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Balance for Better

Last November, the Danish-French Chamber of Commerce had the chance to participate in the Entretiens de Royaumont. Every year, this event lasts 2 days and brings together in the north of Paris 400 personalities, politicians, journalists, business leaders to reflect and discuss a theme. This year the theme was ”Being a woman" and the chairman of the event was Patrick Pouyanné, CEO of Total Group.

After these two days, the French-Danish Chamber of Commerce decided to extend the reflection on this subject on the occasion of the International Women’s Day.

On March the 7th, a conference on the topic ”Balance For Better” was co-organized with Twice, Total’s internal network for promoting diversity.

We were very lucky to be welcomed at the headquarters of Total Denmark in Copenhagen.

The conference was introduced by Martin Pedersen (VP for Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands at TOTAL) and Anders Torbøl (President of the Chamber of Commerce).

More than 150 guests registered to participate in the conference, which consisted of 2 roundtable discussions:

=> the first roundtable discussion opened the evening with the question whether women and men manage differently. The three speakers were:
- Karen Boesen (Chief Financial Officer at Total UK)
- Helene Egebøl (CEO at Schneider Electric A/S)
- Guillaume de Leobardy (General Director and Nordic Regional Director at ALD Automotive)

=> the second roundtable took up the gender balance issue, which is common in many businesses, and discussed how to create more gender balance in both male dominated positions (i.e. top management) and in female dominated professions (i.e. sustainability, HR). The following women gave their point of view:
- Caroline Ferrari, ambassador of France to Denmark
- Anne Sevel, Head of Communications Jobindex
- Mette Boysen co-author of the book "Myter om magten" (Myths about power) about women in top-management.

The discussions were moderated by two TWICE members, Monica Calvert, Lead Geophysicist at Total and TWICE member and Nathalie Fernandes, Senior Business Improvement Manager at Total.

During the two roundtables discussions, the speakers agreed that there were not really differences between management by women or men. For our speakers, having access to managerial functions is more about personality, i.e. being result oriented, rather than gender.
During these exchanges, it also came out that women give up management / top management functions, because they feel isolated in a very masculine environment.
Quotas in company executive board were discussed and debated: it may not be an ideal solution in the long run - as women want to be promoted because of their skills and not because of their gender - but for some speakers, this could be a solution to move forward in the short term.

After the two roundtable discussions, guests and speakers continued to discuss the topic with passion during the cocktail.

A big thank you to speakers, moderators and to the Twice team for the co-organizating the event. Thanks also to the Grand Chais de France for providing wine and to Total for the fantastic buffet.

Please click the picture below to discover more pictures of the evening

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