“I assume, I am a quota”, declares the general manager of Eurostar

Catherine MacGregor at Engie, Christel Heydemann at Orange and Estelle Brachlianoff at Veolia have one thing in common. These three women occupy a position of general manager within a CAC 40 company. The opportunity to recall that only 4% of management positions within these companies are occupied by women and that none of them does not serve as CEO. On the occasion of International Women’s Rights Day this Wednesday, Elisabeth Assayag received in France moves Gwendoline Cazenave, CEO of the Eurostar group. On Europe 1, the leader spoke about gender parity in the business world and showed her support for the quota policy to promote women in key positions.

Before that, Gwendoline Cazenave agreed to retrace her rise within the company of which she is now at the helm. “Already, when I arrived at the head of the Eurostar group, there was only one woman on the executive committee. Then, there were two of us with me, and then I recruited the first female industrial boss at Eurostar,” she says. To ensure better female representation in companies, the leader does not see a plethora of solutions: “Yes, I am for quotas. And even if men find it unbearable, I often say it: I assume, I am a quota . And I’m ok with that,” she assured.

“Women’s Rights Day is not a day against men”

A policy that is struggling to bear fruit in France, however, if we are to believe Michel Ferrary, author of the Skema observatory of the feminization of companies, interviewed by Europe 1. “We realize a decade later that feminization of boards of directors has not brought more women presidents of CA and it has not increased the diversity in the comex”, he advanced.

But when it comes to Gwendoline Cazenave, it is indeed these quotas that helped pave the way for her. “I think that no man or boss would ever have dared to put me at the head of the 450 drivers when I was 30 if I had been a man (…) I don’t see the interest they would have had to do that if I had been a man. And I’m very proud of that. I’m the fruit of quotas and that’s ok,” she says.

Nevertheless, according to her, these quotas would not have had the same weight without the unconditional support of the men she was able to meet. “My whole career, I owe it to men who believed in me more than I believed in myself. And so I believe that we owe a lot to men. And the day of women’s rights, this n It’s not a day against men,” she concludes.