Aoibheann Mangan wins ‘One to Watch’ award at Everywoman tech event

5 Mar 2020

Aoibheann Mangan on stage at Inspirefest 2018. Image: Conor McCabe Photography

Aoibheann Mangan, a rising star in Irish coding, has been named the joint winner of the ‘One to Watch’ award at a major STEM event.

Ahead of International Women’s Day, the annual Everywoman in Technology Awards were held in London last night (4 March) to celebrate inspiring and talented women shaping the future of tech in the UK and globally.

One of the notable winners last night from an Irish perspective was 13-year-old Claremorris student Aoibheann Mangan, who was named a joint winner of the ‘One to Watch’ award. She shared the award with Avye Couloute, a student at Surbiton High School in London.

Mangan is a rising star in Irish tech. She is heavily involved in the work of the coding education group CoderDojo and mentors more than 50 children weekly, 60pc of whom are girls.

‘Multi award-winning tech superstar’

The organisers of the event said that this was the first time that two people were to share the One to Watch award, noting they were “left speechless” by all the finalists. Speaking of Mangan, they described her as a “multi award-winning tech superstar”.

Mangan is also an advocate for rural broadband, having made headlines at Inspirefest 2019 for challenging Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, TD, for what she saw as a lack of rural support from the Government.

At the time, she said she had to go to a local Tesco car park to access Wi-Fi: “It’s not fair that people in Dublin get access to everything because they can get it on the internet. Everyone should have those opportunities.”

She was also a speaker at Inspirefest 2018 where she spoke of the need for young girls to have role models in their lives.

Encouraging change and diversity in tech

This is not Mangan’s first award, having previously set up a farming safety website for kids with her friend Padraic Godwin, which earned them such prestigious accolades as Pride of Ireland, People of the Year and Eir Junior Spider awards.

She was also named Digital Girl of the Year in the 11 to 14-year-old category in 2017, alongside three other Irish girls.

Couloute, who shared last night’s prize with Mangan, was celebrated as someone who has helped create opportunities for young people, especially girls, to access and consider STEM activities, education and careers.

She leads a monthly coding and physical computing workshop and was also involved in a panel discussion at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, highlighting her work to encourage female participation in STEM.

Speaking about all the winners at the Everywoman event, its co-founder, Maxine Benson, said: “A shortage of female role models has been cited as one of the main reasons why young women aren’t drawn to careers in technology, which is why we believe the success stories of our winners will play a vital role in encouraging  change and diversity within the industry.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic