Angélique Gérard: making her mark in a man’s world
She appears in the list of 40 inspiring women of the magazine Forbes France. An honor that should not be overlooked: the successes of women still making too little headlines, maintains the main interested party.
Because we love so much to introduce you to the ambitious women who inspire the surpassing of oneself, here is Angélique Gérard. Mother of three, business owner, author, member of executive committees and boards of directors, and business angel – having invested in over 20 companies to date! -, it has made its mark in the masculine worlds of digital and investment.
We asked her a few questions.
Angélique, you work in predominantly male fields (and not just a little – 95% of investors and business angels in France are men), what have you observed of the main difficulties encountered by women?
Not a day goes by that I don’t see a problem for my colleagues, my friends and all the women I know. And there are no major difficulties and others minor in terms of sexism; they are all important and must be denounced. The obstacles in the world of work are legion and of all kinds: discrimination in hiring, unconscious bias and prejudices, harassment, lower wages, slowed career in the event of motherhood , stereotypes leading to so-called feminized positions, lack of confidence and insurance due to cultural mechanisms, etc.
It is now recognized that the digital world, in which I operate and which is nevertheless quite young, is plagued by sexism, a factor of discouragement for women. The testimonies of victims of discrimination can be found everywhere: from digital schools to the world of start-ups , including tech companies. This is the area par excellence where work for equality must be strengthened.
Is it in response to all these obstacles that you decided to write your book Pour la fin du sexisme ?
Certainly! It is the result of my personal and professional experiences that directed me towards this need for writing, for sharing around feminist struggles.
Professionally first, because I have lived and still live sexism – in addition to being sidelined -, but also because the observation is obvious on a daily basis for the women I work with. People confide in me, they ask me and I am delighted to confirm to all these women that I will always defend this cause as part of my professional mission.
In my personal life, the subject of feminism touches me as well. I am thinking in particular of this relates to inequalities linked to the medical field, to the lack of budget allocated to research on female diseases such as endometriosis. Becoming a mother also allowed me to adopt a new point of view. This desire to educate my daughter and my two sons by imparting egalitarian principles turned out to be much more difficult than I had imagined. I realized the urgency and the interest of free speech in all spheres of society, from school to home, including of course businesses.
You are in the list of 40 inspiring women by Forbes France magazine . What does this appointment represent for you?
This success resonates as a victory for all of us and for the whole of society! This means that the question of women interests the media more and more, and I think – and I hope – that this phenomenon will increase over time, because it is central to the balance of our organizations.
We know the importance of Role Models in the professional sphere. Do you see yourself as a role model for ambitious women?
As a leader, I appreciate the importance of my responsibility. I fought to make my place, and I still fight every day to keep it I am aware of the power that I enjoy and I believe it is my duty to use this notoriety to pull our cause upwards. I am completely self-taught and I have been told many times that the message sent to women through my career and my accomplishments is one of hope.
And also I believe that women in leadership positions should lead the way for women by showing them that equality is possible. Every stone brought to the building is precious!
What advice would you like to share with women who are struggling to “find their place” or are afraid to take it?
The first idea that I give, and which occupies a great place in my work , is that of initiating a personal work of deconstruction to understand where the injunctions come from which lead us to be so harsh towards ourselves, and which prevent believing in us and our abilities. This requires the deconstruction of all the mental barriers that the codes of patriarchal culture have erected around us, and a return to the traditional patterns that lock us in well-traced paths. To inspire us, we must know and recognize the names of the women who have built our world. The destinies of Rosie the Riveter, Hubertine Auclert, Ruth Bader Ginsburg or even Tara Burke must resonate with us at all times.
My second must is to practice sorority as a religion. Like the successful challenge #WomenSupportingWomen, widely shared on social media, we must respect our friends, our collaborators, our neighbors, and not enter into the game of competition. The sorority makes us stronger in our individualities and denounces the gaps left by the notion of fraternity. The main message is to be a sorority with the fraternity – not against it.
My third proposition is based on the development of self-confidence, on which all our blockages depend. Over time, build confidence by daring to multiply experiences outside of your comfort zone. There is still a long way to go when we know that recently a start-up had to invent a male co-founder to interest investors … But the word that is increasingly released in our societies, online and in the street, will make it possible to change attitudes more quickly and bring credibility to our testimonials.
Sasindu Jayasri is an Engineering student at Faculty of Engineering, University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka.