Striving for Gender Balance

Dirk Luyten MBA’89J, Martine Reynaers MBA’80, Martine Van den Poel MCCC'13 and Philippe Haspeslagh CCC’07
Dirk Luyten MBA’89J, Martine Reynaers MBA’80, Martine Van den Poel MCCC'13 and Philippe Haspeslagh CCC’07

In partnership with the Hoffmann Global Institute for Business and Society, the INSEAD Gender Initiative is on a mission to advance gender balance. This year, several INSEAD alumni from Belgium came together to make generous contributions in support of this work.

Dirk Luyten MBA’89J, Martine Reynaers MBA’80 and Martine Van den Poel MCCC'13 with her husband Philippe Haspeslagh CCC’07, felt compelled to give to the Gender Initiative for different reasons.

Reynaers gave because she believes in promoting diversity on all levels, through research and teaching. She applauds INSEAD as a diversity champion, noting that “gender diversity is the first step to a more inclusive world.”

Luyten agrees, emphasising research as a crucial lever for closing the gender gap. “Any change requires higher levels of awareness of the problem and a better understanding of the interventions that allow [the gender movement] to move forward,” he says. “[Although] the relationship between gender balance in management and performance has been understudied, the INSEAD Gender Initiative produces scientific research and disseminates it in a very systematic way, thereby allowing management to realise gender diversity in their organisations.”

Advancing this research, along with related pedagogy and educational programming, was the driving force behind the Haspeslagh-Van den Poel gift. In addition to striving for gender equality, the couple believes in supporting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives more broadly. “There is a huge need to accelerate the pace of change in all issues of DEI,” says Van den Poel. “It is no longer only a gender issue but a much broader, burning societal issue.”

Along with financial contributions, all four donors have given gifts of their time. Reynaers serves as President of the National Alumni Association for Belgium. Luyten is a member of the INSEAD Campaign Board, Women on Board Belgium and the Executive Committee of the Global Women in Business Club. The Haspelagh-Van den Poels had long careers at INSEAD, holding both senior administrative and academic roles; they also continue to mentor alumni today.

These acts of generosity are directed at a better future — not only for women, but for business and society. Van den Poel sums it up: “My husband and I hope that the next generation of female leaders will find more opportunities and face fewer obstacles in leading organisations that are truly diverse, inclusive and equitable.”

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