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Isabelle Mashola : Among the 100 women who are changing the world

September 17, 2020

DOSSIER - They control only 10% of the world's countries, but the perception has changed: we see them, we hear them and they dare. Whether in politics, economics, culture or entrepreneurship, more and more of them are taking power. This week, Challenges is covering them.

Isabelle Mashola, CEO and co-founder of isahit is one of the 100 women who will change the world in 2020 according to Challenges magazine.

In its September 17 issue, Challenges magazine devoted its cover story to women.

Sources: Challenges

Would the year 2020 be the year of women? They were almost invisible, and now suddenly they're all over the front page, everywhere. In Belarus, it is the opponent Svetlana Tikhanovskaya who launched the "women's revolution". and puts the people in the streets after the re-election of Alexander Lukashenko, who's been in power for 26 years. In Europe, it's the German Ursula von der Leyen and the French woman Christine Lagarde facing Brexit and Covid-19, one at the head of the Brussels Commission, the other at the helm of the Central Bank in Frankfurt. With the support of the Chancellor Angela MerkelTheir quiet strength imposed on the 27 members the solidarity debt, again a hitherto unthinkable revolution. Meanwhile, a very different scenario is being written in the United States, where the choice of Kamala Harris as Joe Biden's running mate... controversial fact. In the manner of a double manifesto, for diversity and for equality between men and women. Next.

Can women change a world that is going from bad to worse? Wars, pollution, epidemics, crises... No one has the answer, of course, but in the meantime, they are not doing so badly and the press even sends them a few flowers. As if in 2020, their ability to assume the highest responsibilities could still be a revelation. From Finland to Taiwan and from Germany to New Zealand, governments led by women are the ones who would have handled the Covid-19 crisis better.and the numbers confirm it. Why is that? Perhaps the result of a lower proportion of "testosterone" in decision making, as recommended by Christine Lagarde when she was at Bercy, under the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy? And why not, after all. This is what the most serious studies suggest.

Voters validate

Promoting greater diversity in management teams, the McKinsey strategy consulting firm believes that the best decisions are those that have been matured by teams with different points of view. Men, women, and if possible from diverse backgrounds... So, let's give it a try! Paris, Tokyo, Chicago, Dakar, major cities have chosen to be governed by women, even if some of them can be controversial. Voters persist and sign.

Although women are no longer fully transparent, they are still very few in power: they manage only 10% of the world's 200 or so countries, and 18% of companies in developed countries. They are still a long way from achieving real equality, but the pot is boiling. Even though they are still in the minority in political, economic, academic, sports or artistic governing bodies, something has changed in society. But what exactly?

You see them, you hear them, they dare. Without making waves, the previous generation was that of the "firsts": Anne Duthilleul, the first woman admitted to Polytechnique and a major, Valentina Terechkova, the first woman in space, or Carly Fiorina, the first woman boss of a Dow Jones company, Hewlett Packard, to name but three. Pioneers of course, but neither militant nor demanding. Three years after the Me-Too earthquakethe women's voice was freed and everything changed. Harassment, but also discrimination and the glass ceiling, everything has changed and there are no longer any taboos.

More virtuous governance

It is Adèle Haenel and Aïssa Maïga who leave the Caesars ceremony at the moment when Roman Polanski's name resounds. It is former model Naomi Campbell who calls on fashion companies to "impose inclusion" during Paris Fashion Week. Or the American women's football star Megan Rapinoe, an LGBT activist who fights for equal pay with men and stands up to Donald Trump. Her detractors, whom she provokes, consider her arrogant, but she doesn't care and would now consider a political career!

Even the good old Bretton Woods institutions are concerned about the rise of women. Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund for the past year, summed up the process at work using her own case as an example, at a Women's Forum conference on 29 July. Christine Lagarde broke the glass ceiling and I went through the hole," she said. It was easier for me! "Like the Frenchwoman who preceded her in Washington, the Bulgarian is now extolling the "economic benefits" of gender equality, recruiting women to the IMF and trying to convert member countries to more virtuous governance. In particular, she advocates greater representation of women in banking organizations, considering that hiring a few "Sisters" might avoid a double Lehman Brothers...

All around the globe, women are dreaming of a better world and are trying to make a difference. Their standard bearer could be Esther Duflo, director of research at MIT and the first French woman to drop out, in 2019, the Nobel Prize in Economics. She works tirelessly to experiment in real life situations with different methods of fighting poverty, in India, China or Kenya. Her ideas have spread all over the world. What if, one day, poverty could be eradicated thanks to her work? What a revolution!

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