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Inspiring the next generation of women in tech:

The role of Ella the Engineer in bridging the gender gap

As our world becomes increasingly driven by technology, it's more important than ever for young people to develop strong STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) skills to succeed in their future professions. Unfortunately, despite the growing demand for STEM professionals, there's still a significant gender gap in these fields, with girls often feeling discouraged from pursuing related careers. That's why role models like Ella the Engineer are so important. Ella's story shows young girls that they too can excel in STEM, specifically in cyber, and pursue fulfilling careers that make a real difference in the world. By providing inspiration and encouragement, Ella is helping to break down barriers and empower the next generation of innovators and leaders.

The Big Hack


The Big Hack is a comic book that showcases the world through the eyes of a young girl named Ella and puts a spotlight on the importance of cyber security in today's digital society. It is crucial to create awareness among children and youngsters, as they must be able to detect and respond to cyber risks. Ella uses her engineering skills and the help of our Director Cyber Governance Veerle to solve problems and create innovative solutions that protect the integrity of computer systems from malicious cyber-attacks.

The story inspires children to think creatively and see that anyone can become a cyber security expert, regardless of gender or background. It features diverse characters that promote the value of inclusivity in STEM education and careers. The comic book serves as a source of inspiration for young girls interested in pursuing STEM fields, showing them the exciting possibilities that exist. Through the eyes of Ella, The Big Hack helps to break down gender stereotypes and encourages diversity in STEM, serving as a powerful tool for promoting the potential of women in cyber security and helping to build a more secure and inclusive future.


Bridging the gender gap


Belgium still faces a significant gender gap in STEM education and careers. Eurostat data from 2020 shows that only a quarter of women aged 20 to 29 in Belgium have pursued tertiary education in science, mathematics, or computing, compared to 43% of men in the same age group. Women also represent only 29% of the total workforce in science and engineering occupations. The percentage of women employed in ICT occupations specifically was only 22.5%, which is lower than the EU average of 25.6%. Furthermore, the percentage of women among ICT graduates was even lower, at only 17.1%, compared to the EU average of 21.2%. These figures demonstrate the gender gap that still exists in STEM-related fields in Belgium, including those related to cyber.

Encouraging girls to pursue STEM education and careers from a young age is thus crucial, as by high school, many girls have already developed negative perceptions of these fields and they may have already closed themselves off to the possibilities that STEM careers can offer. Initiatives such as Ella the Engineer play an important role in inspiring young girls to explore the world of engineering and technology. By promoting gender diversity and inclusion in STEM fields, Ella can help create a more innovative and equitable workforce for the future.


Representation is everything


The Ella project was created to inspire girls to pursue careers in cyber security by providing them with a relatable and inspiring role model: a hero with a passion for STEM and entrepreneurship. With cyber-attacks becoming increasingly large and damaging, the need for cyber security experts has never been greater. By showcasing the exciting possibilities and opportunities in cyber security through positive female role models like Ella and Veerle, we can encourage more girls to pursue this critical field.

Representation matters greatly when it comes to encouraging girls in STEM education. According to a survey by Microsoft, girls who know a woman in a STEM career are more likely to believe that they can have a successful career in STEM themselves. Providing positive female role models and highlighting the achievements of women can help girls see the possibilities and opportunities in these fields and build confidence in their own abilities. By promoting diversity and representation in STEM education and careers, we can create a more inclusive and equitable society and inspire the next generation of IT professionals, scientists, engineers, and innovators.


The role of Deloitte


At Deloitte, we are fortunate to have many talented female role models in the field of cyber security, and we are committed to supporting and promoting diversity and inclusion in this critical area. Through this project, we provide resources and support to help youngsters succeed in this crucial field. By introducing positive role models like Ella and Veerle, we hope to inspire and empower the next generation of cyber security experts and build a more secure, innovative, and inclusive future for all.

Ella, the Cyberhero

Ella is the face of an engaging and interactive learning campaign about cybersecurity, providing students between the ages of 10 – 12 with the right tools to increase awareness about safely navigating the internet.