Countdown to the 2021 Friends of IHES Gala: What place for women in science and business? (Week -7)

The 2021 Friends of IHES Gala will take place on Tuesday, November 16… only 7 weeks to go!

On top of being an occasion for Friends of IHES to meet, discuss and support fundamental research, this year’s edition will address the issue of women underrepresentation in science, more particularly at IHES, where only 10% of researchers are female.

To identify the best way to reduce that gap and attract more women researchers, IHES wishes to take advantage of the hindsight and know-how of experts and associations that have a long experience in raising awareness and promoting equal opportunities for women – be it within private organizations, or in the academia.

On Wednesday, September 15, IHES hosted the first in a series of three events aimed at reflecting on the difficulties that women face in traditionally male-dominated fields and identifying concrete actions that can be taken to make these fields more attractive and accessible to women.

Starting from her personal experience and from a reflection on the film “Picture a Scientist“, Martine Liautaud, Founder and President of the Women Initiative Foundation, which has been promoting diversity and women in the business world, was interviewed by Bruno Dranesas, Director of editorial strategies at ELEPHANT, which accompanies major French companies, on the role of women in science and in the business world. What lessons can higher education and research learn from the initiatives implemented by business companies?

The whole discussion (in French) is now available online.

The discussion with Martine Liautaud allowed to point out three main take-home messages:

– It is extremely important, especially for young women at the beginning of their career, to rely on mentors and role models, and to be part of supporting networks;

– Institution such as IHES have a big role to play in explicitly addressing women underrepresentation and in recognizing that women encounter larger obstacles along their professional path compared to their male colleagues;

– To help them overcome such obstacles, it is important to implement initiatives to promote women along their professional path, for example through specific programs and scholarships.