School -Women in Society: Awareness Week at Rennes School of Business

Women in Society: Awareness Week at Rennes School of Business

In honour of International Women’s Day 2021, the Rennes School of Business CSR Committee set up a series of actions throughout the week to encourage reflection and discussion about women’s place in society.

Collaborative work for collective reflection

This Awareness Week was the first campaign of its kind within the School and was implemented by the CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Committee. The week was organised and run thanks to the collaborative efforts of the SENSe department (Student Experience, Network and Services) and its FeelGood team, as well as operational support from the Brand & Digital department. Two student associations also contributed to the project: the BNEM (Student Management School Office) and HeForShe.

With daily information posts and a virtual round table, this 100% online campaign was designed to raise awareness of important issues of gender equality among all the School’s stakeholders, from students to professors and staff, both male and female.

Raising awareness on the different aspects of gender equality

During the campaign, which began on Monday 8 March 2021, participants received information about the persistence of gender inequality, particularly through the use of concrete figures on the gender pay gap and the existence of sexism in the workplace.

As part of the campaign, participants were informed about existing tools that can be used to detect and protect women that might be victims of violence or abuse.

During the pandemic, an increase has been observed in the frequency of domestic violence. We wanted to raise awareness both within, and outside of, the walls of the School, by drawing attention to the personal sphere,” explains Alix Houssin, CSR assistant. “This awareness week was, therefore, an opportunity to highlight the Black Dot Campaign and to communicate about existing associations that people can consult in order to support victims of abuse.

Throughout the week, the teams used a wide variety of sources, including articles, videos, statistics and specialised websites, in order to increase awareness of some of the problems encountered by women in their personal and professional lives and to inform people how to act if they become aware of an abnormal situation.

The School’s actions during the week

The organisers of this awareness week used the occasion to remind participants of how to use the School’s specialised and anonymous platform for reporting instances of unethical behaviour. Implemented by the FeelGood team, the platform allows any member of the School, male or female, to report any cases of harassment or discrimination to which they might have been a victim or a witness.

The association HeForShe, which has a branch within the school, was also highlighted for its actions in favour of gender equality.

Meanwhile, students have observed a positive evolution in the number of management positions held by women within the School’s student associations. In cohort 28, only 35% of association presidents were female, compared with 46% in cohort 30. Although these figures are a few percent away from perfect equality, they show that the female students at Rennes School of Business have been able to increasingly assert themselves and their position in the student community!

A roundtable event with female Alumni

The end of the campaign was marked by a round table bringing together four female business leaders from the School’s Alumni who are part of the Women’s International Networking (WIN) association:

  • Françoise Poulain Bazin, founder of Tykaz
  • Caroline Bettan, co-founder, CEO, Marketing and Human Resources Director at Newcy
  • Élodie Brasey, President and co-founder at Inoco (agile IT consulting company)
  • Julie Le Flour, co-founder at Filaj (organic, biodegradable straws)

Attended by around thirty participants, this online event was an opportunity to hear directly from women involved in leading sustainable companies.

The four entrepreneurs spoke about various topics including tales of their own experiences of gender inequality and the existence of ‘imposter syndrome’ for women in the workplace.  The roundtable gave rise to a rich exchange of information that arose from their different career paths and experiences.

Engaged students: a successful first experience

At the end of the week, the organisers were pleased to see that the participants had found the information to be relevant and engaging.

The CSR committee’s call for nominations to rename the School’s internal walkway, the “Rue des Entrepreneurs,” gave rise to various suggestions. Greta Thunberg, Simone Veil, Christine Lagarde, Emma Watson and Rosa Parks were all among the names to be suggested by members of the Rennes SB community.

The CSR committee will shortly decide on the name to be chosen and hopes to rename this interior walkway every other year in order to honour different and diverse inspirational figures.

This first campaign dedicated to women’s place in society ended in a positive result.

Organising this campaign remotely wasn’t easy, but the students responded positively with feedback on the different posts,” said Alix Houssin, CSR assistant.