Cover of higher education & research in France, facts and figures

Post-Bac Admission (APB) centralises the administrative procedures for higher education. Candidates start entering their enrolment preferences in March and can validate them in order of priority until end May. The IPE, Paris Dauphine, private courses and nursing schools are not offered in APB (preparatory classes for paramedical and social courses are offered). This page only takes into account applications from pupils in the final year of secondary school.

The Insee employment survey is carried out on a sample of households (continuously since 2003) and measures unemployment according to the International Labour Office (ILO), providing data on professions, employment of women or young people, duration of employment, temporary jobs (see EES10EN_ES_19).

The Generation 2010 survey: between March and July 2013, the Centre for Study and Research in Training and Education Policy (Céreq) interviewed a sample of young people who had left the school system during or at the end of the 2009-10 academic year. The purpose of this survey was to study differences in conditions of access to jobs according to initial education and individual characteristics.

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13 gender equality in higher education

Women outnumber men in higher education, but are less likely to enrol in selective or scientific courses and are in the minority in PhD programmes. In 2013, their unemployment rate three years after leaving was higher than men for nearly all levels of qualification, and their employment conditions were less favourable.

After achieving better results than boys throughout school, on average more girls than boys obtain their baccalauréat: in 2015, in one generation, 83.2% of girls passed their baccalauréat compared with 72.7% of boys 1.

52.2% of students passing their baccalauréat in 2015 were girls. They are almost as likely as boys to continue their studies in higher education, but tend not to take the same study programmes (chart 13.01). Under the Post-Bac Admission system, 45% of first preferences entered by women were for university (excluding IUT) compared with 31% for men. Conversely, they requested less frequently selective courses such as the CPGE (8% compared with 10%), IUT (11% compared with 17%) or STS (26% compared with 32%). At university (excluding IUT), they were less inclined to enrol in a scientific or sports course.

Although in total 55.1% of students were women in 2015-16, their proportion therefore varies hugely according to the courses. Women only accounted for half the enrolments in STS, 39.5% in IUT and 42.1% in CPGE (chart 13.02). Conversely, paramedical and social courses are attended by 84.5% women. At university, they account for 69.7% of students in Languages, Arts and Humanities. In the last ten years, their proportion has slightly increased in the scientific courses at university, but they are still a minority. However, they represent 60% of students studying Healthcare, Life Sciences, Earth and Astrophysical Sciences (chart 13.03). While they represented 56% of students enrolled in Bachelor's degree programmes and 59% in Master's programmes, they represented only 48% of PhD students.

Of female students leaving initial education in 2012, 2013 and 2014, half obtained a higher education qualification, compared with only 40% of men. Female higher education graduates were most likely to have a Bac + 5 university degree and a Bac + 3 paramedical or social work degree, whereas men were more likely to have degrees from specialist universities (écoles supérieures) and short-cycle Bac + 2 courses (BTS or DUT) (table 13.04).

In 2013, three years after leaving higher education and for each level of qualification (excluding the Bac + 2 and + 3 degrees in the healthcare/social sector and PhDs), the unemployment rate for women was slightly higher than for men. However, despite being better qualified than men, women experience an overall unemployment rate equivalent to that of men. In direct contrast to the unemployment rate, the share of immediate or fast access paths to employment increase with the qualification level. The proportion of women following this type of path should therefore be higher than for men. In practice, fewer women follow these paths at each level of qualification (except for Bac + 2 and + 3 healthcare and social sector qualifications) and overall slightly fewer women follow these paths than men.

Despite this structural effect, their employment conditions are also less favourable: they are less likely to have a permanent job (54% compared with 61%), often work part-time (15% compared with 7%) and are less likely to be managers (27% compared with 32%). This last difference has however markedly decreased since the last survey carried out three years earlier (table 13.05).

1 Proportion of Baccalaureate holders in a generation: this is the proportion of Baccalaureate holders in a hypothetical generation of people with, for each age, the candidate and pass rates observed for the year in question.

How to cite this paper :

JAGGERS Christophe. Gender equality in higher education. In: Higher education & research in France, facts and figures - 49 indicators [online]. KABLA-LANGLOIS Isabelle (dir.). Paris: Ministère de l'Éducation nationale, de l'Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche, 2017. 10th ed. Chapter 13 [Accessed 07/21/2019]. ISBN 978-2-11-152033-2. https://publication.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/eesr/10EN/EESR10EN_ES_13-gender_equality_in_higher_education.php

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Post-Bac Admission (APB) centralises the administrative procedures for higher education. Candidates start entering their enrolment preferences in March and can validate them in order of priority until end May. The IPE, Paris Dauphine, private courses and nursing schools are not offered in APB (preparatory classes for paramedical and social courses are offered). This page only takes into account applications from pupils in the final year of secondary school.

The Insee employment survey is carried out on a sample of households (continuously since 2003) and measures unemployment according to the International Labour Office (ILO), providing data on professions, employment of women or young people, duration of employment, temporary jobs (see EES10EN_ES_19).

The Generation 2010 survey: between March and July 2013, the Centre for Study and Research in Training and Education Policy (Céreq) interviewed a sample of young people who had left the school system during or at the end of the 2009-10 academic year. The purpose of this survey was to study differences in conditions of access to jobs according to initial education and individual characteristics.

 

Key figures


Share of female baccalauréat holders in a generation
83.2%
 
2015
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "13. gender equality in higher education".

Source: MENESR-DEPP
Share of female students in Arts and Humanities university study tracks
69.7%
 
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "13. gender equality in higher education".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Share of female students in paramedical and social care courses
84.5%
 
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "13. gender equality in higher education".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Share of female students in engineering courses
27.0%
 
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "13. gender equality in higher education".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
  See more key figures  
Share of female students in Technological university institutes (IUT)
39.5%
 
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "13. gender equality in higher education".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Share of female students in Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmacy
63.8%
 
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "13. gender equality in higher education".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Share of female students in classes preparing for admission to Grandes Écoles (CPGE)
42.1%
 
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "13. gender equality in higher education".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES, MENESR-DEPP

13.01 Répartition des premiers vœux formulés dans Admission Post-Bac en juin 2016 (%)

Women
Men
  
University (excl. Science, STAPS, IUT)
University - Sciences, STAPS
STS
IUT
CPGE
Other courses
 
 
 Coverage: Metropolitan France.

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13.02 Proportion of women in the main higher education courses in 2015-16 (%)

Femmes
 
Hommes
 
Engineering courses 1
Universities - Sciences, STAPS
DUT Preparation
CPGE
Business, management and accounting schools
STS and similar
All courses
All universities (excluding DUT)
Universities - Economics, Economic and social admin
Universities - Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy
Universities - Humanities, Human Sciences
Paramedical and social care courses 2
  
2015-16
2005-06
 
 

1 including engineering courses dependent on universities, National Polytechnical Institutes (INP), technology universities and engineering courses run in partnership.
2 2014-15 instead of 2015-16.

 Coverage: Metropolitan France + overseas departments (DOM).

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13.03 Proportion of women on scientific courses at university (%)

All scientific disciplines
DUT Production (including IT)
Scientific courses (including engineering)
of which pure and applied sciences
of which Life Sciences, Healthcare, Earth and Astrophysical Sciences
of which multi-sciences
Healthcare
of which medicine and dentistry
of which pharmacy
of which multi-healthcare courses
  
2015-16
2005-06
 
 
 Coverage: Metropolitan France + overseas departments (DOM).

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13.04 Breakdown of initial education leavers according to their highest qualification (average for 2012-2013-2014, %)

 
All leavers
Men Women
Master's, PhD 8 17
Specialist schools 8 5
Bachelor's degree, 1-year postgraduate (Maîtrise) 10 10
DEUG, BTS, DUT and equivalent 14 13
Paramedical and social care 0 2
Total specialist study qualifications 40 49
General Baccalaureat 7 9
Technological, vocational Baccalaureat and similar 22 21
CAP, BEP or equivalent 15 10
Total second cycle secondary graduates 44 40
School leaving certificate only 8 6
No qualifications 8 5
Total school leaving certificate and no qualifications 16 11
Total initial education leavers 100 100
 

On average in 2012, 2013 and 2014, out of 100 women who left initial education, 49 received higher education qualifications.

📄 Sources:Insee
 Coverage: Metropolitan France + overseas departments (DOM).

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13.05 Indicateurs d'emploi des sortants de l'enseignement supérieur - Situation en 2013 des sortants 2010 (en %)

 
Men Women
Unemployment 13.5 13.4
No higher education diploma 23.7 25.8
BTS-DUT, Other 2-year course 14.5 16.1
Healthcare-social care 2/3-year diploma 2.2 1.8
Graduate after 3/4 years excl. Healthcare-Social care 11.6 14.1
Master's second year, Grandes Ecoles, Other postgraduate 8.5 11.1
PhD 6.1 5.6
Rapid access to stable job 68.6 67.5
No higher education diploma 51.6 46.0
BTS-DUT, Other 2-year course 67.7 64.8
Healthcare-social care 2/3-year diploma 94.9 95.0
Graduate after 3/4 years excl. Healthcare-Social care 68.3 63.1
Master's second year, Grandes Ecoles, Other postgraduatePhD 82.0 75.3
Proportion of open-ended contracts 87.4 85.6
Proportion of part-time 61 54
Proportion of managers 7 15
32 27

 
📄 Source:Céreq
 Coverage: Metropolitan France.

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Related statistical publications

 Note d'information SIES 16.06 - Male/female inequalities in professional integration of Masters graduates - Louis-Alexandre Erb - September 2016
On leaving university, there are more female than male Masters graduates. The professional integration rate, 30 months after graduating, is similar between men and women. However, women experience less favourable employment conditions than their male counterparts.

These differences are primarily due to the subject of the Master’s degree. In disciplines in which the number of women is the highest, opportunities in the employment market are less favourable. However, in disciplines with fewer women, professional inequalities are significant. In addition, regardless of the discipline, career paths diverge, with more women in employment in the non-profit and public sectors, where pay is usually lower and contracts less stable.

For a given discipline, type of employer and sector of activity, inequalities persist, above all with regard to pay, in which the residual difference is the largest, representing two-thirds of the differences noted.
 Filles et garçons sur le chemin de l'égalité, de l'école à l'enseignement supérieur 9 - Filles et garçons sur le chemin de l'égalité, de l'école à l'enseignement supérieur 2015 - Catherine Moisan, Mireille Dubois - 2015
A l’occasion du 8 mars, journée internationale des droits des femmes, cette série de données statistiques renseigne sur la réussite comparée des filles et des garçons depuis l’école jusqu’à l’entrée dans la vie active. Elle met en évidence des différences selon les sexes en matière de parcours et de réussite des jeunes, de choix d’orientation et de poursuite d’études entre filles et garçons, qui auront des incidences ultérieures sur l'insertion dans l'emploi ainsi que sur les inégalités professionnelles et salariales entre les femmes et les hommes.


Other editions

Etat de l'enseignement supérieur et de la rechercheHigher education & research in France, facts and figures 9th edition - November 2016
26 - gender equality in higher education - Christophe Jaggers
Women outnumber men in higher education, but are less likely to enrol in selective or scientific courses and are in the minority in PhD programmes. In 2013, their unemployment rate three years after leaving was higher than men for nearly all levels of qualification, and their employment conditions were less favourable [Consult the following page]
Etat de l'enseignement supérieur et de la rechercheHigher education & research in France, facts and figures 8th edition - November 2015
25 - gender equality in higher education - Christophe Jaggers
Women outnumber men in higher education (55%), but are less likely to enrol in selective or scientific courses and are in the minority in PhD programmes. In 2013, their unemployment rate three years after leaving was the same as for men, but their employment conditions were less favourable [Consult the following page]

Translation

 Etat de l'enseignement supérieur et de la rechercheL'état de l'Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche en France n°10 - Avril 2017
13 - la parité dans l’enseignement supérieur - Christophe Jaggers
Les femmes, plus nombreuses que les hommes dans l'enseignement supérieur, s'inscrivent moins souvent dans les filières sélectives ou scientifiques et sont minoritaires en Doctorat. Leur taux de chômage en 2013, trois ans après leur sortie de l’enseignement supérieur, est plus élevé à presque tous les niveaux de diplôme, et leurs conditions d'emploi sont moins favorables [Consult the following page in french]


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