Overcoming gender stereotypes

Just like diversity, professional equality is an important value in our corporate culture.

We are convinced that gender diversity and gender equality in the workplace are key drivers of social progress and sustainable performance. That’s why we place the career development of our staff at the heart of our employment policy.

How can we improve the gender balance at work?

Legislation has enabled major advances to be made in the area of professional equality. In 2000, the employment modernisation law allowed women to work night shifts and opened up all the positions in our company to women.

The French PACTE law and the law on the freedom to choose one’s professional future led to the creation of a Gender Equality Index illustrating the professional equality policy of companies with more than 250 employees.

Despite these legislative advances, few women work in industrial and technical jobs. In our company, the distribution of female staff within the various departments remains uneven.

For example, they represent 90% of the Human Resources department, but only 19% of our total workforce, despite having access to any role and benefiting from the same rules on professional equity and pay as their male colleagues, with no considerations other than competence and merit.

Gender diversity: gender stereotypes persist

Stereotypes and prejudices persist and are holding us back from greater gender equality in our industry. Foremost among these is the idea that women and men have different skills, which unconsciously steers women towards healthcare professions or in the service sector, for example, and men towards science, technology or politics.

To combat these stereotypes, we offer our female employees the opportunity to take part with the recruitment team to open days at the CFA Papetier (papermaking apprenticeship training centre) for instance, so they can demonstrate that it is possible to find an exciting job in industry as a woman.

How can we combat gender stereotypes?

We are doing our part and trying to set an example. In five years, our management committee has achieved gender parity, with an equal number of men and women.

In 2023, we achieved a score of 87/100 on our Gender Equality Index.

And to counteract the stereotypes and fears associated with what are considered to be male-dominated professions, we are giving a voice to the women in our industry. They are engineers, technicians or operators, they embody our company, they show that it is possible to make a career here and they illustrate that industry can be a woman’s world!

Every year, they take the floor on our social media pages. They explain their educational backgrounds and describe their working conditions and how they were welcomed into their jobs.

Séverine Buthier, Human Resources Director

How can we establish the legitimacy of women at work?

Our Human Resources department sets out to be the guarantor of equal treatment, whether in terms of recruitment, individual pay rises, access to training or career development. It is careful to give men and women the same opportunities.

However, we do not practise positive discrimination. Our recruitment department is trained to be neutral and egalitarian in its treatment of applicants. Our recruitment decisions are based solely on objective criteria relating to professional aptitudes and interpersonal skills. In our view, this helps to establish the legitimacy of the women promoted or recruited in our company.

At the same time, internal awareness campaigns are conducted every year to provide a common definition of sexist behaviour, sexual assault and harassment (whether sexual or not). With this common base of acceptable behaviour established, we have zero tolerance for anyone who contravenes it.