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SPECIAL CONTENT: WOMEN IN GAMING – The president of the French gaming regulatory authority explains the issue of equality in his country and in the sector, in an interview with GiocoNews.it.
Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin is the President, Autoreté Nationale des Jeux. She is a graduate of the Hautes Etudes Commerciales business school (HEC), a former student of the National School of Administration (“Denis Diderot” promotion) and the Multimedia Institute in 1990. Auditor then “Maître des requêtes” at the French Council of State, she has been a State Councillor since 2001. She joined the Bull Group from 1991 to 1993, and then was deputy director of the Minister of Culture’s office from 1993 to 1995. She was appointed expert to the OECD in 1996-97 and became Chairwoman of the Advisory Board and General Delegate of the Internet Rights Forum from 2001 to December 2010. Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin was Chairwoman of the French Data Protection Authority (CNIL) from 2011 to 2019. She chaired the European Data Protection Committee from 2014 to 2018, when the General Data Protection Regulation (Gdpr) was being drawn up and served as President of the World Conference of Data Protection Authorities in 2017-2018. From January to April 2019, she was appointed responsible of the French “Grand Débat”. Then, she was charged by the Prime Minister with a prefiguration mission of the National Gambling Authority (ANJ). She was appointed President of the ANJ by decree of the President of the Republic for a six-year term from June 16, 2020.
Gender equality, on a global level, is still a distant goal, both at the political and institutional level and in the business world. If some countries are more “evolved”, as is the case in Northern Europe, others are far behind. In France, they are currently working on this, and it seems that something is changing. The first question I would like to ask you is, therefore, where would you place your country, compared to the previous cataloguing. Do you consider it one of the most “evolved” ones in terms of equality or is it one where there is a lot to do?
“According to the EU’s Gender Equality Index, France is in 4th position after Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands, 7 points above the European average. It seems that progress has been made in recent years, but there is still work to be done, particularly at work.On the political front, the number of female candidates for the next presidential election to be held in April is also on the rise compared to 2017. But is not only to work on rights equality but also to work on cultural barriers and help fighting the prejudice”.
Your role in ANJ could be evidence of an equal system or that of change. I would ask you for an opinion about it, as well as asking you to tell us about your professional/personal journey to get here. Do you think you had to work harder than a man?
“Many women are at now the head of independent authorities in France. I would no say that I have had to work harder to get there but as any “minority” women have to prove they can do it ! It is changing but slowly and the conservative reflexes still exist in worlds where men outnumbered largely the women. Also what could make the difference is maybe the family support that one could get”.
As a gaming regulator, what is your impression of the role of women in this industry? Do you often or only rarely have to deal with women professionals?
“Gambling industry is still a men’ industry . Most CEOs of online gambling operators are men. Women are under-represented in this industry as they are also under-represented in sports governing bodies. And customers are also mainly men in France, especially in sport betting even if the number of women players are increasing and can become a marketing issue in the next years. For ANJ of course, parity is ensured at the ANJ level with the staff and also with the college ( decision-making body). I strongly believe it is a matter of efficiency and good-working conditions. Mixity has always be for me a non optional element in management and leadership.But it is still not so easy to hire women in certain fields ; among IT profiles where women are largely under-represented whereas women are very well represented among legal profiles.So we try to keep the balance between the various activities in the ANJ”.
What should a country do, in your opinion, to seriously aim for equality and what should an industry do, beyond the laws, to achieve the same goal?
“Education is of course a key issue to insure gender equality. The more visible women are in positions of responsibility, the more young girls can identify with them. It is also necessary that the functions largely devolved to women, such as care or personal service (as noticed during Covid sanitary crisis), can be shared with men. As I said, there is also a cultural change needed”.