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  • Writer's picturePatrick Cabasset

Gender equality: ESMOD’s winning strategy

Having previously achieved a positive gender equality index of 88/100, ESMOD is continuing its efforts to remain among the leading companies in terms of social and environmental responsibility. Samia Fedala, Director of HR for the ESMOD International Group, explains why this index score is so important.


Companies with over 50 employees have been required, since 2020, to calculate and publish their gender equality index as part of efforts to combat gender pay inequalities. They are then awarded an overall score out of 100 every year on March 1 based on how they manage certain criteria. This year, 61% of the companies in question have published their score, with an average of 86/100, up 1% on 2021. This might appear to be a pretty positive figure, but it does conceal many disparities between companies, and between different sectors of activity in particular, with only 2% of companies obtaining the maximum score of 100/100. With a score of 88/100, ESMOD International ranks above average thanks to its approach to promoting knowledge and the equitable sharing of skills.

Having joined ESMOD as Human Resources Manager in 2020, Samia Fedala reports to Managing Director Véronique Beaumont. She was promoted to the role of DHR and member of the Executive Committee in February 2022— a rapid progression that isn’t always possible in all companies.

“This is the first time I’ve worked in the private education sector”, she explains. “I’d previously worked in the car industry, which is a very male-dominated sector, and in the building industry, at Vinci. The gender issue was easier at General Electric, but it’s true that in the education sector in general, the proportion of women is naturally higher”.


“The challenge for ESMOD International is to be able to continue to recruit new talent in a job market that has become less fluid of late” — Samia Fedala.


Women have always played an important role in the history of the school itself. Indeed, the school’s founder, Alexis Lavigne, handed over all responsibility to his daughter Alice Guerre Lavigne in 1885, before her daughter, Berthe Lecomte-Guerre, succeeded her in turn. When the school left its founding family in 1976, Annette Goldstein, the school’s first lecturer in style, became its General Manager, with the administrative assistance of Paule Douarinou. “This is no doubt why we’ve never had to force things since I joined”, Samia explains. “The Executive Committee, for example, is 61% female”.




Planet ESMOD: What are you asked about in this government survey?

Samia Fedala: They ask questions about things like pay differentials among the top 10 earners in the company, for example, and about the distribution of working hours and the balance between full-time and part-time work. The vast majority of women in France still work part-time because of the burden of running a family and raising children, and less than 4% of men take full-time parental leave. They also look at promotions and pay rises.


P. E.: What are you particularly proud of in terms of the company's equality policy?

S. F.: For a start, we’re happy with the way we manage promotions following maternity leave. In 2022, the Director of ESMOD Fashion Business in Pantin, Leslie Teboul, was promoted to the position of Deputy Managing Director in charge of student services during her maternity leave itself. Another member of the teaching staff who returned from parental leave after five years was appointed coordinator of the teaching division just a month after her return to the company, while another woman who had just graduated with a Master’s degree was appointed our Junior IT Network Manager— a field often dominated by men. We have faith in everyone’s abilities here, regardless of their gender, and we’re doing particularly well in general in terms of our workforce, with our payroll consisting of 67% women and 33% men.


P. E.: What other steps do you plan to take in the future to further reinforce this rating?

S. F.: There is always room for improvement, of course, but again, it happens quite naturally. We could do more when it comes to supporting new mothers in returning to work, for example, by adapting their working conditions to help them achieve a better work-life balance. Crèche places are becoming increasingly hard to come by everywhere, meaning that many have no option but to return to work on a part-time basis only, even if they’d rather work full-time.

With this positive index score, the challenge for ESMOD International is to be able to continue to recruit new talent in the future in a job market that has become less fluid of late”.



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