March 8th, the day devoted to women's rights, provides Groupe BPCE with a perfect opportunity to restate its commitment to gender equality.
Even today, many qualified and competent women still fail to follow the professional careers they deserve; only very few have been appointed to the Management Committees of French companies and managed to break through the infamous “glass ceiling.”
And this bleak observation is backed up by the statistics! A CSA-KPMG study carried out in 2015 indicates that only 14% of French companies are run by women. These rather disheartening findings reveal the persistent nature of stereotypes and the need to remain deeply committed.
There can no longer be any question about Groupe BPCE's determination to achieve a better gender mix. This is one of the priorities of the Human Resources Department, which has set itself specific objectives in terms of recruitment, training and promotion, given formal existence in an agreement signed for the 2016-2018 period. The actions taken to enable women to gain greater visibility include the publication of a guide to gender diversity, speed-meeting sessions with managers, and a training program to support the burgeoning of women's talents… to mention just a few!
Because the problem is clear: women seem less confident than men when it comes to ‘selling’ their skills and building their networks. A few women have realized the extent of this handicap and taken steps to mitigate it by developing women's networks in the various Groupe BPCE companies. Their objective: to promote the place and image of women and facilitate their access to positions of responsibility.
Today, 31 women's networks are up and running within the Group. Groupe BPCE’s Elles (“The women”) network, which boasts 350 members and recently opened its blog; the Essenti'Elles network of BPCE SA is also very active, offering a host of actions including mentoring, social network awareness workshops, business line conferences and, more recently, reverse mentoring, a practice that consists in an expert sharing his or her expertise with a male or female executive. These activities make people more highly aware of the women involved… to whom Nicole Etchegoïnberry, Chairwoman of the Management Board of the Caisse d'Epargne Loire-Centre and head of Groupe BPCE’s Elles network, repeats the following message as often as possible: “Dare, resist, build your networks, and stay a woman.”