Gender equality in technical roles: Orange commits

International Women’s Day has given Orange the opportunity to reaffirm its commitment to a more balanced representation of women and men working in technical roles and innovation. The Group is proactively demystifying these professions for women thereby enabling a greater uptake in terms of career development and recruitment. As a transformation priority, team cohesion and performance in the workplace, along with gender equality in new technical roles, leads to progress.

Orange woman technician

For too long people have thought technical roles and innovation were just for men.

At the end of the 19th century in the telecoms sector, cable girls, although numerous, were not recruited for their technical skills or their development potential. They were taken on because they were young, polite and pleasant sounding. It wasn’t until 1928 that they could join their male counterparts in applying for a clerkship to develop their careers. And in the same spirit, the law only enabled women to take part in the entrance exam for the Ecole Polytechnique in 1970.

Women are still underrepresented in the technology and innovation sectors.

Almost 50 years after the Ecole Polytechnique accepted its first women, there are still no more than 30% enrolled on science and technical courses within higher education. While it’s known that the level of employee fulfilment and engagement within innovative organisations is higher in gender balanced teams, women still account for only a third of all jobs in tech companies worldwide.

Global Contact’s 2017 Gender Scan™ study

Orange reaffirms its strong commitment to gender equality.

For more than 15 years, the Group has been very attentive to the issue of diversity in each of its operating countries. Manager training ensures that the impact of stereotyping women is minimised. The Group firmly believes that professional equality contributes to social and economic performance and has made it one of the axes of its strategic plan. There is dedicated governance to ensure it is maintained correctly. 

Gender equality in technical roles at Orange is encouraged through targeted recruitment.

There are concrete actions in place to promote future generations of women in technical roles at Orange: technical job descriptions made more attractive to women, technician's classes which offer unemployed women apprenticeship training in France, and a 100% female recruitment scheme for future engineers graduating from ESIEA and IN’TECH within the Group.

Orange is involved in primary and secondary education to encourage young girls into technical careers.

Career development can be disadvantaged through outside limitations and limiting beliefs, which are inherited from old ways of doing things. To promote technical careers and give girls more confidence in their futures, women working at Orange lead by example and inspire them with their passion.
In several countries, young girls can experience a day-in-the-life of a female engineer or technician at Shadowing Days organised by Orange subsidiaries.  
The Elles bougent association offers women engineers the chance to talk about their careers at dedicated events in partnership with large organisations including Orange.  
The Science Factor contest is open to equal numbers of boys and girls in Years 7 and 13, promoting female leadership by enabling girls to head up the participating teams.  

For technological innovation to reflect our society’s rich diversity, equality has to be a driving force. 

Across the ages, too few women have stood out in the scientific world in the same way as Hedy Lamarr, the Hollywood actress who invented the technology behind Wi-Fi and mobile telephony in the 1940s.

At the beginning of the 21st century, the balance must shift to enable more women to progress in the field of innovation. Orange is an active player in the digital revolution and as such is reinforcing its commitment to contribute to greater gender equality to enable a smarter, more open and more responsible society.

    

Women at Orange: key figures

  • 36% of the total workforce
  • 30% of the Group’s managers
  • 33% of the Group’s Executive Committee
  • 24% of the IT business
  • 15% of the networks business

Orange has received wide recognition for its commitment to gender equality including the 2019 Gender Equality Index Bloomberg and the Gender Equality European and International Standard (GEEIS) since 2011.