Amsterdam, 25 May 2016: Queen Máxima of the Netherlands and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte joined some of the leading women in technology from Europe gathering together in the Netherlands today (25 May) to discuss the diversity issue in the sector. With all companies of the future becoming tech companies, organisers Inspiring Fifty and StartupDelta believe urgent attention is needed to encourage more girls and women to pursue a career in tech.

The event took place at Mauritshuis in The Hague and brought together female role models from across the European technology scene – some of whom recently featured in Inspiring Fifty’s top lists of inspiring role models for 2015 and 2016. Together they debated, shared and gained ideas on how to positively increase the amount and impact of women in technology within Europe, with the ultimate aim of addressing the current gender imbalance in the sector.

The Queen took part in a networking lunch where the women shared with her their views on the topic. Prime Minister Mark Rutte then took part in a question and answer session with the guests.

Other top speakers on the day included Facebook global director of diversity Maxine Williams, Intel VP Strategic Alliances Wearables Sandra Lopez and Little Miss Geek founder and Lady Geek CEO Belinda Parmar.

As part of the event, a video series was also officially launched in which role models – both men and women – are encouraged to film a short video to identify why diversity in tech is important, why the future for women lies in tech, and what they as role models can do to help increase diversity.  The aim is to both showcase key role models in the tech sector, whilst also encouraging these role models to step up and make a public commitment to bringing positive change to the sector. The series was kicked off with a video from StartupDelta special envoy Neelie Kroes.

Kroes said of the goal of the event: “All companies of the future will be tech companies, and it is vital that we work together now to encourage more girls and women to take an interest in technology or quite simply they will be left behind. A career in tech is rewarding and fun and urgent attention is needed to address the diversity in the sector to bring positive change for a future generation. We hope through this event we can come up with new ideas that can make a difference.”

Inspiring Fifty founders Janneke Niessen and Joelle Frijters said: “Inspiring Fifty believes in the power of role models to inspire other women to pursue a career in tech. ‘If she can see it, she can be it.’ The goal of our event is to bring together these brilliant women to discuss just how we can work both individually and collectively to address the diversity issue. We are delighted to have the support of Queen Máxima and Prime Minister Mark Rutte. It demonstrates what an important topic diversity is and we hope to keep it top of the agenda until it hopefully is no longer necessary.”

The event is supported by partners Facebook, Atomico and Improve Digital.

Press coverage:

For photos from the day, please check our Facebook page at /inspiringfifty

Event website including agenda and speaker biogs:

May 23rd, 2016

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