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Exclusive: Ambitieuze Meisjes creates a safe space for young, female professionals

Lotte Rensen founded Ambitieuze Meisjes (Ambitious Girls) because she was missing a place where female, young professionals had the chance to develop networking- and other professional skills. Ambitueze Meisjes is exactly that community: a safe space, where young women can help each other to recognize their talent.

Rensen is involved at The Next Web, as a Supporter or Talent. “I’d like to initiate a change of culture, where women encourage- and give each other opportunities, instead of opposing and competing with each other. In my view, this is one of the key factors that will lead to more women in influential positions.”

“The male seniors seemed overrepresented in the networking drinks I visited; I hardly met young female professionals. Being a woman in a male-dominated industry is always a challenge. However, when you are at the start of your career and you still have to build on your professional self-confidence, this can stop you from profiling yourself”, Rensen states. Ambitieuze Meisjes started fairly small; in 2011 there were 15 ambitious girls. Now, 7 years later, there are more than 35,000 ambitious girls.”

What challenges does the tech- and startup-community face?

“More and more tech-issues are being discussed in our over in the Ambitious Girls community: that is an important first step.

Women should feel at home in tech-issues, should be confident enough to talk about possible solutions and – moreover – should be comfortable enough to ask questions, since that is the best chance to learn. We all should increase the visibility of women in the tech / startup-community; that is a challenge that we can all work on a lot more.

Besides, all women – of color and/or LBT – deserve more space in the spotlight. There is still a lot of work to do to make the tech industry really inclusive.”

What about The Next Web, how does the organization handle this challenge?

“Some time ago I spoke with Boris (Veldhuijzen van Zanten, founder of TNW), about this issue. I’m glad that he, as a captain of industry, is very involved in this challenge and also tries to solve this challenge via The Next Web. As far as I am concerned, TNW has succeeded in this matter this year again!”

What challenges do talented and ambitious girls still have, that do not apply to ambitious boys?

“The number of positions for women at decision making tables is still scarce. If the number of places is limited, you are less likely to help another. If we support each other, that would mean that we (sometimes) have to make room for another. That’s the only way how we can fix this. However, let me be clear, there is room for a nuance. Intuition and the power to connect are very strong feminine qualities, qualities that are becoming increasingly important. The future is female, mark my words ;-)”

Which (female) speakers you don’t want to miss at The Next Web?

“Simone Brummelhuis, Kerrie Finch, and Janneke Niessen are the Grand Ladies of this conference. I know that we share the mission to further advance female talent.”