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Sophie Lhenry & Rachida Lemmaghti

Sophie Lhenry & Rachida Lemmaghti Print page

Sophie Lhenry attended the international conference Structural Change for Gender Equality in Research and Innovation: Contextual Factors, which took place on 19 May 2017 in Prague.

The chronicles of a gender equality office in a French university

by Rachida LEMMAGHTI & Sophie LHENRY (PEFH/TRIGGER, Paris Diderot University)


In this communication, we will present creation, twists and turns of a gender equality office (PEFH) in Paris Diderot University (UPD). It will be shown that several aspects of internal and external context had expected and unexpected impacts on the chosen strategies of the team.

The creation of the office was possible because of the awareness of the former president, the continuity of an FSE project on women in STEM, the long tradition of gender studies in UPD and the French context of universities autonomy. 

But a lot of changes in local context push forward the initial strategies to implement actions. For instance, French debates on homosexual unions impacted the possibility to use the word « gender », while in the same time, UPD researchers on gender studies start to mistrust the office actions on gender in research. The team had to find new supports to fix the situation and to involve new stakeholders.

On the other hand, the creation of communities of universities in France, allowed extending the range of the office while the experience of the PEFH is employed by the French ministry of higher education and research to create new French laws that in return, help the PEFH to ensure sustainability of some actions. Furthermore, the possibility to be funded by the TRIGGER European project has been a lever to make things happen.
From different examples of successful actions (such as the creation of an external structure against sexual harassment) and failures, we will show how this gender equality office continuously tailors the structural change approach to each change of context.