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

The panel of Baccalaureate holders 2008 monitors a sample of Baccalaureat holders in school in 2007-2008 in a public or private institution in metropolitan France (excluding Ministry of Agriculture, Agrifood, and Forestry (MAAF)), who were awarded their Baccalaureate in 2008.

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 chapter 21).

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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26 gender equality in higher education

This page has been updated. Read 13. gender equality in higher education in Higher education & research in France, facts and figures 10th edition - June 2017

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 Baccalaureate: in 2014 in one generation, 84.2% of girls passed their Baccalaureat compared to 70.9% of boys 1.

Of those who were successful in the general Baccalaureat, 57% were girls. They are almost as likely as boys to continue their studies in higher education (74% compared to 76%), but do not follow the same courses (chart 26.01). 38% of them enrolled in university (excluding IUT) compared to 29% of boys. By contrast, they were less likely to enrol on selective courses such as CPGE (5% compared to 8%), IUT (5% compared to 10%) or STS (17% compared to 22%). At university (excluding IUT), they are less likely to study Sciences and Physical education and sports science and techniques (STAPS) than other disciplines.

Girls tend not to take the same study programmes: 36% enrol for a Bachelor's degree compared to 25% of boys, and 8% go into the first year of core medical studies (PACES) compared to 6% of boys. Conversely, girls are less likely to choose selective courses such as classes preparing students for admission to Grandes Écoles (CPGE) (7% against 12%), Technological university institutes (IUT) (6% against 12%) or Advanced technician's sections (STS) (21% against 26%). When enrolling for Bachelor's degree programmes, they are two to three times more likely to choose Humanities, Arts, Languages or Human Sciences.

From one programme to the next, there is great diversity in the proportion of women attending. Whereas in 2014-15 women represented 55% of all enrolled students, they made up barely half of students in STS, 39% in IUT, and 42% in CPGE (chart 26.02). Conversely, paramedical and social care courses were made up of 84% women. In universities, they made up 70% of students in Arts and Humanities. In ten years, the number of women on scientific courses at university has slightly increased, but is still in the minority. However, they represent more than 60% of students on Healthcare, Life Sciences, Earth and Astrophysical Sciences courses. (chart 26.03). 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 (RERS 2015 6.4).

Of female students leaving initial education in 2011, 2012 and 2013, half obtained a higher education qualification, compared to only 39% 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 26.04).

In 2013, three years after leaving higher education and for each level of qualification (excluding the 2 and 3-year diplomas in the healthcare/social sector and PhDs), the unemployment rate for women was slightly higher than for men. However, although they are better qualified than men, women experience an overall unemployment rate equivalent to that of men. In the same way, rapid access to stable employment is generally more common for men, although this is not true at all levels of qualification.

Despite this structural effect, their employment conditions are also less favourable: they are less likely to have a permanent job (54% compared to 61%), often work part-time (15% compared to 7%), and are less likely to be managers (27% compared to 32%). This last difference has however markedly decreased since the last survey carried out three years earlier (table 26.05).

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 - 50 indicators [online]. KABLA-LANGLOIS Isabelle (dir.). Paris: Ministère de l'Éducation nationale, de l'Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche, 2016. 9th ed. Chapter 26 [Accessed 08/23/2019]. ISBN 978-2-11-151572-7. https://publication.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/eesr/9EN/EESR9EN_ES_26-gender_equality_in_higher_education.php

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The panel of Baccalaureate holders 2008 monitors a sample of Baccalaureat holders in school in 2007-2008 in a public or private institution in metropolitan France (excluding Ministry of Agriculture, Agrifood, and Forestry (MAAF)), who were awarded their Baccalaureate in 2008.

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 chapter 21).

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
84.2%
 
2014
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "26. gender equality in higher education".

Source: MENESR-DEPP
Share of female students in Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmacy
63.5%
 
2014-15
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "26. gender equality in higher education".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Share of female students in classes preparing for admission to Grandes Écoles (CPGE)
41.9%
 
2014-15
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "26. gender equality in higher education".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES, MENESR-DEPP
Share of female students in Technological university institutes (IUT)
39.2%
 
2014-15
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "26. gender equality in higher education".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
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Share of female students in engineering courses
24.2%
 
2014-15
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "26. gender equality in higher education".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Share of female students in paramedical and social care courses
83.9%
 
2014-15
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "26. gender equality in higher education".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Share of female students in Arts and Humanities university study tracks
70.1%
 
2014-15
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "26. gender equality in higher education".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Share of female students in general Bachelor's degree programmes
56%
 
2014-15
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "26. gender equality in higher education".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
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Share of female students in Master's programmes
59%
 
2014-15
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "26. gender equality in higher education".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES
Share of female students in PhD programmes
48%
 
2014-15
Metropolitan France + overseas departments
 
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Extract from the chapter "26. gender equality in higher education".

Source: MENESR-DGESIP/DGRI-SIES

26.01 2008 baccalauréat holders continuing their studies in the year following the exam (%)

Men
 
Men
Men
Men
 
 
Women
Women
Women
 
Women
General Baccalaureat
Technological Baccalaureat
Vocational Baccalaureat 1
All
  
University 2 - excluding Sciences, Physical Education, Sports Sciences and Techniques
University 2 - Sciences, Physical Education, Sports Sciences and Techniques
STS
IUT
CPGE
Other courses
 
 

1 Including vocational Bac holders studying at an STS as an apprentice.
2 excluding IUT.

 Coverage: Metropolitan France.

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26.02 Proportion of women in the main higher education courses (%)

Women
 
Men
 
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
  
2014-15
2004-05
 
 

1 including engineering courses dependent on universities, National Polytechnical Institutes (INP), technology universities and engineering courses run in partnership.
2 2013-14 instead of 2014-15

 Coverage: Metropolitan France + overseas departments (DOM).

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26.03 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
  
2014-15
2004-05
 
 
 Coverage: Metropolitan France + overseas departments (DOM).

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26.04 Breakdown of initial education leavers according to their highest qualification (average for 2011-2012-2013, %)

 
Total Men Women
Master's, PhD 14 10 18
Specialist schools 6 7 5
Bachelor's degree, 1-year postgraduate (Maîtrise) 9 9 10
DEUG, BTS, DUT and equivalent 13 13 13
Paramedical and social care 3 1 4
Total specialist study qualifications 44 39 50
General Baccalaureat 8 7 8
Technological, vocational Baccalaureat and similar 20 22 19
CAP, BEP or equivalent 13 15 11
Total second cycle secondary graduates 41 44 38
School leaving certificate only 7 8 6
No qualifications 8 9 6
Total school leaving certificate and no qualifications 15 17 12
Total initial education leavers 100 100 100
 

On average in 2011, 2012 and 2013, out of 100 women who left initial education, 50 received higher education qualifications.

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

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26.05 Employment indicators for higher education leavers - Situation in 2013 of those leaving in 2010 (%)

 
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 69 68
of which Bac + 3/4 excluding healthcare-social work 68 63
of which M2, Grandes Ecoles, other Bac + 5 82 75
Proportion of open-ended contracts 61 54
Proportion of part-time 7 15
Proportion of managers 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.
 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.


Other editions

Etat de l'enseignement supérieur et de la rechercheHigher education & research in France, facts and figures 10th edition - June 2017
13 - 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°9 - Juin 2016
26 - 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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