The Women and Science Chair joins the UNESCO Chairs Network

Monday, November 30, 2020: Dauphine-PSL’s Women and Science Chair officially joins the UNESCO chairs network.

UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, Patrice Geoffron, Interim President of Université Paris Dauphine – PSL, and Vincent Montagne, President of the Fondation partenariale Paris Dauphine co-signed the addition of the Women and Science Chair to the UNESCO chairs network. 

“Currently, only 33% of the world’s researchers are women. We have to understand why if we want things to change. UNESCO is delighted to welcome Université Dauphine – PSL’s Women and Science Chair to its network. The research undertaken here will help us understand why these disparities still persist, and to then find ways to combat them,” said Audrey Azoulay.

“The deliberately interdisciplinary, outwardly focused nature of this position is an accurate reflection of the research policy of the university as a whole, and the entire Dauphine community celebrates the first Université Paris Dauphine – PSL Chair to join the prestigious UNESCO network,” announced Patrice Geoffron.

“The purpose of the Women and Science Chair at Université Paris Dauphine – PSL is to analyze the reasons behind the underrepresentation of women in research and academic careers and the impact of that underrepresentation, and to contribute to public policy debates on this matter through the publication of research of the highest caliber in economics, sociology, decision-making sciences, mathematical modeling, and social psychology,” explained Elyès Jouini, Université Paris Dauphine-PSL professor, visiting research professor at the École d’Économie de Paris, and current holder of the Chair.

Gender equality in research is an important area of study and one of UNESCO’s organizational priorities. 
Only 1/3 researchers are women, according to the most recent UNESCO data (UNESCO Science Report, forthcoming April 2021)–and only 23 of 624 Nobel Prize winners in the sciences have been women.

This disparity persists to such a degree that it seems the situation will not change unless deliberate and urgent action is taken. Indeed, according to the UNESCO data, only 3% of female students choose to specialize in information and communication technologies.

The goal of the Women and Science Chair is to understand the mechanisms that explain such inequalities and allow them to persist.  It undertakes and publishes national and international reports, research, and think pieces on the relationship of girls, young women, and women to subjects, studies, and careers in the natural and hard sciences.

This involves:
•    Understanding the reasons behind for the underrepresentation of women in scientific programs and careers;
•    Analyzing the role of the various factors (e.g. stereotypes, parents, teachers, or even male behavior) that might impact the trajectories of girls and boys, women and men;
•    Examining the links between academic specialization and academic performance (in scientific and literary disciplines alike);
•    Using international comparative studies to better understand the impact of various sociocultural factors and better analyze the relevance of various proposed or enacted public policies;
•    Analyzing the impact of academic research that doesn’t take sex or gender into account when courses of study are designed; 
•    Analyzing the impact of the absence or underrepresentation of women in scientific fields on the quality and focus of research;
•    Evaluating the solutions and policies that have been implemented to date. 

The Chair works with Université Paris Dauphine – PSL research groups, the Institut des politiques publiques, and an international network of researchers. It is endowed by Fondation L’Oréal, La Poste, Generali France, Safran and Talan. 

The inclusion of the Women and Science Chair in the UNESCO Chairs network, which promotes international cooperation and the creation of inter-university networks, gives it international importance and strengthens pre-existing connections to UNESCO. It also aligns with one of the United Nations’ organizational priorities.

The UNESCO UNITWIN network currently includes 811 Chairs in 115 countries, including 38 Chairs and 4 UNITWIN networks in France.
These Chairs are present on all continents all over the globe and constitute a unique network of experts and research teams who aim to pool intellectual resources from all four corners of the earth. As the intellectual arm of the United Nations, UNESCO centers international cooperation in all of its work, from education, culture, and research to information and the media.