to keep girls at the age 13-14 motivated to code; how to address gender gap in ICT higher education; how to motivate women leaders in ICT business?

Speakers at the event were Martina Koleva, participant and organizer ot Rails Girls Sofia and CoderDojo, Dita Prikrylova, founder of the Czech initiative - Czechitas, Juan Navas Sabbater, representative of the World Bank and Afke Schaart, vice-president of GSMA Europe.

The debate was moderater by the Digital Champion of Belgium - Saskia van Uffelen and opened by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affais of Bulgaria Yuri Sterk, who presented the governmental efforts on one of the EU Bulgarian Presidency priorities - Digital Economy.

Bulgaria was presented as one of the top countries with unsignificant gender gaps in the ICT sector, which tops the statistics for women's involvement in the ICT. 19-year old Adelina Krasimirova from Vratsa, gave an example of opportunities for women and girls to develop digital skills in the poorest region in the EU - Northwest Bulgaria.

The Czech initiative Czechitas is helping hundreds of women to be trained and acquire digital skills. And projects are being implemented in the Western Balkans, with the support of the World Bank.

Speakers and audience concluded that a lot is being done in the field, but efforts must continue as Eurostat data shows only 9% of developers in the EU are women.