1973-2023: 50 years of gender diversity at HEC between progress and future challenges
The HEC community continues to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the school to women by publishing on this March 8, International Women's Rights Day, a series of portraits of female graduates whose commitment and exemplary success have had a positive impact on society. Let’s have a look at both the road travelled and the challenges that remain in our journey towards gender equality.
In 1916, HEC Jeunes Filles (“HEC young ladies”) laid the groundwork for the first business school for women. Yet it remained separate from HEC Paris, which was still reserved for men only. Despite this first step, it was not until 1973, i.e three years before the United Nations officially proclaimed International Women's Rights Day, and 29 years after women obtained the right to vote in France, that HEC accomplished its small revolution by officially opening its entrance exam to women.
On the one hand, the school put an end to ten years of isolation of boys on the new Jouy-en-Josas campus, inaugurated in 1964. On the other hand, it broke with the well-established idea that the world of business was only reserved for men. Retrospectively, the measure might be judged as being late, but it was nevertheless part of the slow evolution of the French society in terms of gender equality.
It is therefore with humility but also with pride that HEC Paris, HEC Alumni and HEC Au Féminin are marking this gender equality anniversary in 2023 by looking at the past, present and future through 50 portraits of women graduates from HEC Paris.
Over the past 50 years, HEC Paris has trained women whose successes have helped to shatter the glass ceiling and advance society. The women we will be honoring this year, from March 8 until our big party in November, have each chosen different paths to express their potential. However, they all share and embody HEC’s core values: excellence, curiosity, entrepreneurial spirit, responsibility and diversity.
By highlighting these role HEC aims to inspire new generations of women. Looking back at the path we have taken and retracing the shared history of the school are both a factor of cohesion and mobilization. There is still much progress to be made to make parity a reality and to ensure that gender diversity fulfills all its promises. As the year progresses, we will open up new tracks for action.
This anniversary is not an achievement but a springboard for building the future we want for the next 50 years. It also reminds us of our responsibility to our society as a whole.