Technology and innovation are important themes, but at the end of the day, they are only means to a higher end. “Only when we become aware of their impact on society can we fully understand what their real importance is.” Ineke Dezentjé of FME, the employers’ organisation for the technology industry, is clear about what is needed for the next steps of her organisation, and she thinks women can play an important role there.
“People in general, and women in particular, are insufficiently aware of the importance and opportunities of technology. If we do not do something about this, the overall level of innovation in our country will decrease and we will enter a downward spiral which we must stay away from. Nothing less than our prosperity and our well-being are at stake; new technologies and new innovations are really that important.” Dezentjé mentions China as an example where new engineers are delivered in unprecedented numbers – and with unprecedented quality. “I see this, above all, as a wakeup call, we have to take this very seriously.”
In order to create a different culture in the Netherlands, FME launched the UpgradeNL initiative, which now has some forty affiliated partners. Dezentjé: “How do we ensure that technology helps everyone to get the best out of themselves? Apparently, we have not yet explained what is possible well enough. We have to do this better, we have to make the Netherlands more ‘tech-literate’. By making everyone understand the impact of technology on work and society. By being positive about the opportunities of technology, also for your own life and work. In order to reach everyone, we must not only focus on the technology itself but above all on what technology can cause.”