Sciences Po launches the gender equality and public policy certificate

20/02/2019 | 12:00 Press Releases  
The School of Public Affairs and Sciences Po’s PRESAGE programme have introduced a new Gender Equality and Public Policy Certificate. The objective of this certificate programme is to enable students to anticipate the barriers to gender equality they will face during their working lives, share their experiences, and understand how inequalities are formed so they can take action to reduce them.

The programme was launched at Sciences Po on 14 February 2019 in the presence of Brigitte Grésy, secretary general of the French High Council for Workplace Gender Equality, participating students, and programme directors Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, head of International Research and Social Innovation at Ipsos, and Hélène Périvier, economist at OFCE and PRESAGE director.

An innovative training programme that combines theory, experience sharing, and mentoring

The Gender Equality and Public Policy Certificate takes inspiration from a Harvard University initiative, From Harvard Square to the Oval Office, which provides students with the training and support they need to run for office in the US through courses, networking, guest lectures, and mentoring sessions with leading figures. The certificate programme has three main components:
  • Theory: courses on gender inequalities and understanding discriminatory mechanisms, representing 60+ hours of contact time. The teaching will draw on research from the Women in Business Chair, led by Anne Boring, to provide the most up to date analyses of the mechanisms of gender bias, stereotypes, sexism, etc.
  • Practice: meetings with professionals willing to share their experience and help students prepare for the issues and obstacles they can expect to encounter in their professional and personal lives;
  • Mentoring: support offered to participating students in the early stages of their careers; coaching workshops to ready them step by step for effective public speaking, managing their presence on professional social networks, recognising sexual harassment, etc.
The certificate programme will build up a mutual support network of certified students and the mentors who wish to participate.

Organisation and admissions

The programme is completed in two semesters. Each semester includes one course from the School of Public Affairs curriculum (24hrs), four thematic courses (8hrs), four lectures (8hrs), and four coaching workshops (8hrs), for a total of 96 hours. To earn the certificate, students must produce a final report in the form of a policy brief suggesting possible solutions for a case study from a given organisation.

The Gender Equality and Public Policy Certificate is open to first-year Master’s students at the School of Public Affairs. Selection of the first cohort was based on academic performance and a questionnaire to assess candidates’ motivation, covering their personal experience, career plan, and the issues they would like to act upon. Eventually, the course aims for an intake of about twenty students. The nine students in the first cohort—two women and seven men—began the programme this month. The programme will interest any students particularly concerned with the issue of gender equality, whatever sector they intend to work in.

For Hélène Périvier, “While the glass ceiling persists in all sectors, laws and public policies form an essential lever to open up the echelons of power to women. To back up these policies, university programmes, continuing education, and research must enable young graduates to better understand these inequalities and take action to reduce them. I am delighted with the ambition of this new certificate.”

Najat Vallaud-Belkacem adds, “Far from being a mere detail of our collective and social history, gender inequalities are a structural feature, which is what makes them so difficult to eliminate. This programme is anchored in the belief that if we want to effect change on this issue, we can no longer afford to take an ad hoc approach. It takes learning to identify and understand these inequalities, particularly by drawing on research; it takes preparation to deal with them effectively; and it takes foresight to help to put an end to them once in a leadership role.”


PRESAGE is a gender studies research and teaching programme established in 2010 by Hélène Périvier and Françoise Milewski. Developed jointly by the Observatoire français des conjonctures économiques (OFCE) and Sciences Po, PRESAGE has three objectives: to advance research on gender, to develop gender studies at Sciences Po, and to disseminate knowledge on gender throughout society.
About Sciences Po

Sciences Po is a selective research university of international standing based on the values of openness and excellence. Sciences Po’s unique academic model combines expertise in the humanities and social sciences, multidisciplinarity and a professional grounding to educate professionals and citizens able to understand and transform society. Diversity is a key element of Sciences Po’s identity. The student body comprises 47 percent international students from 150 different countries and 27 percent scholarship students (up from 6 percent in 2000):
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