THE INTERVIEW – Nathalie JANSSENS, Digital & Innovation Manager TotalEnergies Marketing Belgium

What is the situation regarding gender equality at TotalEnergies? 

The company supports initiatives at various levels to promote equal career opportunities for women and men up to the highest management levels. For example, by 2020, TotalEnergies has set a target of having 30% women in CODIRS (management committees), senior management and executive management. In addition, the company has set a target of 40% international women at senior management level and 45% at executive management level.

Structuring agreements and concrete actions have also been put in place both internationally and in France.

TotalEnergies was quick to understand the benefits of a women’s network and launched the TWICE network. Founded in 2006, it is open to all women, regardless of their location, industry or job level. Based on sharing experiences and building trust, it has a twofold objective: to promote the career development of women at all levels and in all professions, in order to improve the number of women in the company’s workforce, and through its actions, to change mentalities and raise awareness among men and women of the challenges of gender equality.

TotalEnergies is also a signatory of the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles, in 2011, with the commitment of senior management to targets up to the highest management levels. In January 2016, alongside some twenty other signatories, TotalEnergies launched the “Closing the Gender Gap” appeal in Davos to promote greater gender parity in the oil and gas industry. The appeal is based on seven principles of action and two key levers: more diverse recruitment and greater access to technical and management positions for women.

I can confidently say that the company is paying a lot of attention to this and is implementing initiatives at every level to achieve a representative mix in all teams. Nowadays, with the tight job market, the real challenge is to recruit and retain young talent. New recruits attach great importance to the values of the company they work for and therefore initiatives that put diversity at the centre are key to retaining them within the organisation. Diversity is therefore a real value. 

 

Why does the tech industry need women? Why do women need tech?

Feminisation in the digital industry is a broad topic and a key diversity issue. If we look at the ratio of young men to young women/females in engineering or technical careers, the result – less than a third of women are represented – is far from those in other fields such as communication or marketing.

From a methodical point of view, in innovation we try to provide an answer to an urgent problem that a user values. So if the intention is to produce interesting digital developments, we can only do this by using as diverse a group as possible. This is where the diversity of a team excels, to think beyond a single way of working or approaching a problem. This is why diversity in tech is necessary, but tech will also produce better products by taking the perspective of a diverse target audience. Diversity takes digital products to a higher level and therefore ensures the sustainability of companies.

Fortunately, the history of tech is not all male. JFD echoes the career and pioneering character of Margaret Hamilton.

 

Are you optimistic about equal representation of women and men in tech? 

Of course, I have a positive view. With the increasing influx of women into digital fields, more and more children have role models. Also, unlike the 1980s, my own children are growing up in a hyper-digital world. Our children are exposed from an early age to educational methods that make use of digital tools. For every type of subject, there is a digital tool that helps to put theoretical concepts into practice. As early as primary school, they learn how to program a robot or the design of an object and then print it in 3D. What was futuristic for my generation is the reality of our children’s lives. As a parent, it is also much easier to encourage your child to learn about digital technology while playing. With digital technology being so ubiquitous, the workplace is bound to become more diverse. That’s why I’m positive. It’s not going to happen tomorrow, but it will happen very soon.  

 

An inspirational quote you like to say? 

To make your voice heard in an organisation, your network is essential. Consciously choose the people you surround yourself with.

Let me make it clear that networking for the sake of networking is not in my DNA. I have learned from the most impactful women and men in the organisation that it is important to build a team of MVPs (Most Valuable Players). Team players who share the same values and leadership vision. People I can rely on for honest feedback. It’s a way to make yourself visible by highlighting your projects without feeling like you have to constantly market yourself.

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