Many girls wonder about their orientation (as an engineer) before embarking on higher education. The French associations Elles bougent and the UPSTI sensitize them on all the avenues available to them by organizing “The Sciences of the Female Engineer“, under the High Patronage of the Ministry of National Education and Youth.
At the end of 2018, 1,500 women technicians, engineers and engineering students came to testify before 18,000 college and university students. Today in France, only 1 out of 5 engineers is a woman. Among the student tutors present at the event, Shahérazade, Promo 2021 of the ESILV, delivers her testimony.
Having the courage to be a woman in a men’s environment
Shaherazade hosted six round tables and she admits she did not feel that the girls were afraid of not finding their place in the future.
“The problem is rather upstream. Schoolgirls have in mind that the engineering profession is linked to the automobile or the construction industry, sectors that do not necessarily interest them. In reality, the job is more generalist. I would say that their vision of the profession is still too closed, not wide enough”, she says.
Currently, in the first year of the engineering cycle and just before her gap year, the student godmother of the ESILV gives her own example: she wants to turn to financial engineering. Nothing to do with the world of cars or the building!
“I also tell them how I work in project mode at school. It is easy to be heard as a woman. We should not hesitate to take society has evolved, men no longer have the sexist prejudices that may have existed some twenty or thirty years ago.”
What has most marked Shaherazade? The testimony of Delphine Pommier, Head of Entity for RATP. She demonstrated that she succeeded to manage a team made up of almost 100% men.
“You engineer, we would not say!”
Shahérazade is satisfied with the evolution of society’s view of women scientists, technicians, and engineers, in particular.
“I never had to undergo sexist remarks during my studies, she says. This is rather in my circle of friends that some comments surprise me. When I am at parties, when I am well dressed, made up, one asks me about my studies and I answer that I want to work in the financial engineering, then some people say to me: “You, engineer? We would not say! We must believe that some prejudices persist.”
The young woman believes that by meeting in such events, by talking with men (also invited to the “Sciences of the Female Engineer”), thoughts change gradually. It is necessary for young girls to have concrete examples of women who have followed these paths and who are happy to have made these choices. The experiences must be shared.
L’association Elles bougent au coeur de l’événement SI au féminin
With UPSTI, the association Elles bougent are at the origin of the event. Created 13 years ago by its current President, Marie-Sophie Pawlak, its goal is to increase the number of initiatives aimed at middle and high school students to make them aware of the professions of engineering and technical services. Today, female talent is lacking in many sectors: automotive, aerospace, energy, rail, maritime, digital, construction and defense in particular.
It is time to transmit the passions and to provoke vocations. The Association has many supporters: ministries (National Education and Youth, Economics and Finance, Higher Education, Research and Innovation, Secretary of State for Equality between Men and Women, etc.), companies ( AirFrance, Google, Total, etc.), partner schools and universities (ESILV, CentraleSupélec, CNAM, etc.).
Elles bougent carries an essential message: do not forget that the engineering profession is also feminine!
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