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08/03/2022 - 07:54
The history of International Women's Day begins more than a hundred years ago. This symbolic day started the 8th March 1908 in New York when women protest on the streets to fight for higher wages, shorter working hours and better working conditions. In 1978 International Women's Day was recognized by the United Nations.
Carol Devos started at TerraCottem in 1994, working in international sales. In 2003 she set up the international sales office in Spain and ten years later she took the role of general manager of the manufacturing company.
In the context of International Women's Day, we ask her a few questions.
What is your experience as a woman in your job?
Do you experience an evolution in acceptance as a woman at the top of a company?
I am a manager in a male-dominated industry. It has not always been easy but nothing is perfect. It has made me into who I am today. I think the biggest and most mediatised evolution has come since the '#metoo' movement. Unfortunately, many women (but also many men) are confronted with transgressive behaviour, also in the workplace. It is good that these behaviours are considered unacceptable and are out in the open.
Which are your female role models in society?
The women in my family (their lust for life and solidarity), Marie Curie (pioneering research and first woman to win a Nobel Prize), Angela Merkel (her values, work ethic, ability to analyse, no BS attitude)
Are there any important differences between female and male entrepreneurs according to you?
I have heard several male entrepreneurs say that female entrepreneurs are more empathetic. A woman who has a career and children is sometimes asked: how can you manage this? A man is rarely asked this.
How do I do it? I organise my time well. Long meetings and business lunches are a luxury for me. I can do so many other things with that time.
What actions are effective to stimulate female entrepreneurship?
It starts from a young age. Boys and girls are different but they should be brought up in the same way. School also plays a role here, especially in helping them pick their field of study. It is important that young people choose a vocation or a job that suits their interests and character, regardless of their gender. Once a woman works and she has the desire to have children, this may have an impact on her career. It is regrettable that this still happens. Having children should not be an obstacle to growing within a company. Hence the importance of good childcare, flexible working hours, working from home, etc. Covid has boosted the latter two. But there is still so much to do: men should also be entitled to maternity leave. And what we need to get rid of as soon as possible is the wage gap between men and women!
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