At Orange, we believe that equality is a powerful enabler for economic and social performance. Here’s a look back on our commitments and actions to promote equality – whatever gender people identify with – within the Group in general, and technical and digital professions in particular.
Investing in workplace gender equality
Professional equality has been central to our internal governance and employer policy for more than 15 years.
Our policy is based on five pillars : gender diversity in all professions, women’s access to leadership roles, equal pay for equal work, work-life balance, and zero tolerance to violence or discrimination.
On 17 June 2019, we were the first CAC40 company and telecoms operator to sign a global Group agreement on workplace gender equality, zero tolerance to violence or discrimination, and work-life balance with international federation UNI Global Union.
In France, three-year agreements on professional gender equality and work-life balance have been signed with trade unions since 2004, with the sixth agreement signed within the Orange SA scope on 22 December 2021.
Woman at Orange in 2020
proportion of employees worldwide
proportion within leadership networks
(top 1,300 managers)
proportion of managers
proportion of technical and digital roles (innovations and technology)
By 2025, we aim to achieve
technical and digital roles
in leadership/governing roles
for equal work
This proactive policy has resulted in us being ranked 23rd out of 4,000 companies worldwide in the Equileap Gender Equality 2022 report, 2nd in our business sector. In France, we achieved a score of 94/100 in the equal pay index (known as the Pénicaud index) from the Ministry of Labor.
Since 2011, diversity and equality policy and commitments have been audited and certified at Group level in 19 entities and 18 countries, by an independent external body under the GEEIS (Gender Equality and Diversity for European & International Standard) label.
Boosting women’s employability, especially in technical and digital roles
While women occupy only 24% of digital jobs in the world, and even fewer are in training for tech professions, we are doing what we can to combat inequality and ensure the domain becomes more inclusive.
The Hello Women program, launched in October 2020 and deployed in association with several partners in more than 20 countries, is a concrete response to our ambition to drive greater equality in technical roles.
The program aims to increase female representation in technical and digital jobs in four ways:
- Raising awareness of tech jobs among young girls and students
- Identifying and attracting more women into technical professions
- Retraining more women into these highly employable sectors
- Retaining women in technical professions
Raising awareness among young girls and students and recruiting women
We support non-profits such as Les Intrépides de La Tech in France, which raises awareness among middle and high school girls about digital careers. We also work innovative social enterprises, such as 50inTech, a community of the most inclusive tech companies. Demystifying digital professions among girls and young women also means contributing to programs such as “shadowing”, which enable female students to spend a day in the life of a female engineer or technician in the Group. Mentoring is also available in partnership with associations such as Capital Filles, in France and Romania. Elles Bougent is a women’s network that encourages young girls and combats stereotypes within the science and technology sector. We are also with Science Factor, which runs a competition among final year students.
Retraining and building loyalty in these sectors
We also actively recruit women into these highly employable sectors: since 2019, Orange has been a signatory of the Manifesto for the retraining of women in digital professions. We have set up specific retraining schemes, including technician, business manager or engineer classes, to recruit more women into these roles, after a work-study program of 6 to 12 months. In France, since 2012, nearly 600 Orange women have benefited from these classes.
Our Digital Center program, run by the Orange Foundation, supports unemployed or unqualified women via long-term training (six months to a year). Some women learn vital skills: writing, mathematics, using a computer, a tablet... Others learn how to use software and internet. By the end of 2021, there were 362 Digital Centers in 23 Orange countries. Since 2015, 45,000 women have benefited from this training.
Is AI sexist?
An unequal gender balance in AI risks entrenching biases and inequalities across a worrying number of areas. That’s why we’re stepping up our efforts to ensure ethical and fair AI development. To combat all forms of discrimination or unconscious risk of bias related to data processing, Orange joined forces with the Arborus Endowment fund in April 2020 as the first signatory of the International Charter for Inclusive AI. Now signed by more than 100 organizations, the charter aims to be a reference for all companies committed to diversity and inclusion.
Encouraging female entrepreneurship
We have also set up our own specific support structures for female entrepreneurs. In 2020, we launched the International Women’s Prize as a main category within our Orange Social Venture Prize Africa & the Middle East, which has taken place every year since 2011.
Every year we support 100 female business founders or co-founders as part of our #FemmesEntrepreneuses program in France. This support can take various forms such as a business space, coaching, mentoring, networking, testing, targeted training, and workshops.
Another example of supporting entrepreneurial projects led by women is through Orange Ventures, our Corporate investment fund, which signed the SISTA charter in September 2020, along with the movement launched in the United States –#MovingForward – which fights against discrimination in investment.
Promoting women’s access to leadership roles
While women now represent 32% of managers, we are committed to offering everyone the same opportunities for professional development.
How do we encourage women to apply for senior management positions?
We follow a joint detection and selection process in addition to a proactive selection approach to potential candidates. This includes boosting skills via networking and women’s collectives.
How do we support them throughout their career?
We offer women equal access to development and mentoring programs, whether mixed or dedicated, as well as long-term career support. We also invite them to join internal or inter-company networks and events. Managers and HR managers are also made aware of the importance of this issue.
Ensuring equal pay for equal work
In accordance with Convention No. 100 of the International Labor Organization on equal remuneration for men and women for equal work, we believe pay should be based on the level of training, skills, experience, and responsibility, not on the person’s gender.
We’re working to reduce the wage gap and achieve equal standing for comparable professions by 2025, through a common statistical reference system deployed throughout the Group. We are also committed to guaranteeing equal pay for all new hires
Raising awareness and fighting against all forms of violence and discrimination
We are actively involved in the prevention, detection, and resolution of any kind of sexism, harassment, or violence in the workplace.
We also support employees who are victims of domestic violence. In November 2021, Orange signed the Commitment Charter against domestic violence..
Awareness and training tools are offered to all employees, to better understand the consequences of stereotypes, discrimination, and violence. Policies and processes to remedy these situations are also in place.