Institut Mines-Télécom and Fondation Mines-Télécom launch a program to attract more young women to engineering programs

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Thanks to the support of BNP Paribas, Orange, Dassault Systèmes, Sopra Steria and the RATP Group Foundation, Institut Mines-Télécom and Fondation Mines-Télécom have committed to increasing the number of young women who pursue an engineering education

A Program devoted to increasing the number of women in engineering

As in all French engineering schools, female students are underrepresented at Institut Mines-Télécom engineering schools. On average, they represent 26% of IMT students, with great disparities – between 17% and 37% –depending on the school and program. There are more female students in engineering programs related to the environment or pharmaceutics, for example, than in those related to digital technology.

For many years now, Institut Mines-Télécom schools have been taking action aimed at achieving parity in its cohorts of engineering students. Institut Mines-Télécom included the priority of increasing student diversity, especially gender diversity, in its 2023/2027 strategy. An inter-school working group on diversity was created in 2020 to assess the situation and identify ways to attract more young women and the obstacles in the way. As part of this initiative, an action plan for preventing and addressing sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) was also implemented.

“The aim of this project? To make engineering careers more attractive and compelling in order to achieve greater parity at our schools and in the world of work. A number of initiatives have existed for many years now – both led by associations and within our schools  – to show women that there is a place for them in engineering, but progress towards parity has stalled. Introducing and deploying this program across all Institut Mines-Télécom engineering schools will help bring professionalism to this initiative and boost our efforts. And I would like to thank all of the young people and women mentors who have committed to the project.”

Odile Gauthier, Executive Director of Institut Mines-Télécom

“Ambassadrices” program into middle and high schools

Dovetailing with these local measures already in place, Institut Mines-Télécom and Fondation Mines-Télécom have launched a group-wide “Ambassadrices” (Women Ambassadors) program drawing on the territorial network of IMT engineering schools. It seeks to introduce female middle and high school students to the field of engineering and educate them as early as possible about the academic choices to make in order to prepare them for study at engineering schools. 31 female students and 4 male students from Institut Mines-Télécom engineering schools (IMT Atlantique, IMT Mines Albi, IMT Mines Alès, IMT Nord Europe, Mines Saint-Etienne, Telecom Paris and Telecom SudParis) have enrolled on this program this year.

A support section dedicated to “Ambassadrices”

Throughout the year, they will visit middle schools and high schools to raise awareness among young women of engineering programs in higher education, share their personal experiences and show young women that there is a place for them at engineering schools. The proximity in age between the ambassadors and their audience will help provide a meaningful perspective. Since the beginning of January, some one hundred female middle and high school students have benefited from these awareness-raising activities. Approximately thirty sessions will be held this year.

In addition, ninth-grade female students may complete their required internship at an IMT school or at one of the program’s partner companies to discover engineering careers over the course of a week.

A part of the program is devoted to supporting the engineering student ambassadors, both in their mission with middle and high school students and in their own personal/professional development. They may take part in training sessions throughout the year. Some of these sessions are carried out in partnership with the Femmes@numérique association. They are also open to Institut Mines-Télécom staff who work with the target groups.

Furthermore, twice a year, they benefit from a weekend of training sessions led by experts on topics such as public speaking, developing their leadership skills, combating gender stereotypes, identifying instances of self-censorship etc. The students also attend scientific conferences on parity issues. Lastly, they have opportunities to meet and discuss with female engineers committed at companies.

The first session was held on 20 and 21 January in Paris, at LEONARD, the VINCI group’s foresight and innovation platform.

“Through the Women Ambassadors program, we seek to make a real impact in terms of increasing the number of women in engineering.” We’ve been working on this project for some time now, but thanks to an historic investment from our sponsors, BNP Paribas, Orange, Dassault Systèmes, Sopra Steria and the RATP Group Foundation, it’s finally become a reality. That’s why the foundation is proud to lead this program alongside our sponsors, who are committed to this important cause that is close to all of our hearts.”

Céline Morel, Deputy Director of Fondation Mines-Télécom