In the eyes of some people, gender equality is already well advanced and thus no longer a central issue.

Even if it is true that women were given the right to vote as early as 1944 and have had the right to work without their husbands’ permission since 1965. It is also true that men are paid 23.5% more, on average, than women, the gap being 12.8% for equivalent working time and occupation (source: Observatoire des inégalités), that despite the same average age on obtaining a doctorate, women are recruited on average 9 months later, a gap that widens considerably in the transition from lecturer (MCF) to tenured professor (PR) (43 years for men; 47 years for women).


In other words:

The principle of gender equality is universally accepted. It is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and in the French Constitution of 1946 (Preamble: it guarantees women equal rights with men in all fields.)

Genuine gender equality is yet to be achieved. Such equality would consist in ensuring that women and men have access to the same rights, material conditions, resources, education, employment, political responsibilities, care, etc. Any inequality of treatment in such areas, if due in particular to gender, is considered discrimination (article 225-1 of the French Criminal Code).

Working towards gender equality, in 2016, is therefore still largely about combating discrimination against women, inequalities that are decreasing only very slowly or even increasing (at the current rate, it would take until 2186 for wage inequalities to be eliminated).

On average, a man is paid 23.5% more than a woman.
At the current rate, it would take until 2186 for wage inequalities to disappear!"

The commitment of the University of Poitiers

With the appointment in 2014 of a Deputy Vice-President in charge of gender equality, the University of Poitiers actively committed itself to promoting gender equality, combating gender stereotypes, inequalities and discrimination linked to gender or sex, and acting against harassment at the University, whether among students, administrative and technical staff or lecturers/researchers.

On 24 April 2015, the Board of Directors of the University of Poitiers unanimously adopted the “Charter for Equality between Women and Men“, which urges universities to:

  • appoint a referent;
  • to use non-sexist, non-discriminatory, non-stereotypical communication tools;
  • to make and disseminate a gender statistical overview of the current situation;
  • to organize actions to raise awareness of gender equality among students and staff alike;
  • to prevent all forms of violence and harassment.


Actions carried out or in progress since 2014:

Progressive implementation of non-sexist, non-discriminatory, non-stereotypical communication tools (see section “The weight of words”)

  • The appointment not of a project manager but of a vice-president, which is the case in only 3 of the 68 universities that are members of the Standing Conference of Project Managers for Equality and Diversity in Higher Education and Research Institutions (CPED).
  • Establishment of a gendered statistical overview with its social audit report and statistical data (see “Overview”)
  • Organization of actions to raise awareness of gender equality among students and staff, but also secondary school staff, through teaching, research and cultural projects.
  • Implementation, as of January 2015, of the Sauvadet Law requiring a minimum of 40% of each sex on recruiting committees
  • Preparation (through discussions with student associations and the different official councils involved, etc.) for the creation of a unit against gender-based, sexual and homophobic violence and harassment (see section “Discrimination and harassment”)
  • Organization of verbal self-defense training courses (November 2015, March 2016, March 2017)

For more information, clarification or any other remark, please contact :

Stéphane Bikialo,
Professor of Linguistics and French Literature
Vice-President for Equality between Women and Men and for the Open University


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