In 2021, why is it still essential to talk about the place of women in the world of work? Quite simply because, despite notable, albeit very gradual and widely encouraged, advances in legislation, there is still a long way to go to offer new generations the business and society model that meets their expectations. While a positive and encouraging dynamic has taken place around diversity in recent years, companies still have at their disposal several levers to activate to help accelerate this virtuous transition.
A still fragile balance, which only needs to be strengthened
Roudy law on professional equality (1983), Copé-Zimmermann law on the balanced representation of women and men on boards of directors and supervisory boards (2011) or the law for the freedom to choose one’s professional future ( 2018): progressive, these texts have undoubtedly enabled clear progress in terms of gender diversity at work. However, the latter remains to this day a fragile balance, the necessary consolidation of which must be the concern of all: women and men, companies and the State.
Getting to grips with the subject of diversity means wanting to change historical, deeply rooted modes of operation, little questioned and perpetuated within organizations initially designed by and for men. Self-censorship, impostor syndrome… In addition to these regrettable biases from which many women suffer, a new risk has recently been added, directly born of the accelerated transformation of working methods. Indeed, the spread of teleworking has not been without consequences for women and especially mothers, more likely than men to work from home. A risk factor for altering the balance of diversity, already delicate, which calls on companies to question themselves and redouble their vigilance.
Diversity, a formidable lever of performance and attractiveness for the company
The richness brought by diversity, and more specifically diversity, is no longer to be proven. Being equal does not mean being identical: the variety of needs, ways of thinking, backgrounds, temperaments, strengths and aptitudes is precisely the key resource that allows teams to nurture their thinking and creativity, and therefore companies to innovate and perform. . To optimize, or even increase tenfold, their efficiency and competitiveness, companies are invited to promote diversity by creating an environment of trust that allows women to show the full extent of their potential.
This development of inclusion at all hierarchical levels of the company corresponds precisely to the expectations of young people of Generation Z, who are gradually entering the job market and for whom the values and commitments of companies are the criteria of choice. Open-minded, in search of meaning, very attached to the work-life balance as well as to the managerial methods that they wish to be more horizontal and inclusive, these new and future employees make their requirements known and ask to be convinced . Only true diversity, mixed by definition, will be able to rethink the ideal company of tomorrow: this is a fundamental transformation, both urgent and necessary for the sustainability and attractiveness of organizations of all sizes and from all sectors of activity.
Role models and indicative measurement of gender diversity, two levers to accelerate
Role models play a decisive role in the ability of women to project themselves, to be ambitious and to gain self-confidence. Today, it is the responsibility of companies to contribute not only to increasing success stories, but also to diversifying the range of inspirational models: many young women fail to identify with these professionals whose profiles, backgrounds and styles are unfortunately too often similar. In addition, beyond encouraging women to seek strategic positions at the highest level of the company, it is also a question of organizing meetings and developing mentoring programs, primarily where the divide is taking place. , from school orientation and middle management positions.
Finally, another major lever: measurement. Without necessarily going through a quota policy, the figures make it possible to question practices, whether in terms of recruitment, remuneration or even internal development. These indicators constitute valuable resources for strengthening or correcting certain trends at a time when it is interesting to note that diversity tends to be perceived as a non-subject by the younger generations, for whom it seems natural: however, it is It is precisely when one ceases to be vigilant that the risk of regression increases. And diversity must still – and undoubtedly more than ever – be accompanied and supported by collective effort. So that each woman feels free to be daring, to be herself, and to flourish in her professional and personal life by fully exploiting her potential.
Virginie Chauvin is partner and member of the Executive Committee of Mazars in France, Mathilde Le Coz is Director of Human Resources for Mazars in France and President of Lab RH.