By Elyès Jouini, Professor at Paris Sciences et Lettres (PSL), Université Paris-Dauphine, where he currently serves as vicepresident. He is also member of the High level experts group attached to the European commissioner Carlos Moedas, Fellow of the Econometric Society and of the Institute for Labor Studies (IZA).


The under-representation of women in scientific fields, which are the most prestigious and most financially rewarding, is an indisputable fact. Yet the reasons why this should be so are still poorly understood. This synthesis of the many studies on gender seeks to deconstruct stereotypes. In the light of their findings, the aim is to identify relevant and effective public policy measures for reducing the gender gap. The under-representation of women in science is of considerable importance, since it largely explains gender asymmetries in professional life and in managerial circles. The challenge is therefore twofold: not only to eliminate unfair gender inequalities, which are of course inconsistent with republican principles, but also to ensure that society is in a position to mobilize the best possible skills.

The publication by the Institut Louis Bachelier of this issue of Opinions et Débats may at first sight seem surprising. What is the connection between this topic and the ILB’s core area of interest, namely finance? One answer concerns the mathematical dimension, which is crucial for modern finance. And let us not forget that Louis Bachelier was a mathematician. A second answer is directly related to gender issues and probably partly explained by the first: there are very few women in the upper echelons of the financial industry. Thirdly – and this is possibly the most important point, because the ILB is a research network – recent work on gender issues draws upon, as one might expect, disciplines such as sociology and psychology, as well as decision theory and the concepts of risk, hedging and subjective probability, all of which play a key role in financial research and borrow some models from it.

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