Name: Sarah Hammouche
Role: Asia Aerospace & Defense Manager
Seniority, responsibilities and experience at ADDEV: 3 years
What studies have you done and why?
I have a double degree in Chemicals Engineering (ENSC Montpellier) and an MSc in Corporate Strategy & Marketing (HEC Paris). Because, the more you know, the more you dare! I am passionate about materials science and innovation but have always been more attracted by corporate functions, growth strategy and international projects management, so combining engineering and business education was logical.
The aeronautics sector is considered to be more of a male domain. In this context, how did your integration go?
Being a woman in a men's world is a realty in A&D and the industry in general. At first it can be surprising, but with time I got used to it and tried to leverage it instead of focusing on the differences! Also, I like working with men, we are not thinking the same way on technical issues and our complementarity can often lead to creative solutions.
And even if on the surface it can appear to be a men's industry, the women network is very powerful and this always surprises me how women are willing to share, support, promote and trust their peers. So, I would definitely say that integration was smooth and natural.
What assets and difficulties have you encountered in your career?
At this point of my career, I would say that being young and less experienced can be the hardest part; feeling legitimate is always the main challenge. But legitimacy is not always a matter of age or experience, I try my best to demonstrate it every day!
In your opinion, and with your experience, have things changed for women in recent years and what difficulties remain (studies and companies)?
Things have drastically changed, because both, men and women are now very conscious that gender inequality at work was an issue of the 20th century and that we need to berry it for good. So now, this is common sense that any sexist or feminizing remark is perceived as unacceptable and I would even say, quiet old-fashioned ...
In addition, the big change is that women are no longer afraid or embarrassed to respond to an inappropriate remark and to report any behaviour that makes them feel uncomfortable. Also, I now often see my male friends being more offended than me by an inappropriate behaviour that I am, so I deeply hope we are the last generation to consider gender equality at work as a matter to address before it becomes normal.
What advice would you give to women who want to go into a profession like yours but also to employers looking for industrial profiles?
Women tend to overthink a lot, so I would just say that if you are attracted by innovation and technicity and willing to have an impact on our industry ... Run for it, the variety of positions and skills to explore are endless!
Regarding companies, I would probably advise to communicate more about gender equality being at the heart of their strategy and even measure performance and communicate on some key indicators or index such as Egaopro. Also,I deeply believe that simple programs such as women mentorship can improve attractiveness.
Finally, there is nothing more powerful than just leading by example, so show that gender equality is in the company DNA and that woman can access any position: technical, sales, corporate, operations especially within top management and C-levels.