At SPIE, it’s every day March 8th!

Published on 06 March 2019

Mobilisation of the So’SPIE Ladies mixed network

Cergy, March 6th, 2019 – As every year, International Women’s Day is a key event in the mobilisation of the So’SPIE Ladies network, which has been working across all subsidiaries of the SPIE group since 2015 to promote equality in the workplace and encourage mixed-gender teams. Within SPIE France, two major topics have been chosen as the focus of the 2019 edition: the fight against unconscious stereotypes and female representation in the technical professions. Initiatives are being coordinated across all entities by the So’SPIE Ladies network and the executive committees with a view to benefiting the entire organisation.

Last September, six duos were formed in each of SPIE's French subsidiaries, combining a So'SPIE Ladies leader with a member of operations of the Executive Committee. These joint appointments have paved the way for new collective actions to promote gender diversity. The 8th of March is a powerful marker of their commitment.

Fighting stereotypes every day

An unconscious sexist bias is when, on a work site, I first address the man rather than the woman sitting next to him, before realizing she’s the one in charge... And I was the one who made that mistake!”, explains Corinne Figuereo, Director of Transformation and Innovation and coordinator of the So’SPIE Ladies network at SPIE France. By mimicry, it is common to unconsciously convey the same stereotypes from generation to generation.

Becoming aware of this phenomenon is an essential first step in deconstructing preconceived ideas about the work of men and women and their roles. Throughout the week of March 8th, employees from all subsidiaries will be involved in sharing views, videos, images and illustrations to highlight seemingly harmless but daily situations in workplaces, and also encouraging everyone to review how they think”, comments Olga Martin-Jarousse, Human Resources Director at SPIE France. All these expressions are disseminated on social networks and within each entity.

For example, at SPIE ICS, Gaël Chatelain, an author, speaker and management consultant, is hosting a conference about stereotypes. Around ten women are also in the spotlight on social media, sharing their experience and providing an insight into their daily lives at SPIE. SPIE Nucléaire is holding role-play sessions and meetings at several locations, as close as possible to work sites, with some focusing about harassment. In each division of SPIE Industrie & Tertiaire, meetings and debates around the So’SPIE Ladies network and the role of women in teams are planned, the aim being to raise awareness among as many employees as possible.

Attracting and retaining more women in technical professions

The recruitment and retention of female employees is a key challenge in all SPIE entities, as the Group's occupations are more traditionally carried out by men. In partnership with the Elles Bougent association, which aims to promote the scientific and technical fields among girls and young women, SPIE is actively involved in the “Girls on the Move” week from the 4th to 10th of March. Several site visits are being offered to groups of around 10 female students to encourage them to choose a technical profession and set out the career opportunities available at SPIE. Around twenty women from all subsidiaries, with varied profiles and backgrounds - from the Business Engineer to the Director of Quality, Health, Safety and Environment (QHSE) as well as the HVAC and electrical maintenance technician for automated system - have also agreed to express their opinion about SPIE's commitment to women and describe their daily work.

Enabling SPIE female employees to be actively involved in the development of the Group also means ensuring they are provided with fulfilling work conditions and a balanced life/work schedule. On March 7th, SPIE France will be holding a personal development conference hosted by Evelyne Rys, consultant and coach, on a topic that involves both men and women: “The art of improving our work-life balance”, “tools for rediscovering how to find time for ourselves.”

Corinne Figuereo is confident about this: “March 8th is an opportunity to focus on issues that affect everyone. Women's Day, because of its emphasis on inequality and as a symbol of the road ahead, is also addressed to men.

Olivier Domergue, Managing Director, is delighted with the initiatives taken by the subsidiaries of SPIE France. Very involved as the co-sponsor of the So'SPIE Ladies network for the group with Elisabeth Rasmussen, Group HR Director and sponsor for France, he confirms the commitments made and works every day to raise awareness of the impact of stereotypes on the daily lives of subsidiaries: "The best way to combat unconscious stereotypes is to promote equal participation of men and women in typically gendered roles to nourish our imagination, and our reason, with greater diversity, in the same way as the Executive Committee of SPIE France.