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Our 4 portraits for the week of March 30rd - #InternationalDayOfWomenRigths

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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.

This week, we are honouring :
- Raquel Alonso Castilla, first year of the Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering,
- Caroline Chanel, Research Professor in autonomous system command at the Department of Aerospace Vehicle Design and Control,
- Isabelle Bloy, Chief Engineering team of the Airbus A320 family,
- Marielle Toupillier, in charge of the Assets service at ISAE-SUPAERO.

SOMMAIRE :

Marielle Toupillier: published on April 7th

Isabelle Bloy: published on April 5th

Caroline Chanel: published on April 3rd

Raquel Alonso: published on March 30th


Marielle-PortraitDeFemme

Marielle Toupillier

What position do you hold and what was the decisive factor for you in your career path?

I am in charge of the Assets service at ISAE-SUPAERO. This service covers three main types of missions: an understanding of the school’s real estate assets, definition of the real estate strategy and, lastly, its operational application through various operations such as new buildings, refurbishments and restructuring projects overseen by the service. Our role is that of the conductor of an orchestra, coordinating all the players. After I obtained my engineering degree from the École Nationale des Travaux Publics de l’État (ENTPE) and a first position in the field of land use planning, I wanted to move into the more operational profession of conducting real estate operations. I seized the opportunities that popped up, always with a desire to work in a concrete, operational field. The Institute’s assets are a real challenge, both in terms of maintaining and renovating them and of developing them in view of the energy and ecological transitions. The aim is to make the most of these assets to enable the school to meet the challenges of the future in training, research and innovation.

I must admit that, as a woman and an executive, it has been hard. Some opportunities haven’t work out precisely because I’m a woman. In interviews at the start of my career, I was confronted with questions about my private life, my children and/or my desire to have children and how I would manage things in case of illness… and this even happened for civil service jobs! Men rarely get asked these questions. But I think mentalities have been changing little by little over the last 5 or 6 years.
An anecdote in conclusion – in my private life, I was recently confronted with men who felt that, as a woman, I couldn’t “understand” technical and scientific things, even simple ones… strangely, this has never happened to me at work, even though the construction sector is still mainly male today.

What do you feel is important for the future?

I am very sensitive to issues related to sustainable development and ecological awareness for all people, but also for institutions. For me, the school must be exemplary and asset management is one of the levers for action. But it is also important to provide support to young and not-so-young people every day to bring about this change and succeed in meeting the major challenges that lie ahead.
Beyond this aspect, it is also important for me to achieve a good balance between my professional life and my personal life!

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

There aren’t really any women who are models for me, but rather a multitude of little inspirations in everyday life, through women, but also men who are involved in the issue of sustainable development, environmental protection, flora and fauna, etc. People who work on their own level to improve and change mentalities, and who propose solutions and innovative projects, they are my inspiration every day.

EN_Marielle-PortraitDeFemme

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

Very good question!
Education has an enormous effect on how girls gain a feeling of legitimacy for working in scientific and technical fields, in school as well as in their family circle.
=> Starting in primary school, we must talk to them and give them information on the place of women in society and in the workplace, adapting our discourse to the students’ age.
In terms of the reticence that confronted me as a woman, I would say that men and women in France should be equal when it comes to parenthood. In order to get our values and our mentalities to evolve and to speed up change, men should be able to take as much time off for childbirth, caring for sick children or working part-time without this being frowned upon by their colleagues and their superiors, and this entails education , encouragement, etc.


Isabelle-PortraitDeFemmes

Isabelle Bloy

What position do you hold and what was the decisive factor for you in your career path?

At the Chief Engineering team of the Airbus A320 family, I oversee the team in charge of major developments. Our job is to define product requirements for major developments and to provide technical coordination and arbitration. I also directly handle Chief Engineering for the A321 XLR. I worked as an aircraft architect for 15 years at Airbus, with several functions (systems, structures, flight physics) and I have held different positions ranging from project management to team management.

What do you feel is important for the future?

The most important thing for a large company is to be capable of foreseeing societal and environmental changes rather than suffering the consequences. This entails a greater social and gender mix within the management teams and an active approach to the environment, not only in the design of the product itself but also in how it is produced and in the employees’ work environment.

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

Virginia Woolf’s book, “A Room of One’s Own”, is a superb reflection on the status of women. She raises the question of why there is such a small number of women authors and she examines how women occupy public space and the influence of their vocation. This reflection remains valid. Rather than enshrining the idea that women are underrepresented in certain positions as being the result of a lack of skills, it would be preferable to look into what can be done concretely so that they feel capable, legitimate and desirous to gain access to them.

EN_Isabelle-PortraitDeFemmes

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

Women have to learn to help each other, and men – those who promote an egalitarian, feminist ideal – also have an important role to play in compensating for the common self-censorship mechanisms that can be observed among women. Furthermore, education has a lot to do with future choices to be made by men and women. It is not a question of focusing on gendered games for children, but rather to raise questions about the emotions and behaviors that we promote differently for girls and for boys. Anger is acceptable for a boy, sadness for a girl. We need to ask how this education influences children’s future affinities toward professions. It seems to me that by learning to manage the whole range of emotions without being judgmental might make boys and girls more balanced and more eclectic in their career choices.


Caroline-PortraitDeFemmes

Caroline Chanel

What position do you hold and what was the decisive factor for you in your career path?

Today I’m a Research Professor in autonomous system command at the Department of Aerospace Vehicle Design and Control (DCAS). But just a few months ago I was still working as a Research Engineer. My degree in Automation Engineering, followed by a Research Master’s in Automated, Computerized and Decision-Making Systems, and a thesis in Artificial Intelligence were decisive for my being named to my position at the Institute. Since my thesis, however, I have been teaching at ISAE-SUPAERO. Teaching has shown me the pleasure of transmitting knowledge. All of my skills taken together are what comprise the necessary experience for me to hold my position today.

What do you feel is important for the future?

That’s a hard question that I ask myself every day.
From a personal point of view, it is important to be able to help my children find their way in the world, so that they can live life to the fullest. On a professional level, it is fundamental for me to find meaning in my work, in the short and long term. I’m always wondering what will the thing I’m developing be used for? What is the next step? What impact might it have? On the one hand, this shows me that what I am doing is not pointless and, on the other, it makes me enjoy coming to work. More generally, I would invite everyone to think about the meaning of their actions. As stakeholders in today’s world and as educators for the stakeholders of tomorrow, I feel it is important to transmit values concerning the protection of our planet and the people who live on it, no matter what their origins.

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

Actually, no, I can’t think of any woman in particular. It’s more that, at certain times in my life, I have met men who in one way or another have shown doubts about my ability to become an engineer and pursue a scientific career. I think it is those kinds of attitudes that have pushed me to keep moving forward on my path, with a desire to prove them wrong.

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

EN_Caroline-PortraitDeFemmes

This may sound a bit radical, but in my opinion we need to stop making this difference of man vs woman. This historical difference that says "women do this, men do that" has to stop! Right from the beginning we put little girls into boxes, either through their clothes or through their toys or the activities we propose for them. And it happens everywhere, in the family, at school, etc.! An interest in science or technology can start by just tinkering around! Let our little girls do "like the boys" and we will see that, over the long term, we will have more women in the sciences.

Link to her professionnal LinkedIn page here.


raquel-PortraitDeFemme

Raquel Alonso

What do you do at ISAE-SUPAERO what was the decisive factor for you in your career path?

I studied in Spain and earned a degree in Aerospace Engineering from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM). Now, thanks to my passion for my field, my efforts and the unconditional support I’ve received from my family and friends, I have started my first year of the Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering at ISAE SUPAERO.

What do you feel is important for the future?

On a personal level, I would like to expand my knowledge in engineering at a leading international company in the aeronautics field. I would like to hold a position of responsibility and work in a team. It is important for me to have a sense of personal and professional fulfilment.

EN_raquel-PortraitDeFemme

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

My grandmother is the person who has inspired me the most in my life. She became tetraplegic after an accident. But nonetheless, she never lost her enthusiasm or her will to live. She is an example of a fighter who surpasses all obstacles.

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

We need to ensure access to all subjects and courses in the different sciences, from the earliest age so as to encourage curiosity and a thirst for learning without any difference between the sexes.

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