4 min

INRAE’s Women Scientists

Less than 30% of researchers around the world are women*. The International Day of Women and Girls in Science, celebrated on 11 February, aims to encourage women to choose scientific careers and it is the perfect day to turn the spotlight on INRAE’s women scientists.

Published on 11 February 2020

illustration INRAE’s Women Scientists
© INRAE

The scientific path: when young girls refrain

The low percentage of women that choose a scientific major can be explained, in part, by a self-censorship phenomenon. This phenomenon becomes evident during evaluations. When presented with the exact same exercise under different labels—one labelled as artistic and the other mathematical—girls are less successful than boys if the exercise is labelled as mathematical, even if their competences are similar. Catherine Beaumont, INRAE’s gender equality and anti- discrimination representative, explains that this ambivalence comes from internal obstacles, rather than real differences in their capacity. She adds that a way to help these young women surpass their self-censorship mechanisms is to show them examples of women that have chosen the scientific path.

Equality between men and women: how to achieve it?

Even if disparity is less significant than in other research organisations, there are currently more men than women researchers at INRAE, particularly in disciplines such as math and biology of population and ecosystems. The institute has already implemented multiple measures to reverse this trend: raising awareness on unconscious gender stereotypes and biases among managers and juries, developing partnerships with other research and education institutions and associations to promote equality between men and women throughout the network, spotting and supporting talent, etc. These actions, carried out by INRA for many years, have been strengthened by INRAE in the process of obtaining the Diversity and Equality certification.

This certification, awarded at the beginning of 2020, recognizes INRAE’s commitment to defend professional equality between men and women, but also, its pledge to reinforce all the measures already implemented and to expand them in the years to come. Martine Dubois, project manager for this certification at INRAE’s human resources department, states that this is a long-term project, and that the institute will move forward, one step at the time.

According to Catherine Beaumont, it is crucial to boost young women’s confidence, showing them that both men and women can achieve a balance between personal and professional life, and that research work can be very fulfilling. Celebrating women scientists can help young women stop censuring themselves.

Women of Science: inside the lab

The following are eight examples of women scientists, chosen among many others. These portraits tell stories of exemplary careers, excellence in research—recognized by the scientific community—, or, quite simply, passion for science. They also illustrate the diversity of our professions.

Stella Cesari, unraveling the intricacies of plant immunity

 

>  Stella Cesari, unraveling the intricacies of plant immunity
Read her portrait

 

 

Claire Chenu, exploring the potent power of soils

 

> Claire Chenu, exploring the potent power of soils
Read her portrait 

 

 

 

Véronique Bellon-Maurel, creating digital tools for agroecology

 

> Véronique Bellon-Maurel, creating digital tools for agroecology 
Read her portrait

 

 

 

Odile Hologne, breaking barriers in the quest for open science

 

> Odile Hologne, breaking barriers in the quest for open science 
Read her portrait

 

 

Lucile Capuron, uncovering the links between nutrition and depression

 

> Lucile Capuron, uncovering the links between nutrition and depression 
Read her portrait

 

 

 

*Data from UNESCO (2014-2016): only about 30% of female students choose majors related to STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) in higher education.

Elodie RegnierTranslated by Natalia Bermúdez

Contacts

Catherine Beaumont Déléguée à la parité et à la lutte contre les discriminations à INRAE

Martine Dubois Cheffe de projet pour le label Egalité-Diversité Direction des ressources humaine

Learn more

Climate change and risks

Two publications present the results of FACCE-JPI

The Joint Programming Initiative on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change (FACCE-JPI) has published its new brochure and a flyer on soil management in the context of climate change mitigation. The brochure presents the achievements and future actions of FACCE-JPI and includes several key interviews. The flyer highlights some of the research projects that are part of the 'FACCE-JPI Multi-Partner Call on Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research'. Both documents were presented at the International Conference on Agricultural GHG Emissions and Food Security organised by GRA and FACCE-JPI in Berlin (10-13 September 2018).

12 December 2019