This week, we are pleased to meet Betty Bourges, Sales Director at Roche Diagnostics, to hear about her interesting and varied career as well as her experience, feelings and views on business, how parity fits into this and her vision as director as well as the choices she had to make to get to the position she holds today.
Where and how did your career begin?
I quickly oriented to a technical career related to biology. After a few months, I realised that for my professional growth, I had to change my career to a business with much more diversity and human contact. So I joined Amersham who gave me my first job selling Medical Biology systems in the Paris region.
Was it an easy progression?
I think I can actually say that my progress wasn’t too difficult and at a pace that felt right. However, I do not say that it was “easy” because whether you are a man or a woman today, you must show determination and achieve results to succeed.
Has the balance/imbalance between men and women affected you?
I confess that I have never felt any imbalance from that point of view; I also had the chance to work in a company that supports parity.
Your opinion and advice:
What is your impression on women in business today? Are they still facing prejudice or have times changed?
I am convinced that things have changed, that women’s commitment is no more questioned than men’s. There remains the spectre of potential pregnancy, but it isn’t a risk or an obstacle if the ability and commitment are clearly there.
So what would be your advice to women who hope to advance in their careers?
To believe in it, to want it, to be passionate about it, and to show it. To be bold too, not to create your own barriers, you need to be convinced yourself about your ability to face the same challenges as men.
Is parity difficult to integrate? For example, a lack of candidates who have the required level of education or does the problem come from elsewhere?
If there are problems, in my opinion it is not from a lack of skills, at least in the professional environment in which I move. However, I can easily imagine that in some sectors it is more complicated to integrate parity when the criteria inherent to the positions require physical strength (removals, heavy lifting …)
The future and attitudes:
What differences exist for the younger generation and their opportunities for the future?
I don’t think that the younger generation feels in danger regarding parity, whether they have to prove things or resolve inequalities. Their opportunities are particularly linked to communication technologies which offer new ways of working such as teleworking; these new ways are still in their infancy today but will develop for sure.
What advantages do you find in a mixed team?
Diversity is an asset and not only on the gender level. All differences whether cultural, social or other bring their share of ideas and approaches. The benefits are clear to me: complementarity and efficiency.
Do you think that there is still the likelihood that the best person is chosen for the job, or now there is the law of August 4 on parity, will it in fact lead to reverse discrimination?
I hope that there will always be the best person chosen for a position, and it would be a shame if an anti-discrimination law creates a new one.