Marlène Schiappa in New York to promote Women in Corporate Leadership [fr]

Marlène Schiappa, the French Secretary of State in charge of Equality between Women and Men, was in New York on January 31st, 2018 to promote Women in Corporate Leadership.

January 31st, 2018 - New York Stock Exchange

"Ladies and gentlemen,

Dear friends,

It’s a real pleasure for me to be here with you this morning and to open this great event, with my dear Minister Maryam Monsef, Women in corporate leadership initiative.

We met in G7 in Italy a few months ago and you told me how excited you were about your G7 presidency, and how Canada will take gender equality seriously.
I’m so glad to see it right now and, as President Emmanuel Macron did in Davos, I want to say how the commitment for women of your Prime Minister Justin Trudeau matters in the whole world.

We in France are often proud of ourselves… and sometimes we have good reasons to be so! President Emmanuel Macron decided to make equality between men and women the great cause of his five-year term. He already succeeded to put more women in the Parliament. Because as a political leader he decided to trust women, we managed to almost double the number of women elected.

That leadership must be accompanied by effective policy, and effective and radical measures.

Clearly women must be represented at every hierarchical level of the company. And women’s presence in management positions is not justified by any skills that would be gender specific. At the risk of disappointing some of you: we are no softer, no gentler, no kindlier, and we don’t make coffee any better!

You know in France President Emmanuel Macron with Prime Minister Edouard Philippe chose to create a government with new ministers, coming from civil society. So, for the last ten years, as Chairman of a network of women in the workforce, I worked hard to help companies understand that they are not doing women a favor when they are hiring them. Women are doing companies a favor by agreeing to be hired and to put their talents and competences at their service!

I’m proud to tell it here today to you, because I had the idea to create my own network “Maman travaille” (Mum is working) at the JFK airport 10 years ago by looking at an ad for a working mothers network in New York.

All the studies show us that reality: companies running with mixity and diversity are companies with better economic performances!

But ten years later, women leadership and gender parity are still a huge and permanent challenge. The World Economic Forum has done the maths: if we do nothing more, gender equality at work will come in 2234! We can’t wait two centuries! We can’t tell our daughters that maybe one day for their grand grand grand daughters, maybe one day their prince will come and so will gender equality...

That’s why the President announced a partnership with the World Economic Forum in Davos last week so we’ll achieve gender equality at the end of his first term or maybe the second. That public private taskforce we are creating to close gender pay gap makes us the first Western country to commit to such a partnership.

So we have to work harder and we have to think global, work global with local impact.

- With quotas. Quotas in France have proved fruitful. We were slightly above the average in 2012 (20% women in executive seats) and today our companies top at 37%. Still, that is not enough and chair roles are still held mainly by men;
- With best paternity leave;
- Maternity leave even for entrepreneurs;
- Best practices, but also control and sanctions - name and shame policy.

And I believe that working against sexual violence and street harassment will also provide women better conditions and a better state of mind in order to lead their careers.

Before concluding I would like to thank a great French boss, Catherine Barba, whom I had the pleasure to interview when I was a young journalist ten years ago, as a role model she is! France is proud of your sense of innovation and entrepreneurship! And I want to thank L’Oreal because they’re worth it... that one was easy! In France L’Oreal is a leader in salary transparency and we are working with them. And to thank Engie, with whom the government works very closely thanks to such committed women like Isabelle Kocher and Elizabeth Richard. And I am proud that Virginie Morgon is becoming the CEO of Eurazeo in a financial world that is not always welcoming for women. And we need to make more room for young entrepreneurs such as Maelle Gavet who are disrupting the market.

You see, when you truly want to quote brilliant women, you can!
I don’t want to hear anymore that sentence: we didn’t find any women...
We are everywhere!

So by now it will be very simple in France: you want to make gender equality a reality in your company? The government will help you.

You don’t want to? The state will sanction and name and shame you.

My eldest daughter is already eleven: I can’t ask her to wait two centuries before her first job!

And I know USA, Canada and all of you don’t have more patience than me.
Thank you."

Marlène Schiappa gave an interview to Bloomberg and Cheddar.

Wansquare also published an article about her visit in New York.

Last modified on 23/08/2019

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