France wants to reindustrialise, regain its place in nuclear power, conquer the hydrogen value chain, succeed in the ecological and energy transition, strengthen itself in digital… How to succeed in these challenges without half the talent, girls, when we have a structural lack of engineers?
There are a shortage of 5,000 engineers in the hydrogen sector, 10,000 in the aviation and aerospace sectors, 10,000 in the nuclear sector… 38,000 new engineers graduate every year, while 60,000 are needed.
Thanks to the in-depth and relentless work of the last two decades, the number of girls has increased to represent 47% of students with a science baccalaureate.
According to the math and science collective (1), since the baccalaureate reform in 2019, the number of students with a science profile has dropped by 24% for a stable number of baccalaureate holders. Worse still, the share of girls has dropped even more: among students receiving more than 6 hours of terminal math lessons, the number of girls decreased by 61%!
These results confirm those of the surveys of the Engineers and Scientists of France (IESF) association, as well as those of Gender Scan showing a significant decline in young girls in science classes. A corollary is that only 1.6% of students in the terminal choose the path of engineering sciences! and 2.5% that of digital and information sciences (2)!
For this sector in particular, despite being one of the main sources of innovation and economic development, schools, professional federations and businesses have multiplied incentive policies to attract more women to digital professions. However, the shortage of talent in general and female talent in particular is still just as chronic and inexplicable in this industry.
Girls dropping out of science classes is catastrophic because:
>> Diversity is a resource for the competitiveness of our industry and our research:
- France’s scientific influence internationally cannot be achieved without more than 50% of the talent pool.
- The response to increasingly significant climatic and social challenges, France’s reindustrialization projects, the challenges of France’s competitiveness and sovereignty on the European and international scene, the talent shortage faced by businesses and digital enterprises in particular show the growing importance of STEM* in education and career paths.
>> All the great challenges of our time require mixed women/men teams:
- Clean energy, sobriety, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, data management, information security… these are all challenges that are already shaping the future of our society and our economy, and which concern, in all their dimensions, both women that men.
- However, the shortage of talent in the scientific and digital world is seriously hampering the development of solutions to these challenges. We will therefore not be able to build a prosperous and inclusive society without women engineers, developers, researchers… indispensable, if only to avoid gender bias in the design and operation of solutions.
For this reason, the members of the collective signatory to this platform invite us to seize this theme as of today to strengthen existing initiatives – which have demonstrated their value – and to stimulate a dynamic of scale change.
To act on the orientation of girls in order to reintegrate them into scientific careers, it is particularly essential:
1. Modify common core programs 1st and 12th grade for the subjects of mathematics and science, but they also address the subject from primary school and the first years of secondary school.
2. Strengthen systemic training actions by national teacher training and in particular school leaders in charge of guidance to train them in science, skills and gender inequalities.
3. Accelerate the implementation of actions to promote equality between girls and boyswith teachers and parents aware that the gap between boys and girls on these math-related subjects starts at the age of 6/7 (3).
4. Establish a firm, proactive and large-scale ambition through a multi-year skills orientation planning law to meet the challenges of France 2030capitalizing on the actions with the greatest impact proposed and implemented by associations, higher education institutions or companies.
- The co-signers:
- Engineers and Scientists of France (IESF)
- Grandes Ecoles for Women (GEF)
- [email protected]Interelles Circle
- G9+ Institute
- Conference of the Grandes Ecoles (CGE)
Women and digital allies
 https://smf.emath.fr/actualites-smf/22913reformelyceeprofilssciences1https://femmes-numerique.fr/et-toi-tu-reves-de-faire-quel-metier-plus-tard-pour-changer-le-monde/ *: STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) or STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics