Women in the digital world: surveillance and future prospects

Amelie Poisson, Director of Customer and Brand Marketing at La Redoute, Karen Schreinzel, Co-Founder of Shopinvest and Laura Vaux Duc, Marketing Director of Alibaba France. Here, in order, are the big winners of the 2021 La Femme du Digital Cup, organized by e-commerce magazine and Cofidis Retail. Although the journey of these entrepreneurs requires respect, unfortunately in France, this kind of “Success stories” A bit like the tree that hides the forest. Based on this observation, it would be easy to conclude that the digital figure does not appeal to women. However, this takes the problem on its head. Some stereotypes die hard and prevent women from fully developing in this sector. It’s a shame, because many companies are starting or ramping up their regulation around current and future digital issues. decoding.

Women in the digital world unfortunate note

Just take a look at the latest available numbers. According to the collective [email protected]In theory, women hold no more than 30% of positions in the digital sector and less than 15% of them hold positions of high responsibility. In terms of pure entrepreneurship, the tendency is much lower because only 8% of them are startup founders.

While corporate digitization is already underway, it is fitting that companies are reviewing their version now, the next decade is the perfect time to do so. In fact, according to a study by Pôle Emploi, 85% of 2030 jobs do not yet exist and almost all of them will be directly or indirectly related to digital. An opportunity to readjust parity in this sector and to understand how women present an opportunity for companies in this field.

Haro on stereotypes about some professions

Elon Musk, Jack Ma, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg… When we talk about the big names in technology, it’s the men’s names that naturally come to mind, as if new technologies were some kind of Boys Club. However, Susan Wojcicki is the global CEO of YouTube, Ginni Rometty was CEO of IBM from 2012 to 2020, or Lucy Bing is CEO of Lazada, the world’s largest financial technology. Less well known to the general public, these big digital names are high priestess in their field.

Image credit: Pexels/Visual Tag Mx

There is clearly a media bias about women in the digital sphere. However, if we go back to the beginnings of this sector, the place of women, media and real life was very different. In the 1970s and 1980s, they represented about 40% of the computer science workforce. what happened after that? American writer Claire L. Evans, author of the book wide waveAnd The untold story of the women who made the internet (2018), has his own idea about it.

“At the end of the 1990s, when computing and digital became more valuable and we realized there was a lot of money involved, that’s when we saw women gradually leave the field. Not by choice, but because men wanted these professions just as well, realizing they could claim a special status out there.”

From there, the company built the famous character of “Geek” Solitary and masculine. To the extent that from the source – training – women impose censorship on themselves and are less oriented to certain sectors. This phenomenon begins early, from high school, since approximately 80% of the students at Terminale L are girls. In the collective unconscious, technological and scientific training are more masculine paths to professional integration. After that, the problem was not resolved because according to the Numeum Consortium, the post-baccalaureate digital courses are made up of 90% of men.

Family, secondary school guidance and information on pursuing studies in higher education: key factors

Only 37% of girls plan to go to computer science or engineering, compared to 66% of boys, according to a November 2021 Ipsos study conducted among high school students and their parents. This is not due to lack of interest! The study says that 54% of high school girls are interested in science topics in general, and 56% are interested in information/digital technology. But “These courses are not well known, especially among girls: only 29% are familiar with the content of computer school training (compared to 46% of boys), and 24% are on the job of a computer expert (compared to 36% of boys), even when they are interested sector”The authors say. Most surprisingly, the authors say: “Only 33% of girls are encouraged by their fathers to engage in digital careers, compared to 61% of boys, and fathers are the main recommenders of guidance”.

However, the study confirms that there is no difference between a girl and a boy in terms of positive perceptions of these professions: both girls and boys consider them future and well-paid occupations. Thus, the reason for this discontent comes in part from the fact that girls are less exposed to positive discourse about these professions. The solution: Involve professionals in the classroom, and make people want it! Finally, the study identifies that girls are more strict with themselves when they judge their level, and after making different specialty choices, girls are less likely to be considered as having the level they should follow after the technical bac. Stream, even when they have very good science grades. And that, while high school girls say they are primarily interested in science subjects (54%) and IT and digital (56%)!

The study authors stated this: “The less informed about these professions, and the less encouraged their choice, young girls are less exposed to positive discourse about computer schools and digital professions: 46% believe that their parents have positive speech in this regard (compared to 57% of boys), 44% of their friends (55% for boys) or 44% of their teachers (compared to 53% for boys). »

However, it is the responsibility of everyone, especially training institutions specialized in information technology and digital technology, to contribute to building a positive and encouraging discourse that strengthens the link between the female public and the professions in which they are training. It is necessary to give confidence, communicate with high school girls and especially with parents, and this is very early.

“Excelia Digital School, a school specializing in the professions of digital communications, information technology, data and digital creation, has bet heavily on the feminization of its sectors, and is taking specific actions in this direction”says Pascal Cappelaere, Director of Specialized Schools at Ixia.

The discourse of openness and diversity is carried out by its teaching teams, in order to break down preconceived notions and demonstrate the successes of its students. The Digital Training Discovery Days have been set up, with the aim of demonstrating the areas being taught in concrete terms, accessible to everyone. Also, its graduates go back to their high school or institution of origin in order to talk about their choice of studies, experiences in business and thus the creation of careers. Finally, Excelia Digital School will participate in the call for projects Feminization of Post-Digital Baccalaureate Courseslaunched by the Foundation [email protected]eric to support initiatives in favor of diversity in digital technology from end of study to first job. In this sense, Excelia will soon launch X’LLES Digital by Excelia, an ambitious project with a very specific goal: to facilitate access to women in digital professions.

Mobilize the entire community to break this glass ceiling

Fortunately, attitudes are starting to change slowly but surely in France. In particular, we see the emergence of several networks trying to promote digital careers for women, such as Women In Technology or Femme du Numérique, to name a few. Initiatives that raise women’s awareness of college and throughout their career, but not only! Indeed, it is necessary to unite greatly to move the lines, at the same time parents, educators, guidance counselors, managers, human resource advocates… The evolution of digital corporate organizational culture has no purpose of serving women in a two-way quest for inclusion. The challenge is twofold, economic and societal.

According to McKinsey, achieving parity in the digital sphere could generate an additional 10% of GDP in France. In addition, according to the same study, 87% of leaders in 2021 said they face or will experience a shortage of talent with digital skills that are adapting to their company’s digital transformation. Being laid off from a woman means depriving oneself of the pool of available talents.

Especially since in the digital age, soft skills have a strong impact on the productivity of a company. In 2018 study Women in the workplace From McKinsey argued that the top three of the most anticipated soft skills now in business are openness and adaptability, a tendency to help employees advance and the ability to create benevolent relationships. Three skills are still, according to the study, considered rather “feminine”.

Finally, in a society where digital technology affects all the gaps in our daily lives, it seems dangerous to leave only men the ability to think, develop and interpret digital goods and services. The founder and director of leetchi.com is convinced of this too, as I explained in an interview with the media Le Journal du Net. “We need more women in the digital sphere, because they think about services and needs differently. While women often do business on the basis of need, which is a noticeable lack in everyday life, men are more dependent on appropriate market conditions. These two ways to engage Interesting and integrated! ».

This need for parity also arises from an AI perspective, as the algorithm will not be designed and interpreted in the same way by women and men.

As much for businesses, as it is for society, as it is for them, it has become imperative that women participate in the digital bandwagon and be in positions of responsibility. Awareness and training are the two best weapons for success.

To find out more about the actions that Excelia Digital School has implemented in this direction and about the school itself, go to its dedicated page!

School page Excelia Digital School

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