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The importance of female role model complexes in companies

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A few months ago I spoke about my job and my technical background to high school students from the French High School in Istanbul. I was a little anxious at first to see if what I had to say would be interesting or if I could answer all the questions. But when I started speaking, I felt invested in a mission: to inform young girls and persuade them, too, to join scientific fields. I was able to take part in this intervention thanks to a group of female models of which I am a part at Orange.

A set of female role models in orange

The term may sound pompous or literal translated from English but it is an internal and diverse community of women educated both scientifically and in an artistic profession. They are also eager to share their experiences.

It is not a talent management program but the development of a network that welcomes all female personalities.

“I wanted the group to be as heterogeneous as possible in order to make it easier for interested audiences to identify when speaking,” said Christine Lamoureux, Director of Human Resource Development and Diversity at Orange Innovation. [1]

The importance of having female role models

Having female role models plays a crucial role in guiding young girls. [2]

This allows them to learn about themselves, develop their curiosity and show that thriving in technical professions is also possible for women.

In addition, these professions offer a range of occupations: researcher in artificial intelligence, project manager [3], Data Scientist, 5G Deployment Expert, Computer Scientist, Cyber ​​Security Expert. For example, in June 2022, a report by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) cited a shortage of cybersecurity profiles. [4]

Job descriptions, though detailed, are not sufficient. Reaching out to female audiences helps start the conversation.

“Thanks to their commitment, these employees help change gender stereotypes and create careers among female audiences. Christine Lamoureux confirms.

Fewer women in new technology professions

The numbers speak for themselves. Today, only 24% of all jobs in the digital sector in the world are held by women. Admittedly, this lack of diversity stems from the low proportion of women in these fields of study: 26% of women are engineering graduates, and only 16.5% are information and communication technology (ICT) graduates. Did you know that when it comes to self-expression in matters of experience only in the media 20% of experts Were they interviewed experts?

“Based on these observations, I decided to create a group of women: a group of female role models,” Christine Lamoureux continues, “The goal is to change the situation by identifying women who have diverse and inspiring traits, backgrounds, and experiences.”

Orange has 36% women in the group workforce, and only 21% in innovation and technology. Orange has an ambitious goal of gender diversity in technical and digital professions to reach an average of 25% of women in these professions worldwide by 2025.

In France, Orange aspires to:

– 25% of female appointments in technical and digital professions

– 30% of women in Orange CFA training (Beginner Training Center)

50% of employment or training appointments

Because diversity, especially gender balance, in all jobs and fields of work and at all levels is synonymous with creativity and economic and social performance. Adds Christine Lamoureux. The 10 companies in the CAC40 region with the highest number of female management (54.12% of female directors on average) show 48% higher operating profitability than the 10 companies with the most male management. [5]

This fertile land is one of the spearheads of this strategy. Created in April 2021, it has more than 140 employees working in France and abroad, including the Sofrecom subsidiary. For Orange, this approach is part of the Hello Women project [5] It aims to develop the attractiveness of technical professions among female audiences and highlight diversity by increasing the visibility of women in technical fields.

pool activities

We benefit from training specifically for public speaking. We can put them into practice during internal or external events. These interventions are diverse: on podcasts, in the press, at fairs, student or profession forums, or even in presentations at colleges. The breeding ground also conveys association initiatives.

We also have a dedicated Teams group where we share our letters. It is also a way to develop self-confidence and take pride in one’s accomplishments. The newsletter takes these messages and provides information on upcoming conferences and training. There is also a dedicated “Women’s Role Models” mailbox to more easily identify connections and develop a sense of belonging.

Take action

Why not also create a breeding ground in your companies if there isn’t one? Or creating self-help groups to speak out, or to prepare for a conference?

Also, I’m sure many of you are part of business networks and communities. But when a young woman calls you to find out more about your career, how many of you say, “Yeah, we can talk about it. I check my calendar.”, without hesitation? When you get that message from a colleague “Can you guide me?” What do you answer? Role models don’t have to stop at naming a resume or social media posts. Each one of us can make a contribution, and you can co-share your experiences even if you’re not part of the A group of female models.

Written by Yasmina Khelifi, Engineer, Project Manager at Orange, Role Model at Orange Innovation and Passionate Volunteer at PMI

[1] Orange Innovation is a division of the Orange Group dedicated to technological anticipation.

[2] https://www.forbes.com/sites/margiewarrell/2020/10/09/seeing-is-believing-female-role-models-inspire-girls-to-rise/?sh=5f23c7037bf9

[3] https://www.forbes.fr/business/le-metier-de-cheffffe-de-projet-cest-un-metier-davenir/

[4] Cyber ​​Security – An increasingly diverse and promising job market by APEC

[5] https://www.skema-bs.fr/Documents/faculte-recherche/Observatoire_SKEMA_f%C3%A9minisation_entreprises_2023.pdf

[6] Hello Women is an Orange group program that aspires to develop diversity in technical and digital professions. https://orange.jobs/site/en-hello-women/index.htm

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