In technology's early days women played a major role. And in many ways they are to be recognised as innovators and initiators. Which is why it’s so hard to understand why they have seemingly traded their pioneer status for that of invisibility, leaving the light shine to shine on their male counterparts.
Check out the poignant testimonies of a few of Comet's female IT experts: Claire Bellivier, DevOps with several French and international companies, and Mona El Asri, Project Manager at TF1. To be a woman in this world peppered with over-represented by male icons (Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Bill Gates), requires unparalleled determination. Cultural and social influences, have intentionally or unconsciously taken women away from this sector they could be a force to be reckoned with. This is why we’ve asked our experts to present to us their professional journey strewn with difficulties with complete transparency. Happy reading!
The current situation in France
France is making healthy progress in equality between men and women as compared to its European counterparts, with the greatest allocation of females on boards of directors. The government, eager to assert its position as a Startup Nation, is transferring this ambition to the tech sector with the aim of being at the forefront of innovation. Gender diversity is only possible when it is applied at all levels, starting with the company. The implementation of insertion strategies appropriate to the very specific tech sector is still extremely necessary.
Despite legislative progress, the real feminization of this sector is not really advancing. According to figures from a study, symbolically titled "Gender Scan", the number of female tech graduates has fallen by 11% over the past 5 years. This decline is in line with the diversity in this professional environment. The figures speak for themselves: women represent only 17% of the tech workforce over the past three years. The French government has tried to solve this problem last year with a law on "the economic emancipation of women".
This law encourages banks to provide financial assistance to business creators, establishing a quota system in companies to promote parity, and facilitates the professional reintegration of women after maternity leave. And finally, it gives more value to women in the professions of the future, particularly in the field of innovation and tech. At least that's the theoretical part, but on the practical side, there is still (a lot of ) room for improvement!
Women pioneers of Tech
Women had a dominant role in the computer and technology sector in the 1950s. They are at the origin of the creation of programming, the first software and even wifi. In the 19th century, the very first program was created by a woman named Ada Lovelace. Threatened, men then gradually took hold of this new discipline, marking the first form of exclusion of women in the technology sector. They hastened to give it a new identity, both more scientific and masculine. The marketing of the time strongly contributed to the acceleration of this trend by broadcasting advertisements showing men as dominant in the sector.
From the 1970s, the trend was clearly established, the male workforce in the tech sector doubled and thus marked the start of a meteoric rise. While women simultaneously deserted the sector.
To reverse this trend, it would suffice to tap into the history of computing, to remind the world that women are at the origin of it, to allow young girls to identify with this environment by promoting the profiles of heroines of tech. Society should also place more value and recognition on female expertise in tech and data. And it's not just a question of gender equality! This diversity is essential to meet our current and future needs.
An inevitable "empowerment" to transcend Tech
Empowering women in the tech sector is a priority so that they can access the jobs of the future, which in reality already represent the jobs of today. It is the simple equation between the concepts of justice, equity and economic performance. The feminization of technological fields could have a snowball effect on global growth. More diversity would generate an increase in innovation, attractiveness, competitiveness and therefore wealth. Gender equality is a major issue for diversity! The health crisis has demonstrated (once again) the importance of the role of women in the survival of the company, in particular thanks to their benevolent leadership, their analytical capacities and their natural resilience. This diversity in the broad sense is undeniable to the performance and success of the company.
Gender parity is established long before one’s working life has started. School has a major role to play in demystifying this craze for technology and breaking geek codes that tend to put girls off. For little women to feel motivated and legitimate to pursue studies in this field, the education system needs to open up possibilities, by teaching them to become more familiar with technological practices and develop their appetite for digital. The world of technology is extremely dynamic, so the more women find their place in it, the more innovation and entrepreneurship will ensure!