IÉSEG signs”L’Autre Cercle” Charter, to fight discrimination and promoting the inclusion of LGBT+ students and employees

As part of the School’s CSR strategy, which includes a pillar aimed at “creating a diverse and inclusive environment that promotes the well-being of all”, IÉSEG signed “L’Autre Cercle” Charter on Monday May 27, 2024, to promote the inclusion of LGBT+* individuals in the world of education and work.

Caroline ROUSSEL (Dean of IÉSEG) and Florian BARATTE (President of the French National Federation of L’Autre Cercle) signing the Charter

This charter requires signatory institutions to propose and implement an action plan for their students and staff. Over the course of 2023-2024, a working group (made up of students, representatives of student associations and members of the School’s teaching and administrative staff) has therefore reflected on initiatives and formalized an action plan for IÉSEG. Validated by IÉSEG’s Management Board and the “L’Autre Cercle” association, this plan has three main objectives.

Fighting against violence and discrimination

The recent publication of the IFOP x l’Autre Cercle 2024 Barometer shows a positive evolution in the workplace around topics related to sexual orientation or gender identity. However, many grey areas remain. 28% of French LGBT+ employees say they have been the victim of at least one LGBTphobic attack at work, and 53% say they have heard LGBTphobic expressions.

In 2020, the Caélif barometer showed a similar situation regarding French higher education students. 17% of LGBT+ students said they felt either not very safe or unsafe in their institution, and 27% reported having witnessed or been victims of LGBTphobic acts, particularly on social networks. At IÉSEG, the Stop Violences unit has observed that, since its opening in 2020, 10% of reports concern LGBTphobic situations.

The first goal of the action plan will therefore be to ensure that every LGBT+ member of the IÉSEG community can feel safe, and supported if these situations arise.

Benjamin MARTY (President of the IÉSEG Student Federation) and Em HAHN (Co-President of L’Autre Cercle Ile-de-France)

Promoting inclusion and well-being

The fear of rumors, mockery and judgment from colleagues or peers can have a direct impact on the well-being of LGBT+ people, as well as on their freedom to be themselves.

For example, according to the l’Autre Cercle x IFOP 2024 barometer again, 47% of LGBT+ employees have already voluntarily omitted to indicate or talk about their partner’s gender in their organization, and 23% have given up indicating their partner’s name on their mutual insurance.

According to a survey conducted in 2019 by IFOP, DILCRAH and Fondation Jean Jaurès, 15% of young people wanted to change schools or universities because of their gender identity or sexual orientation. The risk of suicidal behavior is 4 times higher among LGBT+ people than in the general population.

This action plan will therefore aim to develop a learning and working environment that encourages authenticity and the freedom to be oneself.

Encouraging dialogue and understanding

In recent years, the French legal framework for equal rights and treatment of LGBT+ people has evolved significantly, but these changes are still very recent.

For example, it can be estimated that 2/3 of IÉSEG teams entered the job market even before the first law protecting against discrimination based on sexual orientation in 2008. Similarly, 100% of our current students were born at a time when marriage was restricted to heterosexual couples, the term “LGBT” did not exist in the dictionary, and transidentity was officially classified as a mental illness.

The action plan will therefore include training and awareness-raising initiatives to help everyone better understand these changes in family and employment law, and in society in general.

A recent action plan, but a long-standing commitment

Coline BRIQUET (Head of Diversity, Equality and Inclusion at IÉSEG) and Charles-François PERRONE (Coordinator of the Higher Education LGBT+ Commitment Charter)

As Caroline ROUSSEL, Dean of IÉSEG, points out,signing this charter is part of the ongoing actions already implemented by the School over several years. I’m thinking in particular of our letter of commitment to fight against all forms of violence and discrimination, initiated in 2020, which already included the issue of LGBTphobia. Every year, students are reminded of the zero-tolerance policy as part of the compulsory training module on sexist and sexual violence, or during the training of association heads. Several of our professor-researchers also address these issues of inclusion in their HR or Management courses, and more and more of them are publishing research articles on these subjects**. Finally, IÉSEG was one of the first business schools to adapt its information system to allow students to modify their first name and/or gender identity in internal documents and communications, if they so wish.”

Coline BRIQUET, Head of Diversity, Equality and Inclusion at IÉSEG, explains: “Among the flagship actions in this action plan, the e-learning program developed by SOS Homophobie will be offered to the entire IÉSEG community. Work is also being carried out in collaboration with the HR team to ensure that the recruitment and integration process for employees, as well as communication on rights and benefits, is as clear and inclusive as possible ( regarding, for example, mutual insurance, parental leave, mention of civility, gender identity). A wide range of initiatives have been proposed, some of which have already been implemented in 2024, such as the provision of a guide to preventing discrimination and respecting privacy to all juries during oral exams. This action plan will be presented in detail to students and all IÉSEG teams in the upcoming weeks.”

“The signing of L’Autre Cercle’s Higher Education LGBT+ Commitment Charter is a strong pledge from IÉSEG and its stakeholders to create a caring and inclusive work and study environment for its LGBT+ administrative or academic teams and students. It’s also a commitment to training tomorrow’s professionals and leaders who will be able to understand, include and show kindness towards their work colleagues, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
It’s not just a signature. IÉSEG followed a comprehensive process involving HR, student representatives and a volunteer expert from L’Autre Cercle to build a concrete and pragmatic action plan. This action plan will be regularly monitored by IÉSEG, and an assessment will be made in 3 years’ time with L’Autre Cercle, with a view to renewing the signature”
, concludes Charles-François PERRONE, coordinator of the Higher Education LGBT+ Commitment Charter.

* This term includes all the diversity of sexual orientations and gender identities. For example: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, non-binary, etc.

 ** Exemples de publications récentes :

  • Montecchi M., Micheli M. R., Campana M., Schau H., (2024), From Crisis to Advocacy: Tracing the Emergence and Evolution of the LGBTQIA+ Consumer Market, Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 43(1), pp. 10-30
  • Brahma S., Gavriilidis K., Kallinterakis V., Verousis T., Zhang M., (2023), LGBTQ and finance, International Review of Financial Analysis, 86(x), pp. 102547
  • Lauriano L., (2023), Gay employees on social media: Strategies to portray professionalism, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 28(2), pp. 1-14
  • Hudson B. A., Gardberg N., Newburry W., Viktora-Jones M., (2022), Adoption of LGBT-inclusive policies: Social construction, coercion, or competition?, Social Forces, 101(3), pp. 1116-1142
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