InspiringFifty Belgium puts spotlight on fifty female role models in tech

Nonprofit organization wants more gender diversity at the top

Antwerp, March 8 - InspiringFifty Belgium, the non-profit organization that strives for more women in (management) positions in the Belgian technology sector, is looking for fifty female role models for the second time. CEOs and founders of tech companies, or CTOs and CIOs of larger organizations are eligible. Starting today, on International Women's Day, anyone can use the webpage to nominate themselves or a leading tech lady whom they think should be on the list. On October 6, the jury, consisting of Françoise Chombar (Melexis), Marion Debruyne (Vlerick Business School) and Thierry Geerts (Google) among others, will announce the InspiringFifty 2022 during a festive event

Studies (1) show that 86 percent of top managers of listed companies in Belgium are male. Among CEOs, the figure is unfortunately as high as 97 percent! InspiringFifty Belgium aims to boost diversity in Belgian tech companies by making female role models more visible, and breaking stereotypes and biases. Every two years, therefore, the organization maps out the women in tech in Belgium, regardless of education, experience or size of the company in which they work. Moreover, the organization aims to convince women across all sectors that they can build successful careers in tech even without a STEM background. 

Elke Kraemer, founder of InspiringFifty Belgium: "We want to eliminate the stereotypes that are prevalent among people and ensure that they consciously involve women when new management positions are filled. The image that as a woman you cannot be an executive, or that it is more difficult, must be challenged and fixed. Women, with their knowledge and/or (soft) skills, are a much-needed addition to the typical IT profiles. And even without a STEM background, they can build successful careers in tech."
Elke Kraemer, founder of Clusity and InspiringFifty Belgium
Elke Kraemer, founder of Clusity and InspiringFifty Belgium
"Several studies show that diversity only brings benefits to a company. Particularly in tech companies where the necessary innovation should go hand in hand with diversity," adds Elke Kraemer.

200 nominations

InspiringFifty is looking for more than 200 nominations for female tech role models this year. The organization is therefore calling for women in your company or environment, to nominate en masse via https://belgium.inspiringfifty.org/nominations-2022. Registration is open until May 31 2022.

Ann Caluwaerts, Executive Vice President at Telenet and member of the jury of InspiringFifty Belgium: "The tech sector is bursting with diverse talent. Yet even as the war on talent rages, companies still too often focus on the same profiles. Not only does this not help us move forward, it deprives the industry of new blood and oxygen. Oxygen that is much needed to optimally drive growth and innovation. InspiringFifty highlights the power of female role models in tech to bring about positive change. By additionally focusing on an inclusive company culture where everyone feels at home, we can also offer diverse talent the optimal breeding ground." 
Ann Caluwaerts, Executive Vice President at Telenet ​
and member of the jury of InspiringFifty Belgium
Ann Caluwaerts, Executive Vice President at Telenet ​
and member of the jury of InspiringFifty Belgium

InspiringFifty Belgium was founded on an existing model by Elke Kraemer, founder of Clusity within De Cronos Groep, and tech entrepreneur and investor Joëlle Frijters. With InspiringFifty, they offer women a network of like-minded people, organize training and take initiatives to increase the number of women in tech. To this end, the organization works with Agoria, VUB and ULB, among others. Companies can also turn to InspiringFifty for advice in their search for suitable female candidates for C-level positions. 

Anita Van Looveren, CEO OMP, nominee InspiringFifty 2020: "I've never seen myself as a role model. Still, it's quite an honor to be part of InspiringFifty, a group of inspiring women in technology. Indeed, this initiative is entirely in line with OMP's recruitment and promotion policy. We don't look at gender, we look at talents. That fits in with our commitment to personal development and diversity."
Isabel Van Mele, CIO KBC Group, nominee InspiringFifty 2020: "Being nominated for InspiringFifty made me and my team proud and gave us an energy boost. At the same time, it inspired me to keep growing and challenging myself. As a CIO at KBC, I now have even more opportunities to develop my talents, to support people to grow and flourish in a culture of open dialogue, to build an inclusive international team, to encourage leadership,... to be a coach and role model."

Agenda InspiringFifty Belgium 2022

  • March 8: campaign launch
  • May 31: end of registrations
  • October 6: Official announcement InspiringFifty 2022

Key figures InspiringFifty Belgium

  • InspiringFifty Belgium was founded in 2019 
  • Inspirators Belgium: Joelle Frijters and Elke Kraemer 
  • Jury 2022: 
    • Loubna Azghoud, Lead 'we are founders program' at BeCentral
    • Marc Bresseel, Founder of Duval Union
    • Ann Caluwaerts, EVP People, Brand & Corporate Affairs at Telenet & Board Imec
    • Françoise Chombar, Chairwoman at Melexis
    • Marion Debruyne, Dean of Vlerick Business School
    • Saar Dietvorst, CEO & Director Of Public Relations of manley 
    • Thierry Geerts, Country Director at Google Belgium & Author of 'Digitalis' & 'Homo digitalis'
    • Elke Jeurissen, Inclusive Leadership Expert & Founder Fierce Ladies
    • Pascale Van Damme, Vice President EMEA VMware (Dell Technologies)
    • Saskia Van Uffelen, Digital Champion Belgium 
  • InspiringFifty is part of the organization EQL:HER, which seeks to improve diversity in tech by making female role models more visible. 
  • The InspiringFifty program (worldwide) was established in 2013. Today, the organization operates in Belgium, Canada, DACH (Germany, Austria, Switzerland), France, Italy, Netherlands, Scandinavia, United Kingdom and South Africa.
  • List InspiringFifty Belgium 2020
  1. https://www.tijd.be/ondernemen/algemeen/de-directiekamer-blijft-een-blanke-mannenclub-maar-wat-doe-je-daaraan/10336113.html 

About InspiringFifty Belgium
InspiringFifty Belgium aims to give inspiring women in the Belgian tech industry visibility and recognition. The organization does this by publishing every two years a list of the 50 most inspiring Belgian tech women of the moment. InspiringFifty also provides women with a network of like-minded people, organizes training and takes initiatives to increase the number of women in tech. To this end, the organization works with Agoria, VUB and ULB, among others. Companies can also turn to InspiringFifty for advice in their search for suitable female candidates for C-level positions. The network was founded in 2019 on an existing model by Elke Kraemer, founder Clusity within De Cronos Groep, and tech entrepreneur and investor Joëlle Frijters. InspiringFifty is part of the EQL:HER network, which brings together global entrepreneurs, CEOs and thought leaders to spark discussion and collaboration. 

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