Parity: French Tech still very far from the mark

Eléonore Crespo, co-founder and CEO of Pigment, is the first executive to appear in the Next 40.

© Pigments

On February 20, Emmanuel Macron received the actors of the French digital ecosystem on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of French Tech and the new promotion of Next 40 and French Tech 120. If the Head of State welcomed of the road traveled in a decade, he did not hesitate to tackle entrepreneurs and investors, believing that they “didn’t really reflect” the current face of France, due to a lack of diversity and parity.

On this International Women’s Rights Day, it is unfortunately difficult to prove the President of the Republic wrong when women represent only 17% of the workforce in digital professions in France, according to the Gender Scan survey, carried out by Global Contact firm. This low female representation is reflected in the Next 40 and French Tech 120 indices which aim to highlight the 120 most successful companies in the tricolor ecosystem.

Indeed, the management positions of the young shoots selected for the promotion of 2022 were occupied only 22% by women, and even only 18% within the Next 40, against 20% for the CAC 40, according to a study. published in November 2022 by SISTA and BCG. As for women leaders, there were only seven among the companies of the French Tech 120 in 2022, or barely 5% of the total of this index.

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A first woman leader within the Next 40

In 2023, the situation has improved slightly, since the Next 40 finally has a female leader in the person of Eléonore Crespo, co-founder and CEO of Pigment, a financial planning start-up that positions itself as an alternative to Excel. She is one of the 15 women leaders of the 2023 promotion of the 120 most promising French companies, eight more in one year.

If the share of women in the French tech ecosystem is progressing, it is still very insufficient. Faced with this problem, the French Tech mission launched a pact in favor of parity in the ecosystem last year. In particular, it aims to reach a minimum threshold of 20% of women on boards of directors by 2025, which will increase to 40% in 2028.

In addition, the Rixain law of December 24, 2021 will impose a minimum threshold of 30% women in management bodies by 2025, which will rise to 40% by 2027. And this measure concerns all companies with more than 1,000 employees. , including those of French Tech. Consequently, the main French unicorns, such as Doctolib, which has more than 2,500 employees, will be forced to comply with these new obligations.

Raising funds remains more difficult for women

However, while gender diversity is gaining ground in French Tech, the conditions for access to financing for female start-up leaders are still far from optimal. According to last year’s SISTA and BCG barometer, 88% of the total amount raised by French start-ups in 2021 was captured by all-male founding teams. A figure in very slight decline (90% in 2019).

On the other hand, the situation has deteriorated with regard to the gap between men and women, all pools combined. Thus, the barometer highlights that 100% male teams raise 3.8 million euros more than mixed teams. This difference was only one million euros between 2008 and 2018.

As for the 100% female teams, they are 4.3 times less well financed than the male teams. A situation that has deteriorated in the space of three years (2.4 times less in 2019). In short, it is therefore far from won for parity in French Tech. But with the multiplication of profiles like that of Eléonore Crespo within the Next 40, the situation could change in the years to come.

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