opinion | Digital transformation will happen with women or it won’t!

Written by Stephen Bales (Chairman and CEO of FDJ Group)Natalie Collin (General Manager Consumer and Digital Division of La Poste Group)Kristel Heidemann (Orange CEO)Catherine Gillward (Chairman and CEO of RATP)

The digital world is a club of geeks, detached from reality, practicing artistic crafts that are inaccessible to normal humans – especially mortals.

Total silly cliches? completely. Here, summarized in one sentence, the stereotypes entrenched in the collective imagination that generate apprehension and self-censorship among women drawn to the digital professions. Only 7% of them plan to move into this sector, and less than 20% of those working in these professions are women.

Pioneers, from Ada Lovelace to Mary Keller

However… many women have made significant contributions to the history of computing. Pioneers Grace Hopper, Ada Lovelace, Margaret Hamilton, Hedy Lamar, Mary Keeler, are just beginning to emerge from oblivion. Until the 1970s, they inspired thousands of women, very present or even in the majority in IT professions before they were gradually left out.

A very harmful erasure of gender equality, as it deprives young girls of role models in integrating a sector that promises 1.75 million new jobs by 2030. But digital transformation, too, is a side victim of these cliches when women are in dire need! Due to the lack of trained files, 80 thousand jobs were not filled in the digital sector in 2019 in France. Digital equity is a strategic investment to bridge this skills gap: it is estimated that it will generate an additional 10% of GDP by 2025. Last but not least, it will help ensure that tomorrow’s world is designed with 100% talent, both female and male.

Tomorrow, it will integrate the majority of digital jobs

Tomorrow, the vast majority of digital jobs and technologies will be integrating. Therefore, encouraging young girls to pursue scientific and technological careers is imperative, starting in primary school. It is also necessary to make these professions known in all their diversity: from digital marketing expert to machine learning expert, from DSI to developer … Orange has created a CFA certification for training in digital professions targeting 30% of girls per year.

It is up to us, business leaders, to extend this effort throughout a career, through recruitment, training and skills development. The RATP’s proactive policy has made it possible to reach 40% of women in technology professions. At La Française des Jeux, it was the digitization of human resources, marketing, legal professions, etc. that enabled the women already in these activities to acquire digital skills.

Knowing how to adapt and welcome them

We can also work across the technology ecosystem, which will meet this week at VivaTech. Because if French Tech hit a record high in terms of fundraising, 88% of it would have been acquired by startups led by men! For example, French startup accelerator IoT Impact x Technologie in La Poste has achieved parity in the management teams of backed startups since 2020. RATP Capital Innovation, an investment firm of RATP, has made gender parity one of the selection criteria for funding or collaboration With startups, I signed the Sista Charter. FDJ is the origin of this gathering, which sponsors the 2022 class with the goal of creating a group of startups created by women. The Orange #FemmesEntrepreneuses program also supports 100 women startup founders when La Poste supports women involved in responsible digital innovation.

If digital transformation can become a career accelerator for women, then women can be a colossal accelerator of digital transformation. It is up to us leaders, managers and recruiters to seize this opportunity and figure out how to adapt and welcome them!

Catherine GillwardAnd the CEO of RATP

Kristel HeidemannAnd the CEO of Orange

Natalie CollinsAnd the General and Digital Director of La Poste Group

Stephen BalesAnd the CEO of La Française des Jeux.

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