researcher at INSERM and co-team leader at Institut du cerveau de Paris (ICM)
CNRS Research Director at the Max Mousseron Institute of Biomolecules
On 8th March 2021, a survey by the French Ministry of Education, aimed at identifying the origins of inequalities, made the following observation: girls are not weaker in science, but they are less likely to go into scientific fields.
In France, 52% of women and 42% of men graduated from higher education, but one year later women found it more difficult to find a job: 66% of women compared to 70% of men found employment.
In 2019, according to data from the French Ministry of Higher Education, only 25% of university professors, 30% of research directors and 37% of lecturers in France were women.
Subtle efforts such as the nudge, undertaken by the “Comité XX”, were able to change the percentage of women in the Scientific Steering Committee of INSERM, which is now composed of 50% women.
Lecturer in Sociology at Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès
In the sciences that study human phenomena – biology and medicine, but also technology for human use – the failure to take gender into account in research distorts the results or gives a partial view of the subject studied.
This approach, called “gendered innovation”, was formalised in 2009 by the science historian Londa Schiebinger.
A woman's heart attack, for example, has different symptoms from those of men. Yet today we are so sensitised to recognising the symptoms of a male heart attack that it can delay diagnosis and response treatment in women.
Science needs all the talent, ideas and innovation it can get. Women make up half of the population, a partially untapped potential that we should certainly not deprive ourselves of.
Annalisa Plaitano is a science communicator. A biologist by training, she develops scientific mediation projects and teaches scientific communication and culture at Sorbonne University and the University of Evry. She also trains researchers and doctoral students from several universities (Nanterre, Grenoble, Lorraine, Camerino in Italy) in popularisation. She regularly collaborates with the magazine Cosinus and has written for Sciences et Avenir, La Recherche, Causette, the Italian National Institute of Nuclear Physics website, etc. She is a member of the association Femmes & Sciences. Her website: http://www.annalisaplaitano.com/