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On this International Women's Rights Day, which takes place every March 8, we invite you to come back to some women who have marked tech news in one way or another during the past year.
We are still desperate to see the proportion of women in digital professions increase. According to a report published by the association Femmes@Numériques in 2020, and widely taken over the past 2 years, women still represent less than a quarter of the workforce in digital professions (23%). The proportion of female graduates working in this field even rises painfully to 17%, according to a study by Global Contact, recently unveiled by Maddyness. This is a little better than in 2018, when this figure was 12%.
However, they are a few to have marked the tech year 2021, and in a beautiful way.
Gwynne Shotwell, an increasingly powerful SpaceX chief executive
Scarlett Johansson, for her resounding lawsuit against Disney
The year was marked by a style opposition between the world-famous actress Scarlett Johansson, and the Disney+ platform. A hitch which was settled by the payment of 40 million dollars in favor of the actress, and which put a pretty symbolic slap in the face of the all-powerful Disney. The company had indeed decided to broadcast the film Black Widow on Disney + at the same time as its theatrical release, the latter having been delayed due to covid-19. According to the lawsuit, Disney+ allegedly asked Marvel to break the promise made to the actress of an exclusive theatrical release, which would have cost her a lot of money. She also believes that her image was used to advertise the platform, which took advantage of the film to gain many users. The case will have made a bad publicity for the platform and shaken some of the certainties of Hollywood.
Frances Haugen, for having alerted on the excesses of Facebook
It is probably the one that has had the most visibility over the past year. Frances Haugen has largely shaken the digital world by leaving her functions at Facebook and by revealing certain excesses of the company and its various brands (Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp). By providing the Facebook Papers to several media, it has thus made it possible to lift the veil on major problems: ill-being among adolescents, race for commitment, little effort in moderation, responsibility in political divisions… This title of whistleblower has earned her the opening of many doors. In Europe, she embarked on a political and media tour, where she was heard by numerous commissions. In France, she has expressed herself in front of deputies and senators, thus fueling the debates on the digital issues of tomorrow.
Lina Khan, for being entrusted with the Federal Trade Commission
She was expected to head the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) with the election of Joe Biden as President of the United States. Lina M. Khan, an American lawyer of English origin specializing in competition law in the United States, took the reins of the commission well. She is best known for her analysis of the conditions of development and the dominant position of Amazon, and for her criticism of the dominant position of GAFAM. His appointment is good news, at least in appearance, for those who hope to see GAFAM be more constrained by the United States. Recently, Lina Khan and the FTC seized on the highly hyped topic of the metaverse. “It is when we see moments of potential transition that the authorities must be particularly vigilant,” Lina Khan told CNBC. In its wake, the Biden administration and the FCC could also reinstate net neutrality.
Christel Heydemann, for the succession of Stéphane Richard
The year 2021 was also marked by the departure of Stéphane Richard, CEO of Orange, sentenced on November 24 to a one-year suspended prison sentence and a fine of €50,000 for complicity in the embezzlement of public property as part of the Tapie case. At the end of January, the board of directors of Orange formalized the appointment of Christel Heydemann as general manager of the group of the French incumbent operator. She will take office on April 4, but Stéphane Richard will remain non-executive chairman of Orange until the arrival of a new chairman who remains to be appointed. The current CEO of the operator will leave the company no later than May 19, the date of the general meeting of Orange. Christel Heydemann thus becomes the first woman to lead the group.
Yulia Peresild, the first actress to shoot in space
Yulia Sergeyevna Peressild marked the history of cinema and perhaps even history altogether by becoming the first professional actress to play several scenes of a fictional film, shot in space aboard the International Space Station, in October 2021. She even capped Tom Cruise, also supposed to shoot a few scenes from space during the year 2022. And everything went well since the Russian actress and director returned to Earth after spending 12 days aboard the ISS. Before that, they had undergone intensive training, no one traveling in space without being seriously prepared.