3 min

Women at INRAE

Every year, International Women’s Day on 8 March throws the spotlight on the fight against gender inequalities. INRAE is engaged in these efforts through numerous actions that are gradually bearing fruit, even though certain inequalities and stereotypes still need to be rooted out, today and every other day of the year.

Published on 05 March 2021

illustration Women at INRAE
© INRAE, Christophe Maître

Gender equality in numbers

At INRAE, 51% of all staff members are women. There is perfect equality when you look at the percentages of men and women among research scientists. Despite these welcome figures, differences persist when it comes to management positions: only 40% of research directors and 38% of unit heads are women. Although the figures have improved over the years – only 27% of unit heads were women at INRA in 2016 - some inequalities remain. Awarded the Diversity and Equality at Work certification in 2020, INRAE is resolutely committed to diversity, anti-discrimination and defending gender equality in the workplace. The action plan initiated by INRA, and pursued by INRAE, is producing its effects and continues to be deployed in our research centres through new actions and a recently-organised network of specialist advisers.


Equality and Diversity Advisers in INRAE Research Centres

In 2020, a network of Equality and Diversity Advisers was deployed in all INRAE research centres, to act as local relays for the Institute’s policies. Annual and multi-year action plans are being developed by all research centres. The aim is to raise awareness and provide training for both managers and staff in order to provoke discussions and exchanges regarding the fight against gender inequality – sexist stereotyping, comments or attitudes – as well as ensuring that the Institute will also favour equality in how people are treated and offered opportunities in terms of recruitment, integration and career development. “I am also available to advise human resources teams and managers, participate in communication and listen to staff members, suggesting new options if necessary”, explains Michèle Chamoy-Lemaître, Equality and Diversity Adviser at the Burgundy Franche-Comté INRAE Research Centre.  For Odile Berge, Equality and Diversity Adviser at the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Research Centre, being concerned about gender equality means “defending half of humanity, which opens the way to fighting against all other types of discrimination underpinned by very similar mechanisms.”

Women in leadership

It is very clear that far too few young women follow a scientific career path. Gender stereotypes and self-censorship still exert harmful effects on the commitment of girls to scientific studies and careers. According to Martine Dubois, project leader for the Equality-Diversity programme, the best thing is to show an example…. that of women who are leaders in their fields, like the four described below:

Christine Aubry, farming the city
Dominique Cheneby, risk-averse by nature
Odile Hologne, an ambassador for open science
Monique Axelos, at the heart of the matter

All portraits

ELODIE REGNIER translated by Vicky Hawken


Catherine BeaumontHead of Gender Equality and Anti-Discrimination

Martine DuboisProject leader for Equality-Diversity certification

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