Women in the digital sector: we still have a way to go

08 March 2024

Fair is fair: at DNS Belgium, there is a gender gap in the technical (engineering) department. There are 16 engineers in our technical department, only 2 of them are female. We would like to see that change, but that shift to gender equality in technical jobs remains difficult. It's a problem we share with the entire digital and IT sector. We wonder if the 'Women in Digital' initiative will start the necessary revolution.

What is the government doing to attract more women to the digital sector?

The FPS Economy worked out a 5-year plan. They defined a strategy to achieve 5 objectives: 

  • Lead more women to the digital sector (starting with education for girls, focused on STEM).
  • Get more women into digital jobs.
  • Retain more women in digital jobs.
  • Promote more female representation so that we move towards a more gender-neutral portrayal of the digital sector. Putting forward female role models and their achievements in STEM is part of this.
  • Draw more women away from the digital divide by promoting cultural diversity, reorientation and further development in the digital sector.

These ambitions were already formulated in 2021, we are very curious and hopeful to see the results in 2026.

The government, our education system, social partners, civil society, media but also the private sector must contribute to this if this plan is to succeed. Let's see where we stand on that front: in what way is DNS Belgium a woman-friendly organisation?

Female-friendly policy at DNS Belgium

At DNS Belgium, we cannot take action on each of the above objectives. Nevertheless, in recent years (and still!) we have been working on creating an inclusive culture, where everyone is welcome. That includes women. 

This is how we implement a woman-friendly policy:

  • Everyone has equal opportunities, including when it comes to promotion and development. Raises are the same for everyone: advancement to a different pay category is transparent. Anyone who wants, can start such a process and knows what skills/competencies are needed to move up. You are guided in this process and receive feedback from colleagues to evolve to the role you want to take up.
  • In terms of training, everyone has the same budget and number of training days.
  • Our feedback culture and collaborative working form (based on sociocracy) encourages engagement with all colleagues, whether you are introverted or extroverted. Sociocracy encourages engaging all attendees at a meeting and using the wisdom of the group. Regardless of age/ancestry, gender, etc.
  • We want to contribute to image of women in IT. Because we are proud of our female colleagues, we like to present them as role models. 
  • In the past we organized CoderDojo's, enthusing the younger audience for IT or STEM. By doing so, we also reached girls between 6 and 18 years old, hoping to stimulate their interest in technology.

Despite our efforts, the result is not yet what we hoped for: we didn't reduce gender inequality in our technical positions. Fortunately, that does not dampen our enthusiasm. We continue to push for more female representation, and we are determined in our efforts.

Do you feel challenged by this article or have thoughts on this? We'd love to hear from you at

Inclusive pathways for better digital services

Our colleague Dulce (DevOps engineer) is participating in a panel discussion on women in digital, at the invitation of the European Commission.

Best practices will be shared about attracting and retaining women in digital. Want to see her at work or just curious about the program? Check out the website!