Culture(s) / The place of women in the professional world

A1 Breakthrough
It is possible for women to have children and work in French-speaking countries.
The place of women in the professional world

In your country, in your culture, are there businesswomen? Is it common or rather rare? How would you you feel if your boss or managing director was a woman? In movies, television programs or TV shows of your culture, to what extent are men and women portrayed as independent, decision-making, and proactive individuals?

“In some areas, such as education, girls are nowadays more successful that boys and achieve higher levels of education [...] There is still a 15% salary gap in OECD countries. In 2016, women accounted for only 4.8% of CEOs. (Chief Executive Officer). ”

© L'Observateur de l'OCDE, Gabriela RamosJune 2020.

A company can be managed by a woman, however, generally speaking in France, women hold fewer positions of responsibility and are less well paid for the same level of qualification.
Moreover, women are more likely to work part-time than men.

Working and having children

In your country, in your culture, who takes care of the children during the day? Is it the mother, the father, the grand-parents, the neighbors, the nanny? Are there childcare options available for working women? How would you feel if you had the opportunity to take 2 weeks to 6 months off to take care of your young child, as a father or mother?

In Western French-speaking countries, mothers are entitled to a maternity leave: for example, 16 weeks in France (26 weeks from the 3rd child) and 18 weeks in Quebec.
There is also a paternity leave upon the birth of the child. In France, the paternity leave lasts 25 days as of July 2021, in addition to the 3 days granted for the birth. This leave has been in place since 2022.
Since 2021, in France, the paternity leave is mandatory for a period of 4 days (in addition to the 3 days for the birth.)
Lastly, it is possible to take a paid child care leave for a short period of time.

In France or Belgium, children under 3 years old can stay at a childcare facility or with a nanny, which allows the parents to keep working.
But sometimes the mother might look after the children at home; it is quite rare that the father stops working for some time to take care of the children.

Practical exercises

Bureau CEO Nicola Thibaudeau

Culture(s): women's situation in the workplace

4 exercises
Listen • Intercultural (work life)