December 5, 2023
As Europe grapples with a widening IT talent shortage, a potential solution looms large on the horizon – tapping into the talents of women to fill this gap. Women in tech, though still disproportionately underrepresented, are a significant resource, especially in tech hubs such as Rotterdam.
Judith Eyck’s evolution from a digital art enthusiast to a business magnate in the e-commerce sector is a tale worth narrating. Starting her journey with a simple Bachelor’s thesis on digital art, she quickly realized the potential of the digital world. This transition led her to Sunweb, one of Europe’s leading travel brands.
However, her true entrepreneurial spark ignited when Joost Romeijn approached her with a proposal to start vakanties.nl. This unexpected turn paved the way for her to co-create one of the Netherlands’ most popular holiday booking platforms. Under her stewardship, vakanties.nl adopted a conversational e-commerce model, leveraging AI to enhance user experience.
Lula’s transition from a newcomer to a beacon of hope in the tech sector showcases the epitome of perseverance and resilience. Beginning her journey amidst challenges faced by many newcomers, Lula carved out a space for herself, becoming an essential pillar of support for others like her at OpenEmbassy and Travis Foundation.
However, Lula’s journey was not devoid of struggles. As depicted in Arte’s documentary on ‘She Matters’, which aired on 27 October 2020, the challenges faced by refugee women in Holland seeking employment opportunities were highlighted.
The documentary titled ‘Re: Lula is hoping for a chance: Job coaching for refugee women in Holland’ followed her journey, shedding light on the hurdles she faced and the determination with which she overcame them.
The turning point came in 2021 when her efforts were recognized by Patagonia, a global brand renowned not only for its products but also for its commitment to sustainability and social causes. The company extended an offer to Lula, recognizing her talent and the vast potential she brought to the table.
In recognizing and hiring Lula, Patagonia didn’t just acquire a professional asset, they also opened doors for organizations like She Matters B.V. This move strengthens the hope for many other talented individuals waiting for their skills to be acknowledged and appreciated.
The story of Lula isn’t just about one individual’s triumph over challenges; it echoes the aspirations of many others like her, waiting for their potential to be recognized and tapped into.
The personal journeys are inspiring, but a broader picture emerges when we delve into statistics. The “Women in Tech 2022 Report: The State of Women’s Representation in Europe” reveals:
Rotterdam, as a microcosm of Europe, reflects these broader trends but also showcases the city’s unique challenges and opportunities for women in tech.
To address these disparities and capitalize on the immense potential of women in tech, several measures can be undertaken:
Rotterdam, with its dynamic tech landscape, is perfectly poised to lead the way in fostering a more inclusive tech environment. By harnessing the potential of women, the city can not only address the looming talent shortage but also enrich the industry with diverse perspectives and innovations.