Marie Buard, F3C CFDT France

I am Marie Buard, Deputy General Secretary of the Communication, Consulting and Culture Federation of the CFDT confederation, the largest union in France

I became a trade union leader at the age of 32, when I became National Secretary with significant files: IT, salary issues, professional equality and international (until then reserved for the General Secretary), and then, at the age of 36, when I became number two in my organization. I became a trade union leader because my organization proposed it to me. I would never have considered a position of responsibility on my own. I always liked what I was doing and my union commitment has a meaning: helping others, acquiring new rights, meeting teams, negotiating, valuing activists... and being positive. What made me want to accept this new position were the people who believed in me and saw my potential, sometimes well before I did. First of all, Annick who knew how to spot me, made me grow in the organization and enlightened me on the place of women in trade unionism. Then Arlette, with whom I did the Uni Europa mentoring program and with whom I learned a lot about European trade unionism, and who showed me her commitment both in her company and in her trade union organization... A woman who helped open many doors for other women. And finally, Jérôme, our current General Secretary, and the whole of our federal office, who proposed me this new function and who knew how to convince me, (and how to wear me down). My competences and my capacity of analysis were not to be demonstrated any more by my engagement in my organization. I had some great successes: signing an agreement on sexist and sexual violence in advertising, very good electoral results in companies, animation of the network of sentinels... My vision of the organization and my proposals brought something new to the table, and the question did not arise when it came to finding the leaders of tomorrow. My candidacy was therefore quite obvious. Becoming a trade union leader can be simple, remaining one requires even more effort but it is not insurmountable. You must not hesitate to believe in yourself, surround yourself with people who believe in you and keep it positive. All women can become union leaders, you just have to dare. Dare to believe in yourself!