Myriam Cohen-Welgryn: “Women must overcome certain personality biases”



Author of “And you will dare to leave the frame!” », Myriam Cohen-Welgryn gives us some keys to enable women to flourish and progress in business.

Are women partly responsible for their current position in companies?

It’s a bit of a provocation, but, yes, we can say in a way that women are “jointly responsible” for the current situation: if they make less progress in the company, it is in particular because of a certain number of biases that they must fight. First of them, the perfectionism. Women do their best, regardless of the 80/20 law: beyond a certain level of quality, the marginal effort required to do better is not worth it. When the expected quality is achieved, it is better to communicate about your work, inform and activate networks than to try to do even better.

This is all the more important since the company is not the school: quality, effort or excellence are not automatically perceived and rewarded. Many women also suffer from sham syndrome : they lack self-confidence and, when they move up in the hierarchy, they have the impression of not being in their place, of not being up to what is expected of them. Finally, most women are in the Atlas position : they have too many things on their shoulders. Take charge of their work, their home, children, husbands, etc. is simply impossible.

How to get rid of these biases?

We have to be aware of them and understand them. Then, it is possible to work them, in particular through techniques of personal development, breathing and posture. Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy shows, for example, in her research, which she explains in Ted lectures, the importance of putting yourself physically in a position of success to fight against the feeling of deception and achieve better success. It is also necessary to decode the rules of the company and to become aware of the need to communicate on its actions. To do is not enough, it is necessary to make known.

Finally, the “Atlas” woman must find ways to share the task: with her husband, the family, and even within the company… Coaching is often very useful to trigger awareness. Then, by working alone, you can progress a lot.

What can be done at the company level?

The company must create the conditions that make it possible to neutralize these biases. This involves supporting the life cycle, for example by arranging and implementing support for the return of maternity leave. For example, it is important not to suspend salary increases during these, at the risk of widening the gap. To make progress in terms of equality, the company must put in place measures and monitor its progress using clear indicators. Mentoring and networking, inside and outside the company, also work very well.

The networking and the met regular women, during breakfasts or lunches, allow us to get out of isolation, to understand that we are not the only ones experiencing difficulties and that the problems are systemic. This awareness helps build self-confidence and helps to feel legitimate. These meetings are also an opportunity to discuss the “best practices” of companies that want to get involved. I myself am involved in the Lead network, a network for the promotion of women in mass distribution companies.

A lot of ground has already been covered …

Today, women no longer need to wear a man’s costume to be accepted in the company: we can be ourselves, because there are enough of us in companies to exceed the level of the silent minority. . Moreover, I have the impression that the new generation – men and women alike – has made a lot of progress: the breeding ground is easier, especially because the boys received a different education. The values ​​of sustainable development and equality, etc. are more anchored, even if it should never be taken for granted.

Beyond the gender issue, diversity in the broad sense is a pledge of wealth for the company: the multiplicity of passports, cultures, socio-professional categories or situations in relation to disability allow the company to better perceive weak signals. And therefore to be more resilient.

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