Focus on Equality between Women and Men

Focus on Equality between Women and Men, by Pascale Borel, Professor-Researcher in management sciences, is a specialist in research methodologies and professional gender inequalities and the School’s internal Gender Equality Referee.

Professional inequalities between women and men are still reported today. While responsibility for these inequalities is generally attributed to the functioning of the labour market, organisations and society through stereotypes and roles assigned to people, the education system also plays a decisive role in the construction of these inequalities. However, Higher Education institutions, including Business Schools, can act to counter mechanisms that build gender inequalities in employment.

As a global professional training ecosystem, Business Schools bring together many actors involved in building or fighting against professional gender inequalities. Among them, future student managers, teachers who prescribe future professional behaviour, social law experts who guarantee a good reading and understanding of legal texts, company managers who are involved in professional equality, etc. In this respect, Business Schools have an undeniable potential to act in the fight against professional gender inequalities.

The actions of Business Schools are organized individually and collectively and guided by the will to act and based on texts, in particular the Charter for Equality between Women and Men promoted by the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation. It also involves the supervisory bodies of Higher Education and Research Institutions, in particular the Conférence des Grandes Ecoles (CGE). This Charter indeed affirms the responsibility of Business Schools and their duty to act to prevent or correct professional inequalities between women and men within institutions.

In February 2016, Groupe ESC Clermont decided to formalize its commitment by signing the Charter for Equality between Women and Men in Higher Education with the CGE in order to demonstrate its commitment to strengthening its actions in favour of gender equality. At the same time, Groupe ESC Clermont also joined the Equality working group of the CGE. Since then, our School has been working with the other CGE member schools to define concrete actions in favour of equality. The exchange of good practices, the provision of tools, the meeting of experts, the implementation of collective actions (such as the Stereotype Busters Competition), are initiatives coming from the working group that make it possible to support and stimulate the actions of a Gender Equality Referee present in each member school. The working group also supported the collection of gender statistics by setting up the Gender Equality Barometer.

For the past 3 years, Groupe ESC Clermont has been participating in the gender equality barometer. The production of this gender related data is a real tool for managing the equality action plan and measuring its impact. At the same time, efforts to raise students’ awareness of gender stereotypes and professional gender equality issues are multiplying, in different programmes, in different forms. Today, these questions are not only addressed in HR and management training but also in dedicated interventions, testimonials or educational activities such as the development of communication materials. As such, a reflection is being conducted to ensure that gender stereotypes are eliminated in the various educational and communication materials. Student associations also play a role in promoting gender equality. By organizing concrete awareness-raising actions or highlighting testimonials during Women’s Day, for example, students have shown their willingness to get involved in these issues. But it is also by inviting them to promote gender diversity when building their student association offices that we can raise their awareness. Student associations are the antechambers of future organizations and work teams, they are witnesses to the construction of “professional” gender relations. Art cannot be only for women and sport for men. It is essential to be able to create gender diversity in these associations in order not to reproduce in these micro-organisations the horizontal segregation that exists in the labour market. The recent election of a female president at the head of the Students’ Union office, a position generally held by boys, is an example of the ability of students to free themselves, in the associative context, from the phenomena of vertical segregation and glass ceilings observed in the labour market. Groupe ESC Clermont’s Alumni Association also contributes to supporting students in the construction of their professional and career projects. The implementation of a mentoring system allows young students and graduates to benefit from advice, regardless of their gender, whereas it is known that in companies these systems benefit men more.

Groupe ESC Clermont, as a Higher Education Institution, has a responsibility in the fight against professional gender inequalities. It is for this reason that our School is committed to preparing students for fair professional practices.

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