Call for action: takeaways of the Women's Forum #WFGM17


By Louise Piednoir

Innovation & Digital - Strategy, Development, Transformation, Partnerships, Keolis

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The past week was special to me and I wanted to write for the first time on a topic I have been reflecting on and (as a working woman) experiencing for many years now.

I was very honored to attend the Women's Forum Global Meeting here in Paris with some of the many great women transforming mobility at Keolis


This forum is often considered the Davos of women. To be honest, I didn't really know what to expect except debates with tremendous panelists around women and diversity, as well as a great opportunity of networking. It was the case – CEOs, private, non-private and public figures all gathered in one place (details available here). But it was so much more: what an inspiration and call for action!


It is important to notice that out of the 2,200 attendees 25% were men - because without you gentlemen this is a lost battle :-)


This year the theme was Engaging for impact: daring to lead in a disrupted world. A special tribute was paid to Simone Veil. It is indeed not possible to reflect the diversity of topics that were addressed around economy, society and sustainable development.

So I wanted to share some of my takeaways about diversity and inclusiveness.


First, the business case for diversity and inclusion is there: $12 trillion GDP are at stake by 2025 (more info on MacKinsey's Women Matter report).


Second, we face a disruption (digitization, environmental change) where you need to get more women and diversity involved because diverse companies succeed best (both in terms of performance and ability to overcome old problems with new solutions).


Third, we are moving too slow: it would take us 117 years at this pace to turn our societies truly equal and diverse (more info on OECD's last report on gender equality).

In a nutshell the only matter now is how we walk the talk and grasp the immense benefits that lay right in front of us.


So, here are some simple tips for all:

For women and men

·        All stereotypes start at home: dare to reflect on the way you raise your girls vs your boys and act

·        In business : if you are a manager or a HR person :

o  Dare to ask for any open position (even at Board level) to have someone with a diverse profile in the top 3 finalists

o  If the diversity balance is not there, dare to ask only for diverse profiles for certain positions

o  When you act, simply dare to act and get results: too much internal communication may generate disconsideration of the persons getting these new opportunities. Communicate only once you have results

o  Dare to influence your stakeholders, especially suppliers: and if they do not know how to proceed, support them in their diversity journey

o  Dare to leverage new technologies to provide more flexibility (telework) to embrace the variety of personal situations your workforce is facing and unleash its productivity

o  Dare to be fair: work your internal data and align compensation for the same job

o  Dare to promote women based on their potential (as is done for men), not on their past successes

o  Dare to accept that leadership is multifaceted

For women

o  Take a fresh view: dare to consider that your impact is great: promote your achievements, do not diminish them (stop using the word "small"...)

o  Dare to keep and speak out your ambition

o  Dare to ask for support and involve your partners, families, friends, colleagues, coaches....

o  Dare to fail

o  Dare to make choices: having it all (perfect worker + perfect mum + perfect friend + perfect lover, etc…) is a deceptive and guilt-triggering myth: only you can tell what makes you happy, not social schemes

o  In a word, dare to be free

So thank you Women's Forum, for creating such an event in the great city of Paris and pushing me to dare publishing this article.

Happy to continue this conversation with anyone interested.