Recognizing the impact of women in tech: InspiringFifty Deep Tech Benelux+ Edition announces 50 winners

(Editor’s note: Dispatches is a partner in the InspiringFifty effort to recognize women in deep tech, many of whom are highly skilled internationals.)

The newly formed InspiringFifty Deep Tech Benelux+ Edition announces 50 winners, inspiring women working in deep-tech organizations, including corporations, multinationals, deep-tech startups and scale-ups and universities in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Great Britain.

Sponsoring partners HighTechXL and Fe+male Tech Heroes, based at High Tech Campus Eindhoven, the Netherlands, formed the InspiringFifty Deep Tech Benelux+ Edition to shine the spotlight on women in deep-tech organizations who make an enormous social impact. 

Deep tech is best described as the most advanced hardware and software technologies developed at top research and development organizations and universities, technologies that enable significant scientific advances and transformative solutions addressing grand societal challenges.

 Of the 90 women nominated for the awards, there are 37 winners from the Netherlands, 11 from Belgium, one from Germany and one from the United Kingdom.

A sampling of winners:

8 are focused on artificial intelligence 

7 are deep-tech startups or scale-ups

7 work at multinational tech companies, including ASML, Signify, Philips, NXP and SAP

4 work at research institute TNO

1 helped research and develop the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine

See the full list of winners here.

A distinguished jury scored the nominees, including:

Hans de Jong, Commissaris, former president of Philips

Herman Boom, Executive VP ASML

Deeptha Khanna, Executive VP Philips

Manon Janssen, CEO Ecorys

Tom Vanhoutte, Partner imec.xpand

Brigit van Dijk-van De Reijt, CEO BOM

Lene Hviid, Global Manager, Shell Research Alliance

Sophie Vandebroek, Honorary professor KU Leuven, former CTO Xerox

An awards ceremony was originally planned for December 2021, but with current COVID lockdown measures in the Netherlands, the event has been postponed. Organizers will confirm a date in late spring 2022.

About InspiringFifty

InspiringFifty is an initiative run by EQL:HER that aims to increase diversity in tech by making female role models more visible. The InspiringFifty program was established to spotlight women excelling in tech careers, first in the Netherlands and growing to nine chapters around the world. 


EQL:HER, formerly accelerateHER, is a global network and event series which exists to re-balance gender in the technology sector to secure women an inclusive future across all businesses.

EQL:HER energizes discussions by delivering unique spaces to interact, exchange views and get inspired. They engage a wide audience of women leaders, founders, change-makers and allies from varied backgrounds and elevate women to create real opportunities and drive tangible change.

About HighTechXL 

HighTechXL is a deep-tech venture builder based in Eindhoven, Netherlands. Building upon advanced technologies sourced from world-renowned research institutions and tech companies and strong entrepreneurial teams, HighTechXL creates ventures with a positive impact on societal challenges.

To achieve this impact on society, entrepreneurial talents are empowered and inspired to reach their full potential and inspire others to do the same. HighTechXL closely collaborates with the unique Brainport ecosystem, partners and innovators across the globe. 

About Fe+male Tech Heroes

Founded in 2019 by Ingelou Stol and Hilde de Vocht of High Tech Campus Eindhoven, Fe+male Tech Heroes is a platform and network that brings people together to explore ways to increase diversity in the tech workforce. 

Women in the tech world are underrepresented, as few as 20% in the tech labor force. Research shows that teams with different genders, backgrounds and work experiences lead to the best innovations, but implementing corporate diversity programs is difficult. After two short years and many sold-out events, the community numbers in the thousands.

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