Female students represent just 15 to 30% of the student body in 7 of the 10 ParisTech schools. At ESPCI they represent 40%. AgroParisTech and Chimie ParisTech are the only schools where female students make up more than 50% of the student population, which can be explained by the fact that Food Science & Technology and Chemistry are subjects which traditionally attract higher numbers of young women.
Encouraging girls at our schools and within engineering in general is therefore a key goal for the ParisTech network, because these young women contribute to the diversity and richness of our community.
The ParisTech Diversity Commission is therefore working on all aspects of this topic. In particular:
- In 2018 it undertook to identify all of the actions implemented by the schools to encourage and support young women: communication campaigns (posters, flyers, etc.), conferences, workshops, round table discussions, salary negotiation workshops, campaigns and events run by student associations, projects to raise awareness among female high school pupils, etc.
- In 2019, the commission has been focusing in particular on sexual harassment. A first workshop was held on 18th March 2019. This provided the schools with an opportunity to share best practice: survey of student well-being, prevention campaign (awareness-raising initiatives prior to induction weekend, poster campaigns), confidential support/advice services involving various individuals (administrative personnel, a psychologist, students), creation of support groups, etc.
The commission identified several types of action aimed at preventing sexual harassment:
Measure the impact of sexist attitudes and behaviour (survey)
- Convince, by using factual data (statistics, testimonies)
- Inform (conferences, posters, presentations by student associations, classes, etc.)
- Train (student councils, staff, students)
- Listen (confidential support and advice service, assistance, including with filing complaints)
- Evaluate the actions implemented
In relation to these topics – gender equality and sexual harassment, the Diversity Commission is also working on two key factors of success:
- Although perceptions may differ significantly between men and women, it seems essential for men to be fully involved in the actions being carried out.
- It is of utmost importance that initiatives are fully supported and driven by the school management bodies and that each player within the eco-system (management, administrative and academic staff, students and associations) is familiar with the issues so they can help to inform and train others and evaluate the actions implemented.