students shadow female managers in Singapore and Cairo offices

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Within France Telecom-Orange, our "shadowing days" program was developed in 2009 to help respond to a global deficit of engineers and the low percentage of women employed in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry. Within Orange Business Services, we have implemented special days during which female students shadow a female Orange employee working in a technical job role. This is an opportunity for students to experience the workplace, understand more about technical job roles, and of course ask questions. Shadowing days are a key element of our diversity policy which includes gender equality.

 

This past summer, we organized "shadowing days" for local students in Singapore and Cairo. During these days, ten female students in Singapore and three in Egypt experienced the everyday work of females with managerial responsibilities at our Singapore Chai Chee and Cairo City Stars offices. This included interactions with customers, employees, team meetings and visiting customer demo centers.

 

In Singapore, students indicated via the subsequent evaluations that they would consider a career in IT after participating in the day. Before this initiative, they had no intention of taking up IT studies. 

 

Some feedback from the students and participants:

      

"I thought that IT is all technical. I didn't really think that there are so many other sub-departments in the IT firm. I learned during this day that it is not all technical and many other skills are needed too. I also understand more about how a company operates - it was an enriching experience."

-- student, Singapore

 

 "I thought that IT is very technical and boring and being in IT means that I have to stare at the computers and the gadgets all day long. However, what I learned during this day is that being in the IT profession can provide me with a lot of opportunities."

-- student, Singapore

      

"The technology field was a surprise to them since the students seemed to understand that it would not be suitable for females. The experience changed their misconceptions of the field."

-- Sarah Bisada, HR Egypt

Our activities to promote diversity, and in particular gender equality in the workplace, are well underway. Shadowing days have also taken place in Brazil and Canada, and are planned in the near future in France, United States, Italy, Switzerland and Germany. If you or someone you know is interested in participating in a future shadowing day, please contact the Orange Business Services HR department for your respective country.     

Learn more about the France Telecom's corporate social responsibility activities in our 2009 Corporate Social Responsibility report (pdf). 

Katie DeTitta

I've spent more than 17 years in global telecommunications, and was formerly responsible for international social media activities at Orange Business Services. I enjoy making technology accessible to non-techies and I'm a strong supporter of flexible working.