International Women's Day

Digital society
Sustainable society
Healthy society
Safe society
8 March 2023

Diversity is essential to innovate in today’s world. Different perspectives are needed to enrich our work, to make it stand out and to address the challenges we face in our time.

International Women's Day 2023

At TNO we believe that everyone, however different, should have the same opportunities, the same rights and the same chances. Not only to participate, but also to contribute, to grow and to develop both as an employee and colleague as well as in society. This is why TNO is a place where diversity and inclusion matter. We want everyone to feel at home at TNO – and be able to be themselves.

To celebrate International Women's Day we interviewed multiple women at TNO. Read more about their who they are and why they enjoy working at TNO.

Swarna Kumarswamy-Das

Growing up in India, I have always wanted to work in Science and Technology. TNO is a perfect place to exercise your expertise in STEM while working towards a better tomorrow

Swarna Kumarswamy-Das

Scientist Innovator

Who is Swarna Kumarswamy-Das?

I work as a scientist in cyber security at TNO. Growing up in India, I have always wanted to work in Science and Technology. TNO is a perfect place to exercise your expertise in STEM while working towards a better tomorrow!

Why do you think it’s important for role models to be visible?

I think role models need to be visible because seeing someone who has achieved success and overcome challenges can be very inspiring and motivating. Visible role models can be a powerful force in encouraging and empowering individuals to purse their ambitions.

Why is International women’s day important to you?

International Women's day is important to me because it's a day of reflection, celebration and action towards gender equality.

Describe your job role in three words

Research, innovation and society.

Maaike Snelder

Real-world challenges inspire me to develop new methods. This is where science and application meet, and this is why I like the combination of working both at TNO and the TU Delft.

Maaike Snelder

Principal scientist TNO and Associate professor TU Delft

Who is Maaike Snelder?

I studied econometrics at the Erasmus university in Rotterdam and did my master in operations research. As a result, I have a strong background in model development and optimization. Already during my master, I chose to focus on traffic and transport.

I started with road network design and evaluation under regular conditions and extended that to design and evaluation in case of disruptions like incidents, road works, bad weather conditions and events. Later, I broadened my scope to a multimodal perspective and studied how new mobility concepts like automated driving, car sharing and ridesharing can be included in impact assessment and network design methods.

The impact of my work is very important to me. Real-world challenges inspire me to develop new methods. This is where science and application meet, and this is why I like the combination of working both at TNO and the TU Delft. This combination has worked for me ever since I started with my PhD in 2005. When I graduated ‘cum laude’ in 2010 my PhD research about robust road network design was already applied by Rijkswaterstaat and the ANWB.

Now, 13 years later, I can proudly say that as a principal scientist at TNO and associate professor at the TU Delft, I am responsible for the development of several large research programs in which a large group of researchers from TNO, the TU Delft and other universities is active to co-design our future traffic and transport systems together with many public and private partners.

See also my story of science from the TU Delft which is directly related to my TNO-activities as well.

Why do you think is important that Role Models need to be visible?

It is important that role models are visible to show what is possible and inspire others to pursue their dreams.

Why is International Women's Day important for you?

Because we need more women at the top!

Describe your job role in three words

Scientist, model developer and designer future traffic and transport systems.


You can't be what you don't see. But also, no career is only smooth sailing - role models are important inspiration at the times when things do not look so great for you.

Dagmar Beudeker

Manager HR Innovation

Who is Dagmar?

Hi, my name is Dagmar. My purpose is to create work and working circumstances that are as fulfilling and inspirational as possible. Within TNO I am responsible for making and implementing the HR Strategy, to innovate our HR practice and to aid decision making by using data and analyses. Even through many members of my family work in tech, I saw a very different plan for myself after obtaining my A levels.

I went to art school and theater school before applying to Psychology in uni. Being creative is still important to me, but, psychology I find is a fascinating work domain. I obtained my PhD in organizational psychology in 2015 as a researcher within TNO. After this, I transferred to HR because I wanted to broaden my skillset and try to do my best in making TNO the best place to work, ever. I am a mother of two and live in Zoeterwoude together with my husband.

Who has inspired you?

Not one person, but many people I've met over the years. My grandma, who was all about seizing every opportunity to learn and explore. A feminist avant la lettre! My parents, who gave me the freedom to explore what I wanted / what my own path was. My husband, who is all about equal opportunities for men and women. My kids, who I want to be a role model for.

Workwise, I've worked hard, but I have also been lucky in meeting people who took a chance with me, so that I could prove my value. Roland Blonk got me started at TNO, at a time when hiring new people was really difficult. Naomi Ellemers and Floor Rink (supervisors of my PhD) who were role models in having top careers in science. Rien Paulus (former manager HR) took on a reseacher with HR ambitions, but no experience whatsoever.

My current colleagues which trust me enough to make real connections and grow together and be a little better each day. Content wise: me, myself and I. I had the freedom to create a position that combines the two things in HR that I most love: Innovation and People Analytics.

Why is International Women’s Day important to you?

Unfortunately it is still the case that being a woman can mean less opportunities and being more fragile than being a man. This is a message that I do not want to give to my daughter when she grows up. I want to be able to tell her that she will earn the same salary as a man for the same work.

I want to be able to tell her that she can act as the person she is whilst at work, without having to worry whether her behavior fits the white male norm. I want to be able to tell her that she can wear whatever she wants to without worrying it might attract the wrong kind of attention. That she will be able to cycle home alone after a night out without having to worry. Haha. Do I need to continue.....?

Geerte Paradies, Senior Researcher at TNO

Geerte is a policy advisor, social psychologist, and researcher. She is passionate about sustainability and finding out how to secure a livable world for ourselves and the next generations.

Fieke Beemster, Deputy Research Manager at TNO

Fieke works as a deputy research manager at TNO. What she loves about her work at TNO is that she can work with a very passionate and devoted team, where her role is to get the most out of everyone.

Pauline Whyte, Online Data Analist Business Intelligence Competence Center

Pauline started working almost 4 years ago at TNO's Marketing & Communications team. She created data and dashboards from scratch which are now used by the M&C team in their daily activities. Recently she switched to the BICC team to join fellow data enthousiasts where she can fully deploy and develop her data analist skills.

For International Women’s Day TNO collaborated with Equals to showcase six female role models that work at TNO. Find their posters all across The Hague, and read all about them here and on the Equals website.

Get inspired

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