Interview of the month: Femmes Ingénieurs (4/2015)

Every month, EPWS presents the characteristics and activities of one Member Association.

Read all the previous Interviews with our Members here


Our member for March is the French association Women Engineers – Femmes Ingénieurs- association.
For Femmes Ingénieurs, Marie-Hélène THERRE, Honorary president and Vice-president has accepted to answer the EPWS questionnaire.

Association website:
Contact this association:
Contact this member:


EPWS: If you wanted to describe your association in one sentence, what would you say?

M-H T.: Femmes Ingénieurs is a vibrant association acting to promote the place of women engineers in the workforce and in the civil society with dedicated volunteers in all the country.

EPWS: What are the objectives of your association?

M-H T.:
The mission of Femmes Ingénieurs is double:
1. Promotion of the Engineering amongst youth and especially girls in secondary and higher educations, for ex. more than 150 talks and presentations in classrooms in 2014
2. Promotion of Women Engineers and scientists at work and in the corporate boards, for ex. active contributions in professional networks and with French institutions, government and in Europe.

EPWS: What is the history of Femmes Ingénieurs, in a few words?

M-H. T.: Femmes Ingénieurs was founded in 1982 by a group of women engineers who decided to shed the light on the place of women in engineering careers, mainly in the private sector of industry and engineering services.
Femmes Ingénieurs, for at least 15 years, has published the gender-disagregated figures of the French population of engineers – based on the annual national survey issued by the French federation of engineers and scientists.
In 2003, Femmes Ingénieurs was awarded, for her engagement and actions, by the prestigious ‘Prix Irène Joliot-Curie’ of the Ministry of Research and Higher Education.
We are known by and have developed conventions with the Ministries of Research and Higher Education, of National Education and of Women Rights
EPWS: Could you explain the organization of your association?

M-H. T.: Amongst our members are 1) individuals, mostly working in private companies, women and men with an engineering background; 2) associations and networks acting for better gender equality in the scientific area; 3) enterprises and corporations with the willingness to increase the number of women in their engineering industries – Orange Group, Nexter, GE-Medical systems, RTE.

Our executive committee gathers 12 elected people and our representatives in the diverse locations in France. We are in constant interactions with our members and partners via social networks. We are meeting once per month during 3 hours, focusing on our different actions – among youth, to/with enterprises, networks, associations, foundation, in the education sector, in politician area.

EPWS: What are its recent achievements?

M-H T.: Amongst all our recent achievements, I would like to highlight the 3 major ones in 2014 we are proud of:
– For the seventh year, we have deployed the program ‘Shadowing days’ with Orange group company which aims at attracting girls into the Information and Communication Technologies professions : a girl from college is following, like her shadow, a volunteer woman engineer for a day’s work in order to project herself into a scientific career. Since the inception of this program, more than 300 girls and 100 women engineers have been involved in more than 35 Orange’s sites in France.
– Member of the Host committee in Paris of the Global Summit of Women (GSW2014), we have influenced and achieved the introduction of the theme of ‘Innovation, enter-intra-preneurship in technical and technological industries’ into the program to support the voices of the scientists and engineers; many women took the floor to present their innovative products or services during plenaries and in parallel sessions.
– Convinced that women engineers and scientists can bring good practices and their competencies in the governance, administration of companies, we have set-up an internal committee named ‘Femmes administratrices’ – Women in boards- and in closed relationship with institutions and leaders on this theme.

EPWS: What is your agenda for the coming months?

M-H T.: Every 2 months, we are organizing a network café session named ‘café ingénieuse’ to meet members and engineers.
We pursue our engagement to promote:
– sciences & engineering in the range of possibilities for youth
– the local actions run by our representatives in their areas,
– the visibility of scientific women : during the international Women’ day 8th of March by contributing to insert new pages with portrait of them in the Wikipedia France
– the contribution of successful women in the several selection boards of National Awards : for ex. Trophées des Femmes dans l’industrie,…

We pursue developing our closed relationship with our partners and the enterprises and organizations. We plan to finalize our guide to the attention of future leaders and administrators in companies, a guide with a self-assessment for those who want to apply to this type of position.

EPWS: Are you collaborating with other EPWS members?

M-H T.: First of all, we contribute to the meetings of the French EPWS section. It is important for us to contribute to the activities of EPWS to share knowledge, to be part of the European lobby of women scientists.
We are collaborating in France with Femmes & Sciences and femmes & mathématiques with common actions ; together we are behaving as role models for teenage boys and girls in classes, jobs fairs,..; we are designing and producing several documents to the attention of youth, educators and parents which analyze and fight stereotypes which prevent girls for choosing scientific and technical studies and jobs; we are protesting against inadequate consideration of women scientists by frequently writing letters to institutions and ministries.

EPWS: What do you expect from EPWS? In what ways can it help you develop your action?

M-H T.: We greet the EPWS information about European gender issues and its review of European research literature and legislation.

What we could expect from EPWS ? We would appreciate to be more in contact with scientists and engineers to share figures in our specific area– figures and advanced actions which are often requested – to enlarge the knowledge of the engineering situation and the gender of the outcomes of engineers. We would be keen to more contribute in European gender actions with our specific glance of engineers.





Read all the previous Interviews with our Members here


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