Women & Science
15.03.2019 - The ambassadors of Women and Science talk about Civil Engineering!
Considered a field dominated primarily by men, the “Women and Science” team were quickly convinced about the idea of collaborating with Dragages, a company and partner since the start of the project. Through the association Girls on the Move/Elle Bougent of which we are a part, two dynamic exchange sessions took place:
- On Wednesday 6 March, five female Civil Engineers who work at Dragages, BYME and VSL (subsidiaries of Bouygues) devoted their time to come and talk to FIS students.
The type of environment in which these women work is often not easy, particularly in terms of the high number of work hours. However, they emphasised the exciting and concrete aspect of their work.
The engineers explained the five stages of project development, from the negotiation phase with clients to the project’s final finishing touches, including discussions on documentation, construction, and safety tests. At each step and almost at all possible levels, women are present in these companies and collaborate closely with men.
During their talks, some of the women mentioned the initial difficulties in integrating themselves but everyone agreed that once they proved their talents and skills, there was no difficulty whatsoever in working in this type of environment; an environment significantly composed of men. Bouygues seeks to recruit more females into their ranks, a policy of non-discrimination has been put in place allowing women to progress in their careers in the hierarchy. Good to know!
- On Saturday, the 9th of March, six FIS students had the wonderful opportunity to visit the work site where the tunnel linking Tuen Mun to Chek Lap Kok is located, a significant part of which was built by Dragages.
The morning began with a presentation on this project launched in 2013, and on the different stages that led to the introduction of two tunnel boring machines last week. These impressive machines dug 4.6 km of tunnel under the sea with diameters measuring up to 18 metres! After a quick briefing on safety, students departed for the tunnel wearing work site clothes. We were able to observe all safety devices in case of fire, tunnel evacuation procedures, ventilation outlets; we also gained a better understanding of the incredible organisation of an extraordinary site like this one.
“Thank you very much for giving us this opportunity. It was a very enriching and highly motivating experience, definitely proving that women can do all.” ~Amandine
After lunch, at their offices, we had an exchange with the women who work in this company. Even if some work groups do not have any women in their teams, the proportion of female engineers is 20% of the workforce. All those involved, whether young or more experienced women, assured us that they were properly welcomed, even if they felt the need to prove themselves particularly to their male colleagues, who sometimes were surprised that they got hired.
No doubt that there was a strong message of hope and of new perspectives expressed to us after these exchanges.
“A day filled with discoveries allowing us to envisage a beautiful future for women in the field of Engineering.” ~Alix
The willingness of this company to move forces is most evident: The proof is that they offered 24 young women present on this day to come and follow a female engineer for 2 days in the construction site. We sincerely thank Dragages HK for everything they’ve done for everyone!
“Wonderful day, full of surprises that are 100% feminine!” ~Lua
Next meeting: the 20th of March: We welcome VEOLIA !!!! Come one, come all!
INFO: insta: fishk.wis
Alix Bellemin for the Ambassadors of the project “Women and Science” FIS
08.03.2019 - Capturing Our Half of the Sky - A Report for Women & Science on the HeforShe Conference
What is HeforShe? It’s over one thousand events worldwide, 2 million online commitments, and one billion social media conversations. But just who are the people behind this media phenomenon? Above all, what are their proposals to combat inequality between men and women? In search of answers to these questions, a FIS team attended a conference on Tuesday night organised by the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Hong Kong and HKEX.
During this event, several speakers shared their initiatives, experiences and projects. These included remarkable women like Teresa CHEN, Hong Kong’s Justice Secretary, as well as men, executives, businessmen and family men. Although highly focused on the business world, the discussion raised a plethora of issues. Women in all professions are still confronted by a salary gap, social pressure to choose between family and career and barriers to climbing the rungs of the hierarchy. These very real problems are far too infrequently addressed by businesses.
Thankfully, the evening’s participants were not ready to give up and there was no shortage of solutions presented. Many felt that quotas were a necessary step. For others, a revolution in the world of work was in order in order to accommodate more flexible working hours or replace business dinners with business lunches. Still others highlighted the crucial role that parents and educating future generations plays in changing mindsets. No matter what answers were proposed, one thing is certain: we all have a role to play. Chief amongst them is the duty to stay informed and to share so that everyone may become aware of the extent of these inequalities.
As Xing ZHOU, PwC’s “Diversity” project manager, summed it up:
“There was a saying in mainland China that women hold up half of the sky. [...] This half of the sky has a glass ceiling, and we need a hammer to break it.”
Barriers, therefore, continue to exist, and we are far from attaining perfect parity, but the resounding takeaway message from the evening was a hopeful one.
Lison Guyon for FIS’s “Women & Science” Project Ambassadors
27.02.2019 - Women & Science hosts its First Female Scientist, Nathalie Mauroo
On February 27, 2019, Nathalie Mauroo, a veterinarian at HKU, ushered in our exchange-session between female scientists and FIS students.
The first participant met an audience that was certainly young, but nonetheless eager to exchange viewpoints. Ms. Mauroo described her career path, her initial hesitation in choosing between plant and animal biology, and then her lengthy studies that gradually brought her from pets to wildlife, and then to research.
While she did refer to some of her profession’s harsh realities, she also succeeded in conveying its rewarding aspects and the surprises that it has in store for her each day!
The conversation stayed on topic when Ms. Mauroo then focused on the role of women in the veterinary world. Although a very female-dominated profession (80% of students admitted to veterinary schools are female), it is unfortunately still impacted by the gender gap, since women are paid 12% less than men. Challenges related to work-life balance in the context of this demanding profession were also very much at the heart of the discussion.
These issues are those that we, as students and budding citizens, both girls and boys, will have to confront in the world of the future. That is why we invite all students to participate in upcoming discussions. We hope you look forward to these excellent encounters!
- Wednesday, March 6, 5 p.m.: The team from Dragages
- Saturday, March 9: A visit to the Dragages site: REGISTER HERE before Monday, March 4
- Wednesday, March 13, 5 p.m.: The team from Veolia
Lison Guyon for FIS’s “Women & Science” Project Ambassadors
26.11 to 20.12 - Discover the anonymous scientific women
An exhibition featuring the scientific insights made by anonymous women took place in the library and the 5th-floor hallway. A paper chase on the theme "Discover the anonymous scientific women" was organised, and the winners received purchase vouchers at the Parenthèses library, a partner of this project.
Women & Science at FIS
During the course of the year, FIS will lead several projects focused on the theme "Women & Science". Students will find out and talk about the place of female scientists in our society.
This project is supported by the Consulate General of France in Hong Kong, and by "Elles bougent", an association which aims to promote science among young girls.
- 26 November - 20 December: an exhibition featuring the scientific insights made by anonymous women
- February /March: meetings in class and on the field with female engineers from industry (Dragages, Veolia) and university (HKU)
- March: 10 ambassador students will be trained to lead debates
- April: debates in class (Seconde) will be led by ambassador students
- May: Talk about the place of women in the world of Science
We would like to thank our partners on this project: Consulate General of France in Hong Kong, "Elle Bougent", Dragages Hong Kong, Veolia, and Parenthèses.