Gender aspects

Alongside research stakeholders, the French National Research Agency (ANR) is committed to contributing to the development of a policy aimed at reducing inequalities between women and men in higher education and research (HER). The Agency is carrying out several actions to avoid potential gender biases in the evaluation of projects, to contribute to the evolution of scientific culture towards systematic consideration of the sex and/or gender dimension in research work and in evaluation, and to enhance the place and role of women in science.

An action plan for gender equality

The ANR has implemented a dedicated action plan to permanently embed its commitment to gender equality in the very culture of the Agency, and to strengthen its actions for professional equality and account of the sex and/or gender dimension in research. It identifies several actions to be carried out over the 2020-2023 period, relating to the culture and organisation of the ANR, its human resources policy and the funding of research. This action plan was drawn up in the context of the European Gender-SMART project of which the ANR is a member.

Download the Action Plan for Gender Equality and Gender Mainstreaming

In 2017, the ANR also included its commitment to gender equality in its Work Programme, along with the fundamental principle of equality in its code of ethics and scientific integrity revised in 2018.

Analyses, parity and training to reduce potential gender bias in evaluation processes

In order to identify lines of action to reduce gender inequalities in HER, the ANR has been conducting statistical analyses since 2017 using data from its calls for proposals, in particular the Generic Call for Proposals (AAPG), the Agency's main appeal. They allow the identification of possible gender biases in the evaluation and bear witness in particular to the evolution of practices in terms of responding to a call for proposals.

The analyses conducted on the projects submitted and selected in the context of the 2015-2020 AAPG underline the fact that the proportion of projects submitted by women corresponds to the proportion of women in HER. They also reveal an increase in projects submitted by women (+5 points between 2015 and 2020) with 2,021 projects submitted in 2015 versus 2,257 projects in 2020. This increase can be found in each of the AAPG instruments, and is more important for the JCJC “Young Researchers” instrument (+6 points).

View all the analyses of male and female scientists in the AAPG

Download the analysis of male and female scientists in the 2015-2020 AAPG

In parallel to the production of analyses, ANR ensures that parity in scientific evaluation panels is sought, which in the scientific literature constitutes the first recommendation in order to reduce potential gender bias. Respect for parity is also necessary to guarantee equal access to the professional advantages linked to participation in a committee.

As parity is not, however, a sufficient condition to reduce potential gender bias, ANR has set up a training and awareness-raising process for male and female chairpersons of committees on the issue of gender in selection bias. The aim is to ensure fairness of treatment between projects, whether they are led by women or men.

Contributing to the evolution of scientific culture

Beyond these actions, ANR encourages scientific communities to systematically consider the sex and/or gender dimension in their research, whatever the field, for the production of quality knowledge.



Sex” is determined by a set of biological characteristics (chromosomes, genes, hormones, anatomy of the reproductive system) in humans and animals. Sex is described in binary terms "woman" and "man" even though the attributes defining it and their expression may present multiple variations.

Gender” refers to the social and cultural construction of ways of being, of acting, of interacting, of perceiving others and which organises the distribution of power and resources between individuals. This concept makes it possible, in particular, to question the notion of natural differences based on biological sex. It can be used as an analytical tool in all subject areas to identify unconscious gender biases.

Moreover, in order to encourage young women to fully invest in science, especially in fields in which they are a minority, ANR is committed to promoting the careers of project coordinators, chairpersons and committee members.

Discover the video portraits of women in science

Coordination of actions at the national and European levels

ANR works in concert with research operators and funding agencies in order to carry out its actions. At the national level, ANR is a member of the working group on obstacles to the career of women in HER.

At the European level, it is a partner of the H2020 Gender-SMART project (2019-2022) which, coordinated by CIRAD, brings together 9 partners to implement gender equality plans (GEP) in the partner organisations of the project and produce educational tools intended for institutional research stakeholders.

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, as well as taking into account gender in research. Finally, as a member of Science Europe, ANR participates in the “Gender and Diversity” working group and has contributed to the development of a guide intended to improve gender equality in the world of research.

Download the guide

Further reading:

ANR rolls out an action plan for gender equality and gender mainstreaming

Men - women analysis in the AAPG: interview with Laurence Guyard, Gender referent at ANR

Analysis "Male and female scientists in the ANR generic call for proposals from 2014 to 2016"

Videos. Portraits of women in science

Publication: "Supporting Women in Research" Policies, Programs and Initiatives Undertaken by Public Research Funding Agencies, Global Research Council (GRC), April 2019

Gender-Smart project website

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