Ada Lovelace Challenge: Championing Women in Tech

On 26 and 27 March 2021, 30 female high school students came together to compete in the Ada Lovelace challenge. Named after the first female coder in history1, the programming competition is organized by students from the École Nationale Supérieure des Sciences Appliquées et de Technologie (ENSSAT) to encourage young women to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers - all fields in which women are traditionally underrepresented.
Due to coronavirus restrictions, students from Rennes and Lannion high schools met in online groups where their challenge was to write the code for a website. Judging the students’ work was a jury made up entirely of female engineers, including Gwenaelle Garrioux, Project Management Office / R&D, at Ekinops.

Inspiring young women
Gwenaelle has long been a champion of promoting diversity in technical science professions and joined the Ada Lovelace Challenge jury on the advice of colleagues who share a similar passion. In her role as judge, she was able to bring her strong engineering and project management experience to the process, as well as nearly 15 years’ experience in the telecoms sector. Ekinops was proud to support Gwenaelle’s participation, and partner with ENSSAT to sponsor the event.
Throughout the competition, the students were given close support and encouragement from the panel of experts to increase confidence and inspire interest in programming. After two days of intense coding, eight remarkable websites had been created, and the jury announced a team of three young women had won the competition with an impressive website.

 Ada Lovelace Challenge ouest francePhoto credit: Ouest France

Building a diverse future
Having participated in similar challenges in her youth, Gwenaelle understands what a positive, profound impact they can have on young women. She is keen to continue supporting events such as the Ada Lovelace Challenge and will lead other diversity-promoting projects in her role at Ekinops.
For Gwenaelle, projects such as these are addressing real issues: "It is important to feel empowered to follow what you love and for young women to see these fields as spaces of opportunity. There are a whole host of fulfilling, exciting and inspiring STEM careers, and I’m passionate about supporting and inspiring more women to take the leap!”
Ekinops is proud to support this challenge and others like it to encourage women to take an interest in STEM subjects and, in turn, promote greater diversity in these fields. With initiatives such as the Ada Lovelace Challenge, we are optimistic the future of telecoms will be built around more inspired, diverse and highly competent teams.

1 Ada Lovelace, a pioneer in computer science, created the first computer program in 1842