Only 24% of technical roles worldwide are filled by women and the number of women with technical training is declining. This is why it is a priority to fight inequality and promote more inclusive technology.
We firmly believe that gender equality, in all functions and at all levels, is a powerful performance enabler. Here’s an overview of what we are doing to promote gender equality within the Group in general, and technical professions in particular.
8 March 2021: Orange is giving women a voice
This year, to mark International Women’s Day, Elizabeth Tchoungui, Executive Director CSR, Diversity and Philanthropy, will present a special programme to celebrate how women help create value in technical professions.
On the agenda: a broad range of guest presenters, exceptional and inspiring thought leaders and an overview of our initiatives for increasing female representation in the world of technology
Gender equality, a long-standing commitment
Gender equality in the workplace has been central to our internal governance and employer policy for more than 15 years.
Our gender equality policy is based on five pillars: gender balance in all roles, women’s access to senior positions, equal pay, work-life balance, and combatting violence.
In 2019, we were the first CAC40 company and telecoms operator to sign with the UNI Global Union a global Group agreement on workplace gender equality, work-life balance and combatting discrimination. In France, three-year agreements on workplace gender equality have been signed with the unions since 2004. The 5th agreement, signed in January 2018, has been extended until December 2021.
By 2025, we aim to achieve at the Group level:
- 35 % women in senior positions,
- 25 % women in technical and digital professions,
- Like-for-like pay equality.
Our proactive gender equality policy has resulted in our being placed 10th, out of 3,700 companies around the world, in the Equileap global Gender Equality ranking 2021. In France, we achieved a score of 94/100 in the equal pay index (also known as the Pénicaud index) implemented by the Ministry of Labour.
And in July 2020, we were positioned 9th overall and 1st in our business sector in the female representation ranking of the Paris stock market SBF 120 index.
Women at Orange in 2020
proportion of employees
proportion within leader/executive networks
proportion of managers
proportion of technical roles (innovation and technology)
The Hello Women programme, launched in 2020, is organised in 4 objectives to increase female representation in digital and technical job roles:
- Raise awareness of tech jobs among young girls and students
- Identify, attract and recruit more women into technical professions
- Convert more women for technical professions
- Retain more women in technical professions
Boosting women’s employability
We know that achieving gender equality demands a profound cultural transformation. This is why, beyond just boosting numbers, we’re helping demystify digital professions among girls and young women in France via programmes such as “shadowing”, which enables students to spend a day in the life of a female engineer or technician within the Group.
We also forge partnerships with local universities to promote internships and training in technical and digital professions in Romania and Poland.
Is AI sexist?
Did you know that only 12% of AI(2) researchers are women? This is not only shocking it’s dangerous, because it entrenches bias and inequality everywhere the technology is deployed. That’s why we’re stepping up our efforts to promote greater fairness and ethics in AI. In 2020, we were the first company to be certified with the GEEIS AI (Gender Equality & Diversity for European and International Standard) label.
We also try to recruit women into high-potential digital sectors to boost their career opportunities.
We support on-the-job training courses that run for 6 or 12 months to apply for positions such as technicians, business managers and engineers and therefore enable women to progress.
Since 2012, more than 550 women have benefited from these courses at Orange.
In October 2020, Orange opened its Apprentice Training Centre (CFA) which, despite the health crisis, welcomed 80 work-study students into the fields of cybersecurity, cloud and customer services.
In the future, we’re aiming for 30% female representation in these courses.
Increasing women’s social inclusion
While digital skills are a known enabler for empowerment, freedom and equal access to the labour market, more than half of all women worldwide (52%) still have no internet access compared to 42% of men .
We offer training courses that allow women of all ages and from all backgrounds to boost their tech skills in our operating countries around the world.
Our Digital Centre programme, run by the Orange Foundation, actively supports women’s empowerment through 320 centres in 23 countries. In some countries, they help women to access paid employment. In others, they help them find a job, return to work or retrain for a different job. This is long-term digital 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.
Encouraging female entrepreneurship
French start-ups founded by women are 30% less likely to raise the funds they need than those created by men although they perform better and guarantee better returns.
To support their business projects, Orange Ventures, our corporate investment fund, signed the SISTA charter in September 2020. It has also backed the #MovingForward campaign in the United States since March 2019, which fights against discrimination among investors.
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 offers funding of €20,000 for a start-up led by a woman or offering a positive social impact for women.
Every year we support 100 female business founders or co-founders as part of our #FemmesEntrepreneuses programme.
This support can take various forms such as a business space, coaching, mentoring, networking, testing, targeted training and workshops.
Another example is our Women in Tech initiative launched by Orange Silicon Valley in the United States at the end of 2018. The community meets regularly to discuss diversity and inclusion within ICT with the objective of making female innovation more visible, accessible and tangible from a business point of view.