Equal opportunities and gender equality charter

Download this document: français, english.

Article 1: Implementation of monitoring

The chairman or chairwoman (hereinafter referred to as “the chairmanship”) of the recruitment panel draws the attention of the members of the panel to the issue of stereotypes that may be detrimental to equal opportunities and gender equality. Two “gender equality” members of the panel, ideally a man and a woman, are appointed by the chairmanship of the recruitment panel concerned to ensure that – during the recruitment process, review of application dossiers and the deliberations of the panel – the basic principles of gender equality and equal opportunities are respected. In particular, a point is made at each important stage of the panel (eligibility, admission) concerning statistics relating to gender equality and equal opportunities in order to avoid the phenomenon of unjustified “line loss”, i.e. percentages are not maintained through the process when there is nothing in the application dossiers to explain why this could be the case. Typically, if 20% of candidates are female, a process without any “line loss” would produce a result where around 20% of those eligible and then admitted are also women (this is obviously on condition that absolute numbers are significant).

Article 2: Profile diversity

The gender equality members of the panel ensure that profiles of different types and/or nationality are assessed in an unbiased manner. They make sure that no conscious or subconscious stereotyping results in the systematic favoring of a very small number of French career paths but that, on the contrary, a certain diversity of professional and personal profiles is retained, and that the application dossiers and/or career paths that deviate from the norm – including those from abroad – are considered, taking into account their specificity. For example, the notion of “length of career in higher education and research since the thesis” will be given preference over age criteria in order to compare candidates’ career paths fairly. Similarly, we will try to provide information about the level of excellence of university degree courses in the case of foreign candidates. The gender equality members are responsible for alerting the chairmanship of the panel should this diversity be a source of biased treatment.

Article 3: Career breaks

The members of the panel in general – and the gender equality members in particular – ensure that any career breaks, in particular those linked to maternity/paternity leave, are taken into account during the assessment. That way, the gender equality members ensure that any additional information that candidates may have deemed useful to provide in their application dossiers be made known to all members of the panel. Based on the fact that European standards consider that having a child must be counted as an 18 month career break, in this case we will use the criteria of a career break of one year per child. Paternity-linked career breaks will be counted in the same way if there has effectively been a career break. For example in 2020, for a thesis defended in 2012 by a woman having had two children, the rapporteur may mention “six year career in higher education and research since the thesis” in his/her report.

Article 4: Presentation

It is today a recognized fact that the style of application dossiers and presentations can be very different according to the candidate’s gender: a more or less aggressive style, more or less egocentric, etc. It is also a known fact that many clichés are consciously or subconsciously activated depending on whether the candidate is male or female (see e.g. http://www.chairs-chaires.gc.ca/program-programme/referees-repondants-eng.aspx#bias)

In particular, an aggressive written or oral style can be perceived differently depending on the candidate’s gender (for example, showing ambition if it is a man, and arrogance if it is a woman). Conversely, the same activity can be over- or under-valued from case to case (men can be more inclined to self-promotion, or more mindful of “accounting for” each of their activities). Even if it is difficult to change people’s perceptions, it is important to ensure that a character trait does not lead to different conclusions based on the candidate’s gender. The gender equality members are vigilant with regard to comments and conclusions arising from these presentations.

Article 5: Letters of recommendation

Letters of recommendation can themselves be affected by “involuntary prejudice” (see e.g. http://diversity.berkeley.edu/sites/default/files/exploring-the-color-of-glass.pdf). In particular, they can show differences in style or tone depending on the gender of the candidate they aim to support. For example, expressions and adjectives used to highlight the qualities of the candidates sometimes differ depending on their gender: leadership, excellence, “potential” for a man, reliability, competence, kindness for a woman. These differences in treatment, which are often subconscious but which reflect deep-rooted stereotypes, can be discriminatory towards the applications and careers of women. The members of the panel must be aware of this problem when examining the letters of recommendation.