opinion | The digital transition will happen to women or it won’t happen!

By Stephane Pallez (Chairman and CEO of FDJ group)Nathalie Collin (General Manager of La Poste Group Consumer and Digital Division)Christel Heydemann (CEO of Orange)Catherine Guillouard (Chairman and CEO of RATP)

The digital world is a club of geeks, disconnected from reality, practicing technicalities that are inaccessible to ordinary mortals – and especially mortals.

A sum of absurd clichés? Absolutely. Here, summarized in one sentence, stereotypes are anchored in the collective imagination and bring apprehension and self-censorship to women attracted to digital professions. Only 7% of them plan to move into this sector, and less than 20% of employees in these professions are women.

Pioneers, from Ada Lovelace to Mary Keller

However… Many women have made major contributions to the history of computing. Pioneers Grace Hopper, Ada Lovelace, Margaret Hamilton, Hedy Lamarr, Mary Keller, are just beginning to emerge from oblivion. Until the 1970s, they inspired thousands of women, present or even in most IT professions before being gradually excluded.

A very bad erasure for gender equality, as it deprives young women of powerful role models to consolidate a sector that promises 1.75 million new jobs by 2030. But the digital transition is, too, a collateral victim. of these clichés when he really needs women! Due to the lack of trained profiles, 80,000 jobs were not filled in the digital sector in 2019 in France. Digital equality is a strategic investment to fill the gap in these skills: it is estimated that it will generate 10% more GDP by 2025. Last but not least, it will help ensure that the world of tomorrow is designed to 100% of the talents, whether female or male.

Tomorrow, most jobs will include digital

Tomorrow, most jobs will include digital and its technologies. Encouraging young women to pursue scientific and technological careers is therefore necessary, starting in elementary school. It is also necessary to introduce these professions in all their diversity: from digital marketing expert to machine learning expert, from DSI to developer … Orange created CFA to train digital profession that targets 30% of girls per year.promotion.

It is up to us, business leaders, to extend this effort throughout the career, through recruitment, training and skills development. The proactive policy of the RATP team has made it possible to reach 40% of women in technology professions. In La Française des Jeux, the digitization of HR, marketing, legal profession, etc. has allowed women who are already present in these activities to gain digital skills.

Know how to adapt and accept them

We can also act through the tech ecosystem, which is meeting this week at VivaTech. Because if French Tech reached a record in terms of fundraising, 88% of it would have been acquired by male-led start-ups! For example, French IoT Impact x Technologie, La Poste’s start-up accelerator, has achieved parity among the management teams of supported start-ups since 2020. Produced by RATP Capital Innovation, RATP’s investment subsidiary , gender equality being one of the selection criteria for funding or partnering with start-ups, and signed the Sista charter. FDJ is the origin of this collective, where it promotes the 2022 class with the goal of creating a pool of start-ups created by women. Orange’s #FemmesEntrepreneuses program also supports 100 women founders of start-ups when La Poste supports women engaged in responsible digital innovation.

If digital transformation can be a career accelerator for women, women can be a massive digital transformation accelerator. It is up to us leaders, managers, recruiters, to take advantage of this opportunity and know how to adapt and accept them!

Catherine Guillouard, CEO of RATP

Christel Heydemann, CEO of Orange

Nathalie Collins, General Public and Digital General Manager La Poste Group

Stephane Pallez, CEO of La Française des Jeux.

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