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  • 30 Nov 2016 14:58 | Anonymous
    On October 20th, WIL Team - Julia Contrea and Lucie Gabriel was honored to conduct an interview with Laurence Rossignol, the French Minister for Families, Children, and Women’s Rights at her Ministry in Paris. We discussed with the Minister about various subjects, from her personal commitment to gender equality, to the launch of the new joint Action & Mobilisation plan against sexism, but also the situation of women in France and Europe.


    The video is in French, but you'll find below an english write-up of the interview. 

    1. Sexism is a concept widely used in Gender studies nowadays yet rarely defined. What would be your definition of sexism?

    The subject of sexism, as it is a core issue for the French Ministry for Families, Children and Women’s Rights, which launched in that regard a joint Action and Mobilisation plan on social media to fight daily sexism, on September 8th, 2016, along with 30 women’s associations. The plan will run for 6 months until March 8th, 2017, which is the International Women’s Day.  During these months, the objective is to encourage men and women to speak up against daily sexism, and to share initiatives to fight it with an hashtag: #SexismePasNotreGenre. In view of the elusive definition of sexism, the French Minister started the interview by giving her own: “A set of secular behaviors that bring women back to their conservative roles and prevent them from accomplishing their goals and moving forward”. Sexism is also defined as a set of attitudes that reduce women solely to their sex.

    2. The Plan is based on figures and data from the joint CSA-French Ministry for Families, Children and Women’s Rights’ research study: “Perception of equality between men and women in France”. Did any of these figures surprised you or even choked you? 

    Laurence Rossignol drew two conclusions from the study: First, that the fight for gender equality is far from being over yet, as women are regularly exposed to sexist remarks at their workplaces, and 63% of women and girls modified their behaviours or wore different type of clothes due to fear of sexist attitudes. For young girls (15 - 20 years old), this percentage rises to 72%. But on the other hand, the Minister highlighted encouraging progresses: More and more people call themselves feminists (57% of the respondents and 61% of young girls) and an average of 97% of respondents recognized that women are often exposed to daily humiliations because they are women. Overall, sexism recognition in the public space has increased in the past few years, and led to a larger mobilisation from the civil society to fight against it.

    As the Minister pointed out, the joint Action and Mobilisation plan #SexismePasNotreGenreaims to act as a driven force of mobilisation against daily sexism. The plan is supported by more than 30 women’s associations and institutions in charge of labelling the initiatives shared with the hashtag #SexismePasNotreGenre. Combatting gender-based harassment and humiliations requires indeed strong collective commitment from both governments and society.

    3. You are known for your strong commitment for gender equality in the French political landscape. Was there a particular event that drove this early feminist commitment ?

    Moving the discussion to a more personal level, the Minister talked about how, being raised in an openly feminist environment, she has always been stunned and offended by discriminatory behaviours she witnessed as a young girl. Later, as a college student, she got involved in a feminist group where she led actions for women’s rights. “In those days, humor was our best asset to make our voices heard without being disqualified as “grumpies”. It is still true for the 2000’s feminists. But in the late 70’s we had a lot of fun being feminists, because we wouldn’t let anything go.

    4. In regards to the recent events in Pologne ( attempts to limit the aborption' rights by the government), do you think that women's rights in Europe are now being challenged / threatened?

    The Minister gave a nuanced response: Citing the well known French feminist Simone de Beauvoir, she cautioned that women’s rights have always been controversial in Europe, and therefore are staying under threat in the context of economic, political, and social crisis. But Laurence Rossignol also reminded that the attempt to restrict abortion’s right in Poland has faced a major resistance all over Europe. There are two driven forces concerning women’s rights in Europe: on a one side, there are existing antifeminists movements that try to undermine the granted rights, but on the other side there is a strong mobilisation from the society to keep fighting for these rights.

    4. What are your Ministry's top priorities in regards to women's rights in the next months/ years? 

    The Minister recapped the top three priorities of her Ministry in regards to women’s rights: Sexism, that should be combatted to allow existing laws to be properly applied, gender equality at work, to allow women to access financial independence, and gender-based violence. In this last category, Laurence Rossignol also included the “rape culture” that contributes to trivialize behaviours of sexual harassments in western countries. 


  • 07 Sep 2016 11:14 | Anonymous

    On Thursday, September 8th, 2016 the French Ministry for Families, Children, and Women’s Rights launched the joint Action & Mobilisation Plan against Sexism, presented by the Minister Laurence Rossignol. 30 associations and institutions are supporting Laurence Rossignol’s initiative, such as Cercle Inter’Elles, headed by WIL member Catherine Ladousse, Grandes Ecoles au Féminin or Social Builder to name a few. This key initiative against daily sexism is also supported by Thaima Samman, President of WIL Europe, along with personalities from the cultural sector, and economic and political elites such as WIL Member Delphine Ernotte Cunci, President of France Télévisions, Sarah Ourahmoune, Olympic vice champion of boxing, Julie Gayet, actress, and Axel Kahn, doctor and essayist, to mention but a few.

    The plan will run for 6 months until March 8th, 2017, which is the International Women’s Day.  During these months, the objective is to encourage men and women to speak up against daily sexism, and to share initiatives to fight it with an hashtag: #SexismePasNotreGenre.

    French journalist and public figure Audrey Pulvar moderated the two evening panels. The first one gathered speakers from the associative world: Emmanuelle Laroque (Social Builder), Clarisse Reille (Grandes Ecoles au Féminin), Sabine Salmon (Femmes Solidaires), Annie Guilberteau (CNIDFF), Marie Françoise Potereau (Femix’Sport) and Laurence Beldowski (Toutes Femmes, Toutes Communicantes) who shared with the guests their insights on sexism in universities, in the workplace, in sports and in the medias. The second panel had Anne Le Ny (actress), Dominique Beshenard (actor), Dr. Axel Kahn (Scholar), Dr. Ghada Hatem Gantzer and Mercedes Erra (CEO of Havas Worldwide) who discussed about their perception of sexism and how it should be fought.

    During the event the audience was also presented with key figures and main outcomes from the CSA research study: “Perception of equality between men and women in France”.

    To conclude the evening session, the Minister Laurence Rossignol took the stage to thank the audience and all the ambassadors, and to explain the program’s outlines for the next 6 months. She particularly stressed out the major role that social media will play in this campaign against sexism.  

    Please support this fundamental gender equality initiative by sharing your views on sexism by using #SexismePasNotreGenre!  



  • 22 Jul 2016 11:25 | Deleted user

    Great opportunity from WIL Member Myriam Maestroni, CEO Of Economie d'Energie SAS & E5T Foundation President, to attend E5T Summer University on August 24th & 25th in La Rochelle (France)

    This 2016 edition will be focusing on the COP21 outcome, objectives as well as policies and will bring concrete proposals for the COP22. High-level speakers will be discussing about ecology issues such as new eco-energy paradigm, E5T eco-mobility or E5T individual and collective housing.

    Please note that this is a french speaking event. Click here for more info.

    The Foundation E5T "Energy, Energy Efficiency , Energy Saving and Territories " is a french think tank which goal is to "think and act". It is an open platform where stakeholders can exchange ideas and discuss about the problems inherent to the energy transition. It aims to mobilize in an innovative format collective intelligence around this new reality by appealing to the representatives of the various actors and stakeholders in the energy sector (business, political, administrative , teachers, students).


  • 01 Jul 2016 16:55 | Deleted user

    Laurent Derivery is the CEO of Valeurs & Developpement, a consulting firm specialized in Management, Human Resources and Diversity. V&D bases its approach of diversity on researches and studies conducted in partnership with public and private actors.

    WIL: Valeurs & Developpement co-piloted a study with IMS-Entreprendre pour la Cité on gender and stereotypes in 2012. Could you please tell us more about this study and its outcomes?

    L: The study was conducted with 1200 managers in 9 different enterprises, and among them, about 300 were interviewed on their perception of gender stereotypes. The study focused on three types of stereotypes:

    - Autostereotype: what a man/woman think of his/her gender group (what women think of other women, and men of men)

    - Heterostereotypes: What a man/a woman think of the other gender group

    - Metastereotypes: what a person thinks the other gender group think about him/her (what a woman thinks another man think about her; what a man thinks another woman think about him)

    First we discovered that both men and women’s autostereotypes are positive, which is a constructive evolution compared to previous results. It means that women and men have a good image of themselves. What is interesting is that when it comes to heterostereotypes: men have a very good opinion of women, and they even have a better opinion of women than they have of themselves, while it is exactly the contrary for women. They have a bad image of men.

    Additionally, it is worth to be noted that, the more women take on leadership positions within a company, the more men and women’s stereotypes turn negative. Women have a good image of women in operational positions, an “ok” image of women in managerial positions and a bad opinion of C- level women managers. They do not want to identify themselves with these women.

    How do you explain that? Would you say women are impacted negatively by stereotypes associated with leadership positions?

    Currently, C-level women suffer from a very negative image and are not role models for other women in lower positions. There is a strong perception, shared by women and men, that these women tend to be career-minded and adopt a tougher managerial style. Many of them behave like men and adopt a masculine attitude to be respected.

    In that case, what would be a good manager, according to the respondents?

    A surprising outcome of the study is that both men and women agreed on gender based differences between a male manager vs a female manager: Men are perceived as more gifted in leadership skills, i.e. tough skills (action, decision making) while women are more gifted in soft skills (empathy, compassion behavior skills). That is one key learning. On the other hand, when men and women are asked to describe their ideal manager, they agreed on an androgynous profile: someone very balanced, who possesses a combination of “tough” skills and “behavioral” skills.

    In conclusion, what would you say is the main outcome of this study?

    Diversity is the key. In an unbalanced environment (whether in a male dominated or female dominated environment), the stereotypes are worse than in a mixed or balanced environment. In particular, the perception of well-being among workers is positively impacted by a balance environment.

    It is crucial to create an inclusive and diverse policy.

    How could organisations optimize their diversity and inclusion policies? What “good practices” should they apply?

    There are several action plans to put in place. First, you have to create an inclusive environment by assessing the following 5 points:

    - Fight discrimination and perception of discrimination through transparent processes

    - Create a satisfactory work environment, because frustration generates negative stereotypes

    - Look for gender neutral manager profiles; who have a good mix of tough and soft skills

    - Implement as much diversity as possible in teams at all levels of the organisation

    - Ensure your employees a good work-life balance

    The second plan is to work on mentalities: To involve more men in their initiatives, companies must better communicate on their gender equality commitments/initiatives and show how it benefits the company as whole (not only their women employees) by bringing economic growth and performance. Managerial policies must encourage awareness raising between women and men and have them discuss about stereotypes.

    Finally, the organisation must work on the HR processes, ie make sure procedures are not discriminatory. But it is also a matter of fighting against glass walls as much as against glass ceilings. We need to think out of the box and distance ourselves from the traditional linear career. Companies should value and offer women transversal career development opportunities, and chances to pursue non linear career paths.

    You mentioned a correlation between mixed teams and economic growth, how in your opinion diversity drives performance in a company?

    It has been proven that diversity drives performance and well-being. Sodexo’s study assesses that a team which respects male-female ratio (40 - 60%) enhanced significantly its performance. Which means diversity is not only a women’s issue. It matters for both gender. Men, the dominant cast, could feel threaten by women taking over responsibilities at work. But that is not the question. The real question is: how can we drive performance and well-being?

    It brings us to the question of managing diversity. If you have a very diverse team but you do not manage communication well, you can easily create a very conflicted environment. On the other hand, you could manage your team in a way that differences could boost creativity and performance. Gender diversity is a driver of better relationships among the team.

    As the CEO of V&D, you place diversity at the heart of your Human Resources approach. Could you explain more in details V&D’s approach of diversity?

    Diversity arises the question of inclusion: Talents should be managed in a way they feel recognized and valued as an unique individual, and that they are part of a team and a system. The role of a good manager is to allow the individual to be himself, to feel good and in return to work well in the team. In that sense, individual well-being is a driver of performance for the whole organisation. The individual and the system must work closely, in a circle, and solutions must be found together.


  • 30 Jun 2016 16:42 | Deleted user

    Women are under-represented in the fast growing digital sector: they only represent 15% of IT students and 21,7% of them are working is this sector. In an article published by Les Echos today, Thaima Samman, President of the European Network for Women in Leadership, along with Catherine Ladousse, President of Cercle Inter’Elles and Claudine Schmuck, President of the IT group of Sciences Po Alumni, call on the government to take decisive measures to involve more women in the tech sector. They are supported by 25 women’s organisations, including: Alter Egales, IT group of Sciences Po Alumni, Duchess France, Elles bougent, Elles@ESIEA, Fédération des femmes administrateurs, Femmes business angels, commission du Syntec Numerique,Cercle InterElles, Financielles, Grandes écoles au Féminin, Girlz in web, JUMP Equality, Social Builder, Voxfemina, WomenUp, to name a few.

    Women are facing more obstacles than their male counterparts to make their way in the tech industry, yet, the article points out how gender diversity is also a matter of performance for digital companies: having more women involved in the IT sector would increase the economic growth of the EU by 9 billion a year! Diversity is a driver of creativity, innovation and growth, especially in the highly competitive digital sector. Therefore, 25 women’s networks are taking a stand today #4WomenInTech.

    http://www.lesechos.fr/idees-debats/editos-analyses/0211070157078-il-est-urgent-de-renforcer-la-presence-des-femmes-dans-la-tech-2010928.php

  • 17 Jul 2015 19:09 | Deleted user

    On Tuesday, July 7th, 2015 Women in Leadership (WIL) Member Isabelle Roux-Chenu, Group General Counsel of Capgemini held, in partnership with the National Diversity Council, a great event in Paris as part of the Capgemini gender balance program she is leading called Women@Capgemini. The evening event, focused on ‘Boldness and Creativity as drivers of success’ and featured 4 great panel speakers, including WIL Board Member Katherine Corich, Founder and Group Chair, Sysdoc.

    A dynamic session, the event discussed with the panellists some of their boldest moments in their careers so far and how, now that they are at the top, they manage to incorporate gender balance into their organizations and continue to be bold and creative in leadership. With many inspiring stories from different backgrounds including perspectives from the private sector, a large NGO, and from an entrepreneur, common themes emerged- which included: ‘walking the talk’, making values a key part of the business, and believing in yourself and your abilities.

    The panelists further shared anecdotes of their own experiences and their reasons for being bold in their careers; like for example following their values and personal priorities vs. hierarchical advancement; correcting issues impacting the bottom-line such as gender balance and diversity - and thus taking on the implementation of true gender equality practices within their companies; changing the way ‘business’ is conducted by letting products and services speak for themselves vs. dining out with clients as dictated by the traditional model of ‘doing business’. Overall, each panellist expressed the paths they followed and how, when and why they had been bold and creative within their personal and professional lives. All of which resulted in many great successes for the panellists, and positioned them at the top of their organizations. Closing the discussion, WIL Board Member Katherine Corich reminded all women to know their personal and professional worth and to negotiate their careers with confidence based on this knowledge.

    Women@Capgemini and WIL Member Isabelle Roux-Chenu are regularly conducting sessions on the theme of women in business. Keep an eye on your inboxes for information from WIL on these great activities conducted by our sponsor!

    About Women@Capgemini

    Women@Capgemini is a gloal program adopted in 2012, and supported by Capgemini Chairman and Group CEO, Paul Hermelin, to set the overarching guidelines around gender diverity across the group. It encapsulates all intiaitves that have been set up in Capgemini business units around the world and helps the regions that did not have a program to set one. It also allows to share best practices put in pace in the local programs.

    Women@Capgemini is based on the fundemental principle of "equal opportunities, equal chances". To learn more about this great program take a look at the flyer attached below or visit their wesbite by clicking here


  • 01 Jul 2015 19:10 | Deleted user

    Ernst & Young published a report, based on their survey, on global job creation and the new generation of young entrepreneurs in the spring of 2015. The survey included a sample of respondents from201 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year winners, 2,144 global entrepreneurs in 13 economic sectors worldwide and 2,807 young people encompassing students, workers in their first jobs and those looking for a job. The study captures a snapshot of the ambitions of future entrepreneurs for the forthcoming years, giving us insight on the upcoming impact of the new generation of entrepreneurs on job creation and growth stimulation. The survey specifically distinguishes EY ‘entrepreneurs of the year winners’, from the rest of entrepreneurs, with EY entrepreneurs having a higher job creation rate and a higher rate of mentoring for young talent than non-EY entrepreneurs. EY entrepreneurs of the year winners are characterized as young talent with successful business plan selected by EY to serve as a source of inspiration for others. EY entrepreneurs work mainly in Insurance, Financial Audit, Financial Accounting Advisory Services, Dispute Services, Climate Change and Sustainability Services.

    This report aims at identifying what the intentions of new entrepreneurs are, in terms of employment, how confident entrepreneurs are in global and domestic economies, how much they expect from the talent pool of the new generation of employees and the motivations of young entrepreneurs to start a business.

    EY found that one of the main drivers of young entrepreneurs’ is their ambitions to develop access to new markets.The surveys also covers the various aspirations of young entrepreneurs, with the highest percentage, 38 %, wanting to start a business in order to leave behind a positive legacy. The survey also found that there is no considerable gender gap concerning entrepreneurial ambitions, indeed future entrepreneurs from both genders are confident in their ability to start their own business, and young women’s confidence is on the rise. Additionally the reports sheds light on the shrinking gap between emerging and developed countries, highlighting the benefit of emerging economies having greater market development potential and a cheaper workforce. Indeed young entrepreneurs from India and China appear to be more optimistic than those from Germany and Japan because they benefit from an economic context with a high growth rate a greater talent pool where their career ambitions are more likely to be fulfilled.

    Moreover, young entrepreneurs appear to havea lot ofconfidence in the talent pool and in their ability to put their employees’ skills to the best use. By consequence, according to survey statistics, young entrepreneurs are therefore willing to increase their workforce. As many as 47% of young entrepreneurs expect to increase their global workforce over the next year, which is a more encouraging percentage than the 30% foreseen by seniors entrepreneurs. This is a positive trend in entrepreneurship, as the report qualifies job creation as “the world’s economic lifeblood”. By creating jobs, young entrepreneurscontribute to raising the employment rate, and utilizing the talent pool which ultimately can lead to greater innovation and competiveness. Young entrepreneurs continue to have a positive impact on the job market which is a key factor for a healthy economy.

    In conclusion this is an optimistic report that highlights the confidence of the younger generation of EY (and other) entrepreneurs in exploiting market opportunities, creating jobs and innovating.The survey results stress that the next generation of young entrepreneurs, especially the ones from emerging economy, are confident in their ability to compete in a complex business world and are ready to hire new talent to help conquer new markets, which makes these entrepreneurs key to the future success of our global economy.

    To read the full EY report please click here.

    To see the report on the EY website please click here.


  • 11 Dec 2014 10:36 | Deleted user

    European Commission members were sworn in by the Court of Justice of the EU on December 10th, 2014, and the new Commission is progressing with the adoption of the 2015 European Commission Work Programme set for December 17th. With things propelling forward, it is a good time to revisit the ten (10) priorities underpinning the next 5 years, as laid out by Commission President Mr. Jean Claude Juncker the day he was elected by the European Parliament- July 15, 2014.

    In an official political guidelines paper, President Juncker set the tone for his policy priorities, stating that he ‘wants a European Union that is bigger and more ambitious on big things, and small and more modest on small things’. Under his agenda for Jobs, Growth, Fairness and Democratic Change, are the following priorities:

    1. A new boost for Jobs and Growth Investment

    2. A connected digital single market

    3. A resilient Energy Union with a forward-looking climate change policy

    4. A deeper and fairer internal market with a strengthened industrial base

    5. A deeper and fairer Economic and Monetary Union (EMU)

    6. A reasonable and balanced free trade agreement with the United States

    7. An area of Justice and Fundamental Rights based on mutual trust

    8. Moving towards a new policy on migration

    9. Europe as a stronger global actor

    10. A Union of democratic change

    From these priorities, namely the first three, we can expect to see a progressive jobs, growth and investment package to be turned out within the first three months of President Junckers mandate. Likewise, within the first six months, the EU will likely see ambitious legislative steps towards enabling a more connected digital single market, with the overarching goal of eliminating roaming fees, providing borderless access for consumers to online services/music/movies/sport,as well as facilitating a level playing field for all companies offering digital goods and services in the EU, specifically in regards to data protection and consumer rules irrespective of where servers may be located. The European Energy Union is another ambitious priority stipulated among Juncker’s priorities for his mandate, which aims not only to pool and unite resources and infrastructures across EU member states, but to diversify energy sources- looking more to renewable energy, and go beyond the 2020 objectives in terms of enhancing energy efficiency.

    Each priority outlined in ‘Juncker’s paper’ is meticulously thought out and explained, and they all have their challenges, but every priority is ambitious in its own right, and only time will tell if these priorities are the right ones to re-energise the EU.

    To read about each priority, please find the full political guidelines document by Commission President Juncker here.

  • 14 Nov 2014 10:38 | Deleted user

    In June 2014, WIL Member Beatrice Covassi was appointed Deputy Head of Unit, Data Value Chain (G.3), European Commission Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content & Technology (DG Connect). The main goal of this Unit is the development of a thriving European data ecosystem by setting out the right framework conditions and building up a data community across the EU, notably through the recently established data value Public-Private Partnership. The Unit is also responsible for R&I on data and language technologies, for EU policy on open data and the implementation of the Public Sector Information Directive. Beatrice has a special responsibility for leading the policy team of the Unit and drive forward the data action plan for Europe under the new Commission.

    Prior to her appointment Beatrice Covassi spent four years working at the EU Delegation to the US in Washington as the first EU Digital Economy Counsellor. In this position she lead transatlantic efforts on the digital economy, privacy, cybersecurity and Internet governance.

    WIL would like to congratulate Ms. Covassi on this new development in her career and wishes her the best in this next exciting endeavour.

  • 06 Mar 2014 10:39 | Deleted user

    WIL Member Afke Schaart, Senior Director for EU Institutional Affairs at Microsoft has published a compelling blog post ahead of International Women's Day (March 8th) titled 'Feminizing the Command Line'.

    The Blog, posted on Project Syndicate, addresses the ongoing efforts to achieve gender equality and female participation in the still male dominated informations and communnications sector. The blog captures the current landscape of the sector and re-emphasises what a lack of women in technology is costing the European economy.

    Read the inspired post here!

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