Go girls!

The 5th edition of Science Factor was launched on September 9th. A scientific and technical competition, it aims to give teenagers, and especially girls, a taste for science and innovation.

Girls realize that their ideas and ways of understanding and solving problems are as valid as those of their male counterparts.

Eating a balanced diet in a smart canteen so that teens equipped with their personal magnetic cards (with their size, weight, age, schedule of physical activities) can make the right choice of menus on interactive terminals. Facilitating the detection of water pollution with drifting buoys fitted with several sensors that measure various indicators (pH, temperature, conductivity, chlorophyll, chemical substances, etc.) – the two winning projects last February in the 2015 edition of Science Factor.

One particularity: the projects are all led by girls because the objective of this scientific and technical contest, chaired by Mari-Noëlle Jégo-Laveissière, Orange’s Executive Director responsible for Innovation, Marketing and Technologies, is to show that girls can contribute to developing citizen innovations as much as boys can!

“The point of making it a rule that girls are the team leaders is to give them confidence – it is a solution that ensures they are heard,” explains Claudine Schmuck, organizer of the operation. Encouraged, the girls then realize that their ideas and ways of understanding and solving problems are as valid as those of their male counterparts. Other advantages include the fact that boys’ perceptions of female capabilities change when in contact with female teammates, and mixed teams are more creative and perform better than single sex teams.

And that’s the challenge of the initiative: to show girls it is possible to move into the industries of the future from which they currently tend to exclude themselves, stimulate scientific vocations among female high school students, and ultimately promote equal access for women to the jobs of the future.

Even today, despite better academic achievement, young girls remain clearly in the minority in science and technology fields. Worse still is that the “Mutationnelles-Y Factor 2015“, an international survey sponsored by Orange, reveals a stagnation, and even a slight fall in the feminization of scientific and technical training in France – as well as in digital subjects. As a result, the proportion of women in innovation, science and technology occupations is lower.
5th edition underway

Designed by Global Contact, in partnership with France’s Ministry of National Education, Orange and the ManpowerGroup Foundation, Science Factor is aimed at students aged 11 to 18 and invites them to devise a citizen innovation project – that is to say, an invention with “a clearly demonstrated positive impact at a societal, economic or environmental level”. The 2016-2017 edition of Science Factor is open until 31 December 2016. The awards ceremony will take place on 7 March 2017 during the national Science Factor meetings. This year, three prizes will be awarded: the Prix Collège, the Prix Lycée, and the Engie Science Factor Award for the most energy efficient or energy optimized solution.

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