Posted on Feb 15, 2021 2021 at 7:00Updated Feb 15, 2021 2021 at 23:34
“Being the only woman has always been my reference. “ Aude, 38, is one of the 5% of female airline pilots worldwide (Source: Statistica 2018). She did not see it badly – on the contrary. “We benefit from a form of respect, admits the pilot, reigning world aerobatic champion since 2014. At first, when I found myself with other women on a plane, the flight attendants, it made me feel weird. “ She smiles : ” Matter of habit. “
Like her, women who have chosen so-called “masculine” professions, because historically occupied by men, have come to terms with this special status. Developer at Sipios, Clara, twenty-five, confides: “Since the end of high school, I have always had this minority position, whether in my studies or in business. “ Statistics support his testimony, since only 17% of programmers are women (Source: Insee 2017). According to her, it was a ” asset », Valued by schools and companies, both being in a logic of feminization. Coveted rare pearls? The director of school 42, Sophie Viger, notes in any case that “The school has historically welcomed fewer girls”. “But, on average, their salaries are slightly higher”, she confided during a round table organized by “Les Echos Start” on February 5th.
“We are not here by chance”
“I don't know if I was lucky, but I have never been the victim of sexist remarks”, Clara also testifies. “I have always felt listened to, respected. Actually not treated any differently from my male colleagues ”, tells the one who worked in rather young teams. Since the publication of the letter from Susan Fowler, an engineer stationed at Uber who denounced the sexual harassment of one of her superiors in 2017, tech companies seem (finally) to take the matter head-on and do their soul-searching. . Likewise in programming schools and IT sectors, where the publication of the shock study carried out by Social Builder at the end of 2017 had the effect of a bomb: seven out of ten students said they had been the object of sexism. in the broad sense, ranging from jokes to sexual blackmail. Spared, Clara testifies to a benevolent environment: “In my team, they encouraged me to take responsibility. They told me to go for it and supported me. I lacked self-confidence and self-confidence, I didn't dare. “
Others, like Clara or Aude, have also found their account in this singular status, even made it a strength. It is the case of Iza, forty-six years old, another pilot of planes, of collection this time. “We're not here by chance, unlike men, so it inevitably builds character. We know why we got there, so we're not going to give up. It is my expertise that gives me my legitimacy. “ Since 2012, it offers its services to filmmakers for the shooting of period films. “I love being a bridge between two worlds. On the sets, I make the link between the techniques and the creatives. “ Before, she played another role of smuggler: she was the director of an IT company and unraveled the mysteries of the back office for salespeople. In these “Men's circles” that she has never forbidden herself, Iza Bazin is convinced: “Once you have nothing more to prove, you really add something as a woman. Diversity, whatever it is, brings wealth. “
Expertise as a shield
Still we must not doubt. For fifteen years in the building sector, Agathe, forty-four, looks back on her initial feeling of“Illegitimacy”. “When I started, the women who worked in the building did not have technical functions. “ To get started, alone in this world of concrete and men, she wanted to train, to be unbeatable. Precisely, the challenge of being one of the pioneers on the construction sites appealed to her. With the idea of rising through the ranks, she held on despite the pitfalls, ignoring sexist remarks, pointing out pay differences, pushing back her desire for children or sometimes banging her fist on the table.
“Finally, I realized that I didn't need to prove more than a man that I deserved my place. I imposed what I was, a woman. And I saw that it was OK. Now I agree with myself. “ In 2021, again by challenge, she set up her company, Smartnance, and is part of the 4% of women leaders in the construction sector in London (Source: FFB). When she launched her entrepreneurial project two years ago, subcontractors followed her, and orders have been raining in since. “Now it's the most macho, the toughest, who come to say bravo. “
The backgrounds of these women command respect. But isn't it because they are exceptional that they are accepted? Marie Buscatto, sociologist, author of the book “Sociologies du genre”, republished by Editions Armand Colin in 2021, answers: “We have made a twofold observation: women who work in men's circles are both ‘over-selected' and ‘over-socialized'. ” In other words, they are very well prepared by their family and school education, very surrounded and very comfortable in these universes. “The others have been squeezed out by the accumulation of informal mechanisms unfavorable to women (lack of co-optation, difficulty in fitting into social networks, persistent weight of gender stereotypes, etc.), but they are not there to talk about it. “, recalls the researcher.
“If it's not me, who will?” “
Whatever the field, all of them want their jobs to be feminized, and even favor companies where women are present in technical sections. That was one of the criteria for Claire, thirty-two, an engineer, when she was hired by Back Market. “Today is the first time in my career that I feel treated like a developer and not like a woman! They challenge my opinion in a benevolent way without constantly referring me to my genre. “ So that others imitate her, she decided to join, in parallel with her job, the team of the Ada Tech School, which wants “Break the codes” by feminizing tech. “These jobs are fascinating, women have all the qualities to flourish there and they should not be deprived of them. “
And those who have managed to find a place in these spheres, by promoting their skills, want to stay there, without sacrificing their convictions. “I feel like I have to be as transparent as possible. As soon as there is something wrong, you have to say it. For example, as soon as there is an inappropriate remark, I cannot miss it ”, testifies Wendy, twenty-four, who takes care of repairing the carcasses of planes. In the structural mechanics division where she works, out of a hundred workers, she only met two older women. “If I'm not pointing them out to them, who will?” I have to show the other girls that we can do it. “
This double posture of fighter and role model can be tiring. To give them strength, Clara Moley, commodity trader and gender specialist in business, gives valuable advice in the fifth episode of her podcast, Rules of the game, intended for working women. “In a 100% male environment” : “Choose your battles […] because it is difficult to reconcile social integration and political conviction. Don't let anything go that shocks you and let go of what shocks you less, to save you money. You cannot be on all fronts. It's not all about being a woman, it's up to you to remind them. “
Where are the women in the digital world?
30 %. This is the share of women in the digital sector, and mainly in so-called “support” functions such as human resources, administration, marketing or communication, according to figures from the Femmes @ numérique site.
If we look more closely at the technical sectors, their share is divided into two: among the technicians of studies and development in computer science, they are 16%, and among the technicians in installation, maintenance, support and services to the computer users, they are now only 14%.
If we look at IT jobs, women are even rarer since they represent only 28% of the workforce, and 11% in cybersecurity. On the start-up side, only 7% are headed by women. And all of those numbers have been dropping in recent years. However, digital technology is in a talent shortage since it is estimated that 40% of positions are unfilled in the sector.