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International Women's Day

Magalie Quet - 8/03/2017

Focus on 35 women from the Inria Saclay - Île-de-France research centre

Whether they are researchers, managers, senior lecturers, heads of department, PhD students, communications officers, teachers, administrative assistants...they all have something in common: working towards furthering research. And, this year, on International Women's Day, the Inria Saclay – Île-de-France research centre has decided to highlight some of these women who carry out and support the research of today. 

International Women's Day - a little reminder

The United Nations formalised International Women's Day in 1977. This day originated at the start of the 20th century in the fights by female workers and suffragettes for better working conditions and the right to vote. However in concrete terms, 40 years later in 2017, what is it about? When all is said and done, it is an opportunity to demand equality and to take stock of the situation of women in society. This year, UN Women has chosen the theme: "Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030".

Women and research

Whether in France or elsewhere, research and the sciences are still a largely masculine domain. In 2014, UNESCO carried out an assessment of women in research. The result: women still remain largely under-represented in research and development, wherever it may be in the world. In total, there are only 14 countries out of 127 where women hold more scientific positions than men! And there is only parity in one country out of five. In one country out of two, they are fewer than 30%, i.e. the world average... 

What about in France?

The only country in the world able to boast that two of its women are among the great names in world science - namely Marie and Irène Curie - France is not however one of the top performers: according to the UNESCO report, only one researcher out of four in France is a woman (25.6 %). This means that we are in 95th position in the world rankings, between Kenya and Tanzania. Of the European countries, only Luxembourg (24 %) does worse.

35 women from the Inria Saclay-Île-de-France research centre

Click on the # to discover the portraits of these 35 women.

#mélanie #sylvie #héléna #régine #stacy #jessica #diane #sandrine #marianne #sarah #raouia #céline #selja #hasna #sira #lisheng #marisa #caroline #maria #marta #alexandra #chengcheng #juanita #hélène #ioana #irina #marjorie #éléonore #samantha #carla #françoise #charlotte #jiali #federica #marie


#understanding #confidence #living #patience #empowerment #service #explorer #reactivity #technicality #visionary #diversity #rigorous #direct #altruistic #demand #learning #organisation #precision #paradox #symbiosis #organisation #expressive #spontaneous #passionate #factchecking #enthusiasm #adaptability #togetherforscience #relations #entrepreneurialheart #reflect #optimism #interaction #stimulate #sharing


 Download the mosaic in pdf format


A vision shared by all women at the Inria Saclay – Île-de-France research centre

Whether they are directly involved in the world of research or take part in a more indirect way, whether they are working at the Inria Saclay – Île-de-France research centre or for its partners: the women's views of the world of work are very similar. Here is a little glimpse:

Turning gender relations and gender stereotypes upside down

According to Federica Caforio (PhD student, MΞdisim)"spurring on young women to pursue higher education studies in scientific and technological fields, and to consider a professional career in these areas, means turning old concepts that are deeply rooted in the collective subconscious upside down. This paradigm shift is very important in order to help to eradicate gender discrimination and to evolve towards a society in which women and men can participate equitably in the growth and progress of the community."

"Personally, I hope for a world where life will not be dictated by what we have been taught in the past, a world where the paternalistic vision would be laughed at because it was outdated." (Hélène Bessin-Rousseau - administrative assistant)

Encouraging paradoxes to create new standards

For Françoise Levy-Dit-Vehel (research lecturer, Grace project team) "a freer and less dogmatic approach to the world is necessary in order for women to occupy even more senior positions" However "women must still fight even harder to be recognised as being just as skilful as men on technical subjects" (Marianne Lombard - systems administrator). A vision also shared by Šejla Čebirić (PhD student, Cedar project team) for whom"women are still under-represented and largely underestimated in the world of research".

"Scientific research is an open, interdisciplinary, creative, innovative and visionary world! And yet, in computer science research, women are still largely a minority. We are seeking equal opportunities and a level playing field." (Sarah Fdili Alaoui - senior lecturer, ExSitu  project team). In fact, it is a world "that is sorely lacking in female images. This can be an obstacle for certain young girls who would like to go towards scientific research but who struggle to identify with a masculine researcher and tell themselves "this is not for me" (Eléonore Gauci - PhD student, Gamma3  project team)

Encouraging changes in behaviour

"The women researchers I know are generally women of character. That said, I also have never heard any misogynistic or sexist remarks at work. This definitely shows the change that is currently taking place" (Jessica Gameiro - research team assistant) "Both women and men must make an effort in order to ensure that the world of work becomes asexual. The support that women will find in their private lives is what will also help them to calmly contemplate their careers." (Eléonore Gauci - PhD student, Gamma3 project team).

According to Stacy Hsueh (PhD student, Ex-Situ project team), there is a need to"promote research without borders and create anti-discrimination technologies."Indeed, for Chengcheng Qu (intern, Ex-Situ project team)"one day, we will no longer class people based on their gender but on their personal abilities."For the time being,"despite a still quite modest participation in certain fields, women are increasingly managing to land judicious positions in the scientific world. The principle of equality in the field of scientific research needs to be encouraged, as does, in particular, access by women to high-level decision-making positions."(Raouia Taktak - research lecturer, Computer Science Laboratory (LIX) of the École polytechnique).

Keywords: Journée internationale des droits des femmes Inria Saclay - Île-de-France