BeZero Carbon – Clarissa Fontes, Carbon Rating Scientist

We interviewed Clarissa Fontes, Carbon Rating Scientist at BeZero Carbon on her experience and thoughts on women in tech.


  1. What does your job role involve?

I work as a Carbon Rating Scientist at BeZero Carbon. My responsibilities include evaluating and analysing carbon projects within the Nature-Based Solutions sector. I assess the likelihood of each project’s credits to fulfil their commitment of 1 ton of CO2 equivalent.

  1. What made you choose a career in technology?

Growing up with a biologist mother and an agronomist father, my childhood was deeply immersed in the appreciation of nature and the crucial balance between environmental preservation and human development. Pursuing a career in environmental science was a natural choice for me. I specialized in forestry, completing my academic journey with a Masters, PhD, and post-doctoral research, aiming to contribute as a university professor or scientist in research institutes.

However, during my last post-doc, my perspective evolved. I became intrigued by the potential impact of the private sector in fostering a green economy and achieving a decarbonized world—a more hands-on approach to making a tangible difference. This shift in focus led me to delve into the carbon market, where I discovered fascinating projects dedicated to preserving natural ecosystems. The prospect of actively contributing to a sustainable world through innovative solutions in the private sector captivated me. This realization motivated me to further study and actively participate in the field, ultimately guiding my decision to pursue a career in technology, specifically as a Carbon Rating Scientist at BeZero Carbon.

  1. Did you study an IT or technology related subject at GCSE, A-Level or University?

No. I studied forestry at the university. However, while my academic journey initially focused on environmental science, with specializations in forestry, my transition into the technology sector was driven by a growing interest in the intersection of environmental sustainability and innovative solutions. Although my formal education did not directly revolve around IT or technology-related subjects, my background provided a strong foundation for understanding the intricate balance between nature conservation and technological advancements.

  1. Did you get any work experience in IT or technology before this role?

While my earlier professional experiences were predominantly rooted in environmental science, specifically in forestry, my journey into the technology sector at BeZero Carbon represents a deliberate shift in focus. My transition was fueled by a genuine passion for leveraging technology to contribute to a more sustainable and decarbonized world. While my previous roles may not have been directly in IT or technology, they provided me with a solid foundation in research, problem-solving, and interdisciplinary thinking. These skills have proven instrumental in my current role as a Carbon Rating Scientist.

  1. Do you think there is a lack of females in the IT and tech sector?

“Yes, there is a recognized gender imbalance in the IT and tech sector. Historically, the industry has seen an underrepresentation of females. This disparity can be attributed to various factors, including societal stereotypes, lack of diversity and inclusion initiatives, and barriers to entry. However, there is a growing awareness of the importance of fostering diversity in the tech industry. Initiatives and discussions around gender inclusivity are gaining momentum, with many organizations actively working to create a more equitable environment. It’s crucial to continue encouraging and supporting woman to pursue careers in IT and technology, fostering a diverse and innovative workforce.”


  1. Do you find there is a stereotype that a career in IT or technology is just for men?

Yes, there has been a prevailing stereotype that a career in IT or technology is predominantly for men. This stereotype has contributed to the historical underrepresentation of women in the field. However, it’s important to recognize that this perception is changing. There is a growing awareness of the need for diversity and inclusivity in the tech industry. Many initiatives and discussions are challenging these stereotypes and working towards creating a more inclusive environment. It’s crucial to emphasize that the IT and technology sector is for everyone, regardless of gender, and to continue breaking down barriers to encourage a more diverse representation in the field.

  1. What would entice women to study technology related courses?

To entice more women to study technology-related courses, it’s essential to foster an inclusive environment that emphasizes diversity and equality. Implementing mentorship programs, showcasing successful women in tech, and providing female role models can help break down stereotypes and inspire confidence.

Additionally, incorporating real-world applications and illustrating how technology can be a powerful tool for positive change in various industries can make these courses more appealing. Highlighting the collaborative and creative aspects of technology, as well as its potential to address global challenges, can attract women who are passionate about making a meaningful impact.

Creating scholarship programs, internships, and networking opportunities specifically designed for women in tech can also play a crucial role in increasing representation. By addressing both the cultural and systemic barriers, we can build an environment that encourages and supports women to pursue and excel in technology-related fields.

  1. Are there barriers when it comes to women getting into tech?

Yes, there are several barriers that women encounter when entering the tech industry. On a personal level, societal stereotypes and gender biases can discourage women from pursuing technology-related careers. There’s often a misconception that certain roles are more suited to men, creating a self-doubt that hinders women from confidently entering the field.

Also, studies suggest that women are sometimes less likely to accept leadership positions, not because they lack the skills or qualifications, but due to a perceived ‘readiness gap.’ Women may hesitate to step into leadership roles unless they feel fully prepared, while their male counterparts might be more inclined to take on challenges and learn as they go. This mindset can limit women’s career advancement.

Additionally, the impact of motherhood can be a significant barrier. Balancing the demands of a tech career with family responsibilities can be challenging. Women often face expectations and biases related to their roles as caregivers, which can affect career progression. Companies should recognize and accommodate the unique challenges that mothers in tech may face, such as offering flexible work arrangements and promoting a family-friendly culture. Recognizing and valuing the diverse experiences and perspectives that women bring to the tech industry is not only a matter of equality but also contributes to a more innovative and dynamic workforce.

  1. How could we encourage more women to start a career in tech?

I feel this question is very similar to question 7. Would give the same response 😊

  1. What advice would you give to young women at the start of their career?

My advice to young women at the start of their careers is to embrace authenticity and trust in their abilities. Firstly, avoid the trap of comparing yourself to others. Each career path is unique, and everyone has their own journey. Focus on your strengths, set realistic goals, and celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small.

Secondly, trust in yourself and your capabilities. Imposter syndrome is common, especially for women entering male-dominated fields like technology. Remember that you earned your place and have the skills necessary to succeed. Embrace challenges as opportunities to learn and grow.

Lastly, let your attitudes and actions at work be in alignment with who you are. Authenticity is a powerful asset. Be true to yourself, express your ideas confidently, and don’t be afraid to let your unique perspective shine. Cultivate a supportive network of mentors and allies who appreciate and value your contributions.