Gender parity in university governance, teaching and training on gender equality for students and university personnel, and promoting research into gender are among measures has been ratified in 2013 by French government ministers and organisations representing higher education institutions.The Charter for Equality of Women and Men is a milestone.While there are more women than men students in France, the proportion of female academics falls as levels in the hierarchy rise. According to most recent government figures, in universities women represent only 24% of professors, 27% of central committee members and 8% of managers. The number of women university presidents has halved since 2008 from 16 to eight in 2012.Students tend to choose disciplines according to their gender, with women more often opting for languages, arts and human and social sciences, and men dominating sports sciences and basic and applied sciences.
Internationally France ranks below the 46% average in OECD countries for women’s representation among new PhDs, in 2009 scoring 43% – just ahead of The Netherlands and Belgium, but behind Iceland (63%), the United States (52%) and the United Kingdom (45%).
The charter recommends measures to ensure better gender balance of students across the curriculum; that students should not be penalised because of family obligations; and that they should be informed about rights and help for victims of violence and sexual harassment.
Women and men should be proportionally represented at all levels of governance and encouraged to take part in gender equality training. They should be kept informed about rights to maternity, paternity and other parental leave, and to part-time working.