Women in the Tech Industry

Ann Peeters
Project leader at Agoria

How conscious do you think the tech industry in Belgium is about gender equality and how is Agoria supporting this goal's progress through its services?

Agoria has just finished its first sustainable roadmap, Technology for a better world, and one of the 12 impact domains is diversity. By diversity, we of course mean more than just gender equality, but we make a strong case that if we can achieve a positive impact on gender equality in the technology industry, we will also be able to achieve this for the other topics. As a sector we cannot look beyond the figures, the differences are huge. But the task is not easy. For example, we participate in programmes to get more young girls to choose a technical track, we ensure the presence of women on panels and we put top women in the spotlight because role models are important.  Finally, I can also say that we see companies actively working on gender equality in recruitment and promotion. Agoria works & supports on all fronts to achieve the objective.

Consumers and investors worldwide are more aware of the importance of ESG standards and also creating an ESG culture. How are you supporting your clients to adapt to this new reality as a consultancy company?

Agoria has been supporting its members for years. It is now becoming more formalised that companies integrate ESG as a strategic part of their business model. For a number of companies, ESG has become their business model driver, others unfortunately still see it as a cost rather than an opportunity. It is one of Agoria's roles to bring out the business opportunities for each of its member companies. Future support will be even more focused on helping companies to meet the new obligations that are coming their way.
In 'Technology for a better world', we let more than 30 companies speak, each of them ambassadors in the field of ESG implementation in their business models. It is important to put these examples in the spotlight, as an inspiration for many others.

Could you elaborate on how the tech industry in Belgium is facing the link between tech development, energy and sustainability? 

The technology industry offers many solutions for today's problems, including the energy problem, such as wind turbines, solar panels and heat pumps. Even though our impact is rather limited, the industry itself still has some way to go to achieve climate neutrality, but we are on the way to reaching the target by 2050. The large technological companies have all set their targets for climate neutrality and the plans for achieving these targets are being rolled out. More and more companies are starting to analyse the impact of the entire life cycle of products. The concept of sustainability is more than ever present in each step of the process. Smaller companies are also starting to explore in this direction. Agoria works on creating awareness & supporting companies.

Could you tell us more about your upcoming sustainability report and what it aims to achieve for your sector in Belgium and Europe? 

The technology sector has been working on sustainability for years, but never before has it come out with a roadmap in which clear commitments were formulated. The roadmap is supported by figures and facts, the baseline measurement. This allows us to report regularly on the evolution of the various commitments and to have clear goals in mind. 

Furthermore, our roadmap for and by a sector also allows companies to benchmark themselves. Where do they stand? The many business cases will certainly inspire other companies. Part of the roadmap is to address the general public and the youth as well and show everyone how we are working towards a more sustainable society in a transparent way.