Polytechnique celebrates 50 years since the arrival of women in schools

REPORT – A graduate of X, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne strongly encouraged young girls to turn to science.

“Never let yourself be told that a sector is not made for you. Never let yourself be told that a job or a dream can only be written in the masculine”. Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne was invited on Tuesday, November 15 to the 50th anniversary of the opening to women of the competition of thePolytechnic university. A ceremony during which she strongly encouraged young girls to turn to science and in particular mathematics.

In the Foch amphitheater of the Ecole Militaire, a few steps from the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the 580 seats were all occupied by graduates and students of theX. The meeting was so expected that a hundred other people also followed the event from a nearby room.

A still insufficient number of female students at X

A graduate in 1981, the Prime Minister was the main guest of this evening. At the start of her speech, she notably addressed the first seven women who joined the benches of Polytechnique, five of whom were present in the room. “Ladies, [en 1972], you pave the way for hundreds of young girls. (…) I’m part of.” The current students, dressed in their uniform and their hats on their knees, listened to this speech religiously. “Everything is possible after this school, and the polytechnicians have proven it”, added Elisabeth Borne. Researchers, engineers, general managers of large groups, and “same prime minister”, the field of possibilities has opened up for half a century for the 2,500 graduates. Inspiring journeys, which push the room to applaud several times, grateful to its elders.

” READ ALSO – Fifty years ago, women pushed the door of Polytechnique

Anxious to note that women are still insufficiently present in scientific fields, the head of government encouraged to go further. “We know that women are just as successful the competition only men”, she said. A speech shared with Eric Labaye, president of the École polytechnique and the Institut polytechnique de Paris, who said at the start of the ceremony: “The school wants to be even more mixed, and is not satisfied with the number of women in the engineering cycle today.”

“You are capable of anything”

If the school went from “2 to 20%” of women between 1972 and today”, recalled the Prime Minister, some high school and preparatory students still do not dare to take the plunge. Gold, “we cannot do without 50% of the talents of this planet. We have to make girls want to go into scientific professions”, shared Christel Heydemann, CEO of Orange. Elisabeth Borne highlighted the latest announcements by Pap Ndiaye, Minister of National Education, concerning the return of an hour and a half of first grade math compulsory, and the objective of achieving parity between girls and boys by 2027 in the mathematics, physics-chemistry and expert mathematics specialties at the baccalaureate. Before concluding, addressing 50 high school girls present in the room: “You are capable of anything.”

“When we think of great scientists, we always have male figures in mind.”Julia, 3rd year student at Polytechnique

This message particularly resonated in the ears of Enora, 21, in her second year at Polytechnique. “It’s interesting to see how far these women have come so that, in my time, female students were less hampered in their scientific studies”, comments the student. When she was in maths-physics preparatory class, Enora already noticed that a minority of girls had turned to science. “The more the years went by, the fewer of us there were. Inevitably, it questions“, continues the young woman.

An opinion shared by Julia, a 3rd year student at X. “It’s strange to think that women have had access to Polytechnique for so little timeshe explains. It is motivating to have representations of women in this sector because when we think of great scientists, we always have male figures in mind. If she had any advice to give to young girls who hesitate to embark on this sector of excellence, Julia insists: “If boys succeed, there is no reason for girls not to succeed. They have to trust each other, they have to go for it, because even if they fail, they will get something out of it”.

Polytechnique celebrates 50 years since the arrival of women in schools