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For the International Day Of Women Rights that takes place each year on March 8, we are presenting a month-long gallery of portraits of women who make ISAE-SUPAERO. The opportunity to ask them how they perceive the place of women in science and society. Discover the portrait of Mary Bonneaud-Lagarde, in charge of developing sponsorships at the Department of Company Relations and Sponsorships at ISAE-SUPAERO.


What position and functions do you currently hold at ISAE-SUPAERO and what was the decisive factor for you in your career path?

I am in charge of developing sponsorships at the Department of Company Relations and Sponsorships (DREM). I work with researchers and professors to set up projects that can be presented to the ISAE-SUPAERO Foundation and then sponsored by companies. I also work closely with the Foundation and the Alumni Association to promote the Alumni community.
I was born on Reunion Island and I lived there until I was 20. I went to the EM Lyon business school, where I majored in Not-for-Profit marketing and Corporate Social Responsibility. My studies opened up doors for me, with a network and exchanges with Canada and Peru. I joined the L’Occitane en Provence Foundation, where I became an Assistant Director and then Director of Sponsorships for the Group. It was an exciting life, and I decided to have children and to move to Toulouse with my husband. I took a job at Voies Navigables de France as the Head of General Public Fundraising to replant the banks of the Canal du Midi. Thanks to these experiences, I am now working in project management, sponsorships and communication at ISAE-SUPAERO.
Career choices can sometimes be difficult when you’re trying to be a wife, a mother and a professional all at the same time.

What do you feel is important for the future?

It’s hard for me to imagine the future with all the climate change that is coming. But I think it is important to play a more active role in creating a world that is more respectful, responsible and sustainable. From a more personal point of view, I will try as hard as I can to listen to my instincts and to maintain a good balance between a meaningful professional career and a fulfilling family life.

Who are the women who have inspired you, who have been role models for you?

It’s not necessarily a question of gender. What inspires me the most is leadership in communicating ideas. Some women have had to be twice as bold, work twice as hard and have twice as much courage to make their mark over the centuries. Some of the ideals put forward by Olympe de Gouges and Simone Veil have inspired me in the quest for freedom and fairness. I like women who have character, such as Vandana Shiva, the militant Indian writer and ecologist who defends increased capacities for women, non-violence, a more ethical way of life and healthier agriculture. These are women who have dedicated their lives to sharing their convictions. But I also admire women who have a lighter side like Beyoncé, who are more creatives like Niki de Saint Phalle, more charismatic like Meryl Streep, etc. We all share aspects of these women.

What would you say are the levers we need to pull to improve the place and share of women in society, the workforce, and to increase the percentage of women in the technological sciences?

Women’s fundamental freedoms need to be reinforced in certain countries – walking in the street, driving a car, expressing oneself in public. Education starting at a very young age, public dialogue, and including men for a participative dialogue – these are all levers for actions to avoid mutilations and mistreatments of all types.
Women have greater freedom in France, although there is still a long road to travel to achieve total independence and security.
Whatever the structures, we need human resources that are attentive to equal pay. We must also keep up our efforts at having women represented in key positions, on Boards of Directors and in the media. This paves the way and shows young people that it is possible.

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