Gender aspects

Along with research stakeholders, the French National Research Agency (ANR) is contributing to the development of a policy that aims to reduce gender inequality in higher education and research. It seeks and encourages parity in Scientific Evaluation Panels. It also encourages scientific communities to systematically consider sex and/or gender aspects in research projects in all fields and in review processes.

The ANR's commitments to gender equality and consideration of sex and/or gender aspects are included in its Work Programme and its Code of Ethics and Scientific Integrity. The ANR also supports women wishing to engage in scientific careers and encourages the young generations to join all fields of research.



"Sex" is the set of biological, hereditary and genetic characteristics that organize individuals into two categories: male and female. “Gender" refers to the social and cultural construction of femininity and masculinity. In particular, this concept questions the idea of natural differences based on biological sex. It can be used as an analytical tool in all disciplinary fields to identify unconscious gender biases.

Reinforcing parity and avoiding gender bias in review processes

To identify areas for action to reduce gender inequality, the ANR has been conducting statistical analyses based on data from its calls for proposals, including the Generic Call Proposals (AAPG), since 2016. The first analysis showed that nearly a third of AAPG projects submitted and funded between 2014 and 2016 were coordinated by women (29.4% of projects submitted, 28.3% of selected projects). This proportion has remained relatively stable between calls and is equivalent to the proportion of women in higher education and research.

The Agency has also analysed the issue of unconscious gender bias in review processes. A literature review and an analysis of the 2017 AAPG data have shown that parity in Scientific Evaluation Panels is not enough to reduce this bias. Respect for parity is necessary, however, to guarantee equal access to the professional advantages that come with committee membership. The ANR has thus set up a training and awareness process for committee chairpersons focusing on the issue of parity within committees and consortia and on the question of gender in selection bias.

Highlighting the presence and role of women in science 

The ANR is also keen to highlight the importance of the coordinators of projects it funds, the role of women chairpersons and committee members, and women in science more generally to help scientific culture to evolve. Below you can find portraits of women in science:

Coordinating actions at national, European and international levels

To reinforce its actions, the Agency works closely with research operators and funding agencies. It is a member of the national working group on "Obstacles to Women's Careers in Higher Education and Research" alongside institutional research stakeholders. As a member of the Science Europe association, the ANR takes part in the "Gender and Diversity" working group and has contributed to the development of a guide designed to improve gender equality in the world of research.

Download the guide

The ANR is also a partner of the GENDER-NET Plus ERA-NET, a collaborative research programme that brings together funding agencies from 13 countries and aims to promote gender equality through institutional change and greater consideration for gender in research projects. The Agency is also a member of the H2020 Gender-Smart project (2019-2022) alongside eight European partners. This aims to implement a gender action plan in research organisations and their funding partners, and develop awareness-raising tools for research institutions.

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