Gender equality is everyone's business

Gender equality is everyone's business

Maylis Douence lecturer in public law, in charge of the 'Equality Diversity' mission
UPPA's 2021-2023 action plan for professional equality between women and men completes the existing measures to fight against discrimination, harassment and sexist and sexual violence.

« We tend to think of the university as a protected environment, immune to gender issues and sexual and gender-based violence. Here, as elsewhere, we are unfortunately confronted with societal issues that concern staff and students alike, » says Maylis Douence, a lecturer in public law who has been in charge of the "Equality and Diversity" mission at the University of Pau and the Pays de l'Adour since last February. Backed by a multidisciplinary research programme(Fr) in gender studies conducted by the ALTER and ITEM laboratories, the survey ''Equality between women and men at UPPA (pdf -(PDF - 7.60 Mo)'' presented in June 2018 by Évelyne Barthou, lecturer in sociology and researcher at the UMR TREE, provides a state of play offering a solid basis for building an ambitious roadmap.


Fighting against professional inequalities

Maylis Douence points first of all to inequalities in career development, in the balance between professional and personal life and above all in recruitment. In fact, 59% of UPPA's teaching and research staff are currently men. Women are, on the contrary, over-represented in the most precarious and least well-paid positions: 74% of women in category B and 76% in category C. This imbalance raises above all the question of equal access to bodies, grades and jobs.

The UPPA's multi-year action plan for professional equality between women and men commits to better training for professionals in charge of recruitment on the risks of discrimination, but also to better communicating on professions without gender stereotypes, by proposing upstream awareness-raising actions for high school and university students.

« Si nous voulons faire évoluer les mentalités, il est nécessaire de favoriser la mixité dans les études et inciter les filles à s'orienter plus volontiers vers les formations relevant par exemple du secteur ''sciences et techniques'' ,»** stresses Maylis Douence. Individualised mentoring, which consists of a UPPA professor supporting the career of a female student, is also an interesting initiative that deserves to be expanded.

**« If we want to change mentalities, we need to promote gender diversity in studies and encourage girls to choose courses in the 'science and technology' sector, for example,»


Preventing discrimination and violence

« Dealing with equality between women and men, ajoute Maylis Douence, also means preventing and dealing with discrimination, acts of violence, moral or sexual harassment and sexist behaviour: a student party that goes wrong, an ambiguous relationship, misogynistic behaviour. Unfortunately, victims often find it difficult to speak out.»

The many tools that have already been put in place at UPPA in recent years are set to become more visible. Maylis Douence mentions in particular the Medical, Psychosocial and Prevention Service (SMPSP) for staff, the Student Health Space (ESE) and the Sexual Harassment Intervention Committee (CIHS), which is responsible for supporting victims or witnesses and for considering possible disciplinary or criminal proceedings against the perpetrators of prohibited behaviour. An "Alert Form", easily accessible online, is also available to everyone to report facts that are presumed to be sexual harassment or gender-based violence.

This in-depth work is part of an overall strategy to promote a calm climate. "A sincere and non-militant approach," assures Maylis Douence, "complementary to the Human Resources Excellence in Research (HRS4R) label obtained by UPPA in 2021, beneficial to students and staff alike, to women and men."

Contact : Maylis Douence