Digital companies are still fighting for gender equality

One hundred and eighteen million dollars (about 113 million euros). That’s the amount Google preferred to pay on Monday, June 13 to a group of 15,000 former employees accusing it of discriminating against women in terms of pay and promotion, rather than going to court.

In France, too, many associations – present at the VivaTech fair, which begins on Wednesday 15 June – are warning about the inequalities in technology and sexual stereotypes that persist in this very masculine environment. Women make up only 23% of those working in digital professions, according to a report published by the association Femmes @ Numérique in 2020. According to a study by coaching organization Ironhack, 41% of French interviewed believe that women are not as good at working there as men.

Solenne Bocquillon-Le Goaziou, CEO and founder of Soft Skills, a technology education startup, sees this every day: Even if we dig into a good topic, guys will come and explain it to us again. Because by definition, due to unconscious biases, we are a woman so we are less competent than a man “.

Deconstructing clichés

When I was teaching computer science, I felt like I wasn’t taken seriously Sophie Vieger, who is now the general director of Code 42 school founded by Xavier Niel, confirms, “.” So you have developed techniques. Since I had a very good memory, I remembered the list of all the students, twisted it backwards, and invited them all separately. Then I can start my lesson! ‘, describe.

The director, hired in 2018 to restore the image of School 42, accused of sexism, wants to deconstruct cliches about IT. “DrIn the 1980s, when personal computers appeared, boys took them and banded together as a community. They were boys who were very awkward with girls. So after a while, it created a kind of excessive sex with and violence against women in the IT world. “.We see it, for example, with Lara Croft, the heroine of video games,” says Sophie Viger. It’s a bit disgusting and women don’t want to go into this world. 42,” continues Director 42.

Absolute zero tolerance for sexual jokes

In 2018, the school’s enrollment rate was 14%, compared to 32% in 2021. Small victory for Sophie Viger: “To achieve this, I have absolutely no tolerance: in online messaging, the simplest sexist joke and students are banned from messaging for two weeks. “The director says. It also changed the recruitment process by reserving 50% of places in the ‘pool’ (selection to integrate 42) for women.” If we realize there are places left, we reopen registrations for men. But we want to maximize the number of women in the selection process.” Sophie Fager explains.

In the world of startups, stereotypes die hard. Businesses set up by women have more difficulty attracting investment. In 2020, only 9% of funds were raised by mixed or female teams, while they represented 21% of start-ups, according to the latest metric implemented by Sista Collective and BCG.

The gap is also explained by the areas of activity of these startups. “The topics presented by women often have a social or environmental impact, or are related to care…not as profitable as fintech. (a startup offering financial services) »Solin Boquelon Le Joisio admits.

tense sector

The pay gap between men and women in French tech remains at 23%, according to a study by Figures platform, cited by Les Échos. “In technology companies, there are much more women in communications or marketing, and jobs that pay less. On the contrary, in IT development, which is better paid, there are more men”decoded by Sophie Feiger, from School 42.

However, the gap tends to narrow. Today, companies offer the same salaries to men and women, with equal skills and experience, which assures professionals in this sector. “There is such tension in these professions that companies are looking a lot for female profiles,” Emmanuel Larroque, of the Social Builder Association, which trains women in digital careers, confirms.

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