Impressive Women From the IT Industry – Part 2

Impressive Women From the IT Industry - Part 2

Elina “khaleesi” Eickstädt from the Chaos Computer Club and Kenza Ait Si Abbou from Fiege.

In IT professions, women are still severely underrepresented: In 2021, the proportion of female IT specialists in Germany was a meagre 18 percent. In an international comparison, this puts Germany in 20th place out of 41 OECD and EU countries surveyed.

Strong role models can help to get more girls and young women interested in the tech world. Whether as a manager, cyber activist or AI specialist – six role models show how women can confidently make their way in the male-dominated IT sector.

Elina “khaleesi” Eickstädt: The Hacker

Elina ”khaleesi” Eickstädt

Elina “khaleesi” Eickstädt

She is young, dynamic and determined: Elina "khaleesi" Eickstädt is a hacker, spokesperson for the Chaos Computer Club and has been the coordinator of the "Chatkontrolle STOPPEN!" campaign since 2022, in which she campaigns for the preservation of digital privacy. After dropping out of an economics degree, the net activist trained as a hotel manager, where she saw a need for improvement in the hotel software and discovered her passion for programming. She taught herself the Python programming language, which eventually led her to study computer science at HAW Hamburg.

Despite criticism from her peers, the budding computer scientist did not allow herself to be dissuaded from her path. Today, Eickstädt is one of Germany's up-and-coming IT specialists. When the self-proclaimed hacker is not working on cyber security, databases or network technology, the Hamburg native lifts weights in her free time - she has already won the Hamburg weightlifting championship.

The all-rounder has also been involved in the Science & Technology Initiative as a role model for young women for over five years. She would like to pass on her fascination for the complexity and dynamics of the tech world to other girls and young women, especially if they have not found their way to computer science via the "classic" route: "This male-dominated nerd culture is not the only true one, you can also get through a computer science degree without sitting in front of a computer all day and trying out 50,000 computer games as a teenager."

Kenza Ait Si Abbou: the AI Mastermind


Kenza Ait Si Abbou

Kenza Ait Si Abbou (Source: Hendrik Gergen

Everyone is talking about AI, but she dominates this field like no other: Kenza Ait Si Abbou is a German-Moroccan engineer, electrical engineer and expert in artificial intelligence and robotics. The versatile IT expert has been fascinated by mathematics and science since she was a child. She studied in Spain and Berlin and joined Deutsche Telekom in 2011, where she headed up the women's network from 2012 and worked as Senior Manager for Robotics and Artificial Intelligence until the end of October 2021.

Kenza Ait Si Abbou is passionate about making the topic of artificial intelligence accessible to everyone and taking away their fear of it. She is a Spiegel bestselling author and has already published several books for adults and children on the subject of artificial intelligence. The AI expert speaks seven languages fluently and was named a "transformation thought leader" in 2021 by Handelsblatt and the Boston Consulting Group.

As CTO, Kenza Ait Si Abbou has been responsible for the Digital Services, IT and Data Driven Company divisions of the family-owned company Fiege since the end of 2023. The topics of diversity and balancing family and career also play a major role in her work. For example, the mother of two organizes AI hackathons just for women and is a member of the KIDD Advisory Board (AI in the Service of Diversity): "It was very important for the participants to see that there are other women who are in the field. Many of them really appreciated that. They then networked with each other afterwards. Above all, this atmosphere, this feeling that I am not alone, that was really very nice."