Bringing women closer to Tech: our challenge for equality and performance
08.03.2022 | Diversity and inclusion
The BNP Paribas Group has set itself an ambitious target: to have 37% of women in our IT sector by the end of 2024 (compared to 32% today), through both internal and external recruitment.
A priority for the Group
The programme for the feminisation of IT is one of the Group’s strategic priorities. Co-sponsored by Bernard Gavgani, Head of Information Systems, and Sofia Merlo, Head of Human Resources, this commitment reflects the current challenge: women are still under-represented in this key sector - at the BNP Paribas Group, in the financial sector and, more broadly, across society! This imbalance is largely due to stereotypes that are hard to reconcile and that prevent young girls, students or “active” women from taking the plunge and moving into professions and technologies that today influence our lifestyles and consumption patterns. Beyond the figures, increasing the number of women in IT jobs is also a collective performance issue, as emphasised by Isabelle Moirez, Human Resources Director for IT at BNP Paribas: “Balanced teams produce more effective solutions that better meet the needs of users in their diversity.”
International Women’s Rights Day is an opportunity for the Group to raise awareness of this major issue: bringing women closer to Tech. For several years now, BNP Paribas has been carrying out long-term actions in favour of the technological inclusion of women through its various entities around the world. And the results are there to see. The Group achieved the very good mark of 83/100 in the “50inTech Gender Score”, which measures companies’ progress in terms of inclusion, equality and diversity, and the impact of initiatives they take to counter women’s lack of interest in tech jobs.
More gender diversity in our teams: encouraging talent!
This ambition to feminise the IT professions is reflected in the implementation of a dedicated programme, Women In IT, initiated by IT Group in 2020 to attract women into the sector. This is a cross-functional Group programme, which mobilises different teams and professions, from hiring to career development and training, around 4 pillars:
- raise awareness of IT professions among young girls and female students,
- identify and attract women who could be recruited into IT,
- train women in IT professions,
- retain women in IT.
more women in IT.
An ambitious recruitment objective
Many initiatives are already supporting this ambition throughout the Group.
- Women & Girls in Tech, an innovative programme to trigger vocations. Led by a team of Group employees in France, #WoGiTech organises events throughout the year to encourage young girls to embark on the path of Tech by promoting exchanges with women already working or studying.
In Italy, BNL’s female IT staff share their curriculum and career choices in schools through the “Women in STEM” project and the bank can provide funding to enable girls to pursue studies in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).
- In Turkey, the TEB Women Academy, offers digital courses that bring women entrepreneurs together with clients from leading companies, as well as pro bono consulting and mentoring services - and introduces them to national and international networks that they would otherwise not have access to. 38 women have already joined this programme, launched in October 2021.
A dedicated coalition
By becoming a member, in 2021, of the coalition “Technologies and innovation for equality between women and men” led by the Generation Equality Forum, the Group is positioning itself as a major player, to act with others in favour of access for a greater number of women to technological fields and is focusing its action on 3 commitments: financial; hiring, through the objective of feminising IT professions; and social, by helping organisations that support women in technology and innovation.
- The Group also acts through its Foundation, supporting the “Make the Invisible Visible“ programme. The goal? Introduce children to naturalistic and scientific drawing and show girls that they have a place in scientific disciplines.
- The challenge of gender diversity in the “tech” professions also concerns female employees already working in the Group. In order to bring more of them into these professions, the Human Resources teams are multiplying training and awareness-raising initiatives and are putting forward very inspiring “role models” that invite everyone to “take the plunge”! Latest initiative: the series of short videos “Break your codes”, which deconstructs clichés while showing the richness of the jobs on offer.
- Since 2018, the Digital, Data & Agile Academy has been offering a customised development package on the key roles of digital, data and agile. Training courses, accessible to all Group employees, enable them to develop the skills associated with these new roles and thus gain access to the professions of tomorrow, which are essential for supporting the transformation of the bank. Today, this digital academy is 43% female.
- Employee networks are also very active and offer several conferences, workshops and training courses: Women in Cyber Risk London, BDDF IT Elles in France, Women in IT at Fortis in Belgium, etc.
Access to technology: a passport to the future
By partnering with the Agrifed programme, led by UN Women, BNP Paribas, represented by BICIS (Banque Internationale pour le Commerce et l’Industrie du Sénégal), has not only enabled women to be trained in resilient agriculture techniques and to benefit from a specific line of credit.
Access to innovative technologies has enabled these women to become financially independent more quickly.
- the use of drones enables more accurate management of fertiliser use and alerts on possible diseases,
- the “Buy from Women” platform aims to connect women producers with buyers and provides information such as product prices and sowing periods.