Today, Booking.com, one of the world’s largest online travel companies and a digital technology leader, announced the finalists of the 2020 Booking.com Technology Playmaker Awards. In its third year, the awards recognize and celebrate women who are transforming businesses, industries, and communities through technology and inspiring the next generation of female tech leaders. Among the inventive tech minds shaping business and society today, this year’s finalists include a software developer leading a ‘coding caravan’ that teaches programming to girls in Kyrgyzstan; the founder of an online educational platform that promotes financial inclusion among girls and women in Argentina; and an organization that aims to coordinate the international tech community’s response to the needs of refugees, asylum seekers and displaced people.
This year’s shortlist consists of 45 finalists across nine categories, representing 20 countries including Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Japan, Israel, India, Nigeria, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. Recognized as current or up-and-coming trailblazers in technology, each finalist was selected for their pioneering advancements in technology, disruptive use of technology for business and society, or unwavering commitment to pushing the diversity agenda. Collectively, their contributions range from technology innovations in MedTech and female health, renewal energy, fintech and digital payments, to creating opportunities for women tech entrepreneurs and women-impact startups, and elevating the discussion surrounding diversity and inclusion in tech to new levels.
Launched in 2017, the awards recognize and celebrate women who are transforming businesses, industries and communities through the innovative use of technology, while inspiring the next generation of tech leaders. The awards also honor champions of change who are challenging the status quo to help make the tech industry more welcoming, diverse and inclusive.
“Each of this year’s Technology Playmaker Award finalists has demonstrated outstanding achievements in technology, whether through innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit, business leadership and community impact, mentorship and inspiration for the next generation, or the pursuit of greater inclusivity. Whether from emerging economies or more established tech epicenters, these women technologists and advocates for diversity, are joined together by a remarkable talent and optimism for what the future of the tech sector will bring,” said Gillian Tans, Chairwoman of Booking.com.
The full list of finalists can be found on the Technology Playmaker Awards website.
Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on Thursday, March 26, 2020 in London, UK. The nine distinct award categories were designed to recognize the weight and breadth of the contributions that women are making across the technology sector. Each category winner will receive a prize of €5,000, which they can opt to donate to a chosen charity or cause. The Technology Playmaker of the Year 2020 will be selected from one of the eight eligible individual category winners and will receive an additional €10,000 prize.
The keynote speaker at the award ceremony will be Rana el Kaliouby, pioneer in artificial emotional intelligence (Emotion AI), co-founder and CEO of MIT spinoff and category-defining company Affectiva, and author of the forthcoming book, Girl Decoded. Attendees will also hear from Booking.com Chairwoman Gillian Tans and the Technology Playmaker of the Year 2019, Linda Liukas, founder of Rails Girls, a global movement teaching girls to program.
“I’m excited to be part of Booking.com’s celebration of women who passionately bring their ambition and talent to tech every day, but may often go unnoticed. Initiatives like the Booking.com Technology Playmaker Awards not only encourage more women to join tech and STEM, but also empower those who are already in the field to flourish and reach their full potential, and add the richness and diversity of perspectives that our industry needs,” said el Kaliouby.
Winners will be chosen by an esteemed 14-member judging panel comprised of global technology executives, entrepreneurs, founders and leading advocates of diversity and inclusion. The panel includes Sheree Atcheson, Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Monzo; Kimberly Bryant, Founder and CEO of Black Girls CODE; Ruth Chandler, Chief People Officer at Skyscanner; and Julien Codorniou, Vice President of Workplace from Facebook as well as Gillian Tans.
“We introduced this awards program to highlight the achievements of women in technology and celebrate the diversity of talent across the industry with the hope that it will inspire more to pursue a career in tech. We are proud of our progress, but also aware that more work needs to be done to create a more welcoming environment in tech for everyone,” continued Tans. “Global research by Booking.com reveals that one in five women working in tech feels that her contributions are under-appreciated, marking a clear obstacle to reaching true gender parity. We need to continue to challenge existing culture, processes and mindsets if we are to further diversify the technology industry and make it a more appealing and inclusive space for people of all kinds to thrive.”
Beyond the award categories celebrating women’s achievements in various aspects of technology, this year the Champion of Change category honors an individual (everyone, not just women) who is tackling the under-representation of women or promoting greater diversity and inclusion within the IT and technology workforce.