Career development

Specialist Option: Equality Professions

A specialist option in equality professions is offered as part of the Gender Studies programme. All students enrolled in the Master’s in Gender Studies are eligible to study for this specialist option by taking and passing these three seminars:

  • Discrimination, inequality and organisations
  • Gender and work: practices and policies
  • Equality policies in organisations

The aims of this option are to train students:

  • in the fundamental contributions of the social sciences (primarily sociology and political science) to understanding how gender and work influence one another, and the subjects and concepts central to this research (sexual division of labour and vertical and horizontal segregation, domestic and reproductive labour, glass ceiling(s), virility and hegemonic masculinity, sexuality and workplace harassment, state feminism and negotiation of equality at work, etc.);
  • in the understanding and study of the various discrimination “criteria” (sex, race, age, disability, religion, union membership etc.), in an intersectional approach combined with an organisational perspective to understand how organisations facilitate, shape or produce discriminatory processes;
  • in analysis of equality policies in organisations, the actors responsible for them, the structures and tools on which they are based and the effects they produce, but also how they are influenced by public policy, and their specific characteristics in relation to different categories of employees, in the French context compared with other national contexts.

For students who pass the course the specialist option will be listed on the Descriptive Appendix to their Diploma, so that it can be cited in job applications.

Placements and work experience

The “Career development” module centres on experience in a professional context linked to the chosen area of study. For the Master’s in Gender Studies at EHESS, it therefore focuses on experience linked to the theme of gender or sexuality. This module must be taken during Master’s Year 1. The aim is to become familiar with various professional contexts and reflect on future career plans.

The length of work experience varies depending on the student and the place. Work experience may take the form of a placement, but not necessarily. It requires genuine commitment on the part of the student, and must not be the same as the field of the M1 research case study (but may relate to the student’s area of research).

The link with gender and sexuality studies may be immediately apparent (for example, experience in a support organisation for survivors of violence against women), or may be applied (for example, experience of teaching in Economics and Social Sciences in which the student integrates gender or sexuality issues). In all cases the final report must demonstrate a reflection on how these questions are addressed.

Work experience may be taken in a range of fields (the following list is not exhaustive):

  1. Academic/research environment: participation in a conference; organising a study day or seminar; publication of a critical review in a social science journal or other media (magazines, YouTube channel); other modes of dissemination of research.
  2. Non-profit organisations, NGOs, social work or youth work: participating in or setting up projects related to gender; work in training, prevention, awareness-raising etc.
  3. Public administration, public institutions, local authorities: working in departments for prevention of discrimination and promotion of equality.
  4. Private enterprise: promoting equality; observing the sexual division of labour; raising awareness about harassment and discrimination in the context of gender equality units.
  5. Education and training: teaching experience; teaching gender studies; raising awareness among teachers or young people (from nursery to university).
  6. Arts and culture: contributing to podcasts, festivals, publication and translation projects, marketing campaigns etc.
  7. Any other sector that you would like to focus on in your research: video games, the legal system, hospitals, elderly care homes, sports clubs etc.

Placements completed in 2020-2021

Some key figures:

  • 50% of the work experience placements in the Career Development module were in public-sector education, mainly under the aegis of a partnership between SGSST and the Créteil local education authority.
  • 80% of work experience placements centred on one of three themes: equality education, culture, and prevention.

In terms of the organisations where they were based, work placements were distributed as follows:


Public-sector education


Non-profit organisations


Media/Social media




Public administration/public institutions

The following themes were addressed during these placements and work experience:


Equality education






Combating discriminations


Gender violence


Urban planning

SGSST works to create professional work experience opportunities for its students through various partnerships.

Two projects were launched in 2020-2021:

  • A partnership with a secondary school in an Île-de-France education authority, through which M1 students can learn about the role of contact officer for gender equality and/or sexuality education in a secondary school (a network of contact officers established under the inter-ministerial agreements on equality between girls and boys, women and men in the education system), and can also learn about the teaching profession and how issues of gender and sexuality arise within it, both within the curriculum and in student-student and student-teacher relations;
  • A project with a non-profit organisation that has three aims: 1) to familiarise M1 students with social science research on HIV and sexually transmitted infections; 2) to introduce them to the problematics of public health, and to community and activist research practices; 3) to enable them to interact with professionals working in the field of sexual health and combating discrimination.

Work placement contract

If this work experience requires a work placement contract between the organisation where you are working and EHESS, you will be required to set it up with the help of the Careers Support Service (CSS).

The CSS  supports students in securing offers of work placements and signing contracts, and more broadly in reflecting on potential career paths. The CSS was set up in September 2019 as a section of the Department of Teaching and Student Life (DEVE), to design and implement support for career development: work placements, contracts for doctoral research in industry, and workshops, as entry points into public and private bodies, non-profit organisations, businesses and public institutions in France and abroad. You will be informed of the opportunities available during the course of the year.

In practice students may go to the CSS to obtain a signature for work placement contracts, for advice on choice of placement or on placements abroad, and to resolve problems relating to communication between EHESS and host organisations. The CSS is staffed by Virginie Bussat, head of the service, and Laurette Ledevin, who assists her in all aspects of the CSS’s activities.


Career development during doctoral study

In each of the three years of the doctoral study contract, one compulsory module is devoted to academic and professional activity.

The aim of this module is to support career development of doctoral students, particularly in higher education and research, but also in other fields.

During their first year of study, students in the Doctoral Training Programme must complete one of the following:

  • Write a “working paper”
  • Contribute to a laboratory or research unit seminar
  • Teach one course unit at secondary, undergraduate or Master’s level

In the second year, the following options are available, and the activity completed must be different from that chosen in the first year:

  • Research visit to a foreign university (minimum one month);
  • Paper given at a conference or a study day
  • Work experience in a company or a local authority in France or abroad;
  • Organise an academic event;
  • Lead a doctoral seminar or workshop
  • Teach one course unit at secondary, undergraduate or Master’s level

Finally, the following activities are available in the third year, and the activity must be different from those chosen in the first and second years:

  • Research visit to a foreign university (minimum one month);
  • Submit an article to a peer-reviewed academic journal;
  • Work experience in a company or local authority in France or abroad
  • Organise an academic event
  • Lead a doctoral seminar or workshop
  • Teach one course unit at secondary, undergraduate or Master’s level

    Continuing professional development

    Continuing professional development is designed for professionals (whether practising or not) who wish to train, deepen or develop their knowledge on issues of gender and sexuality.

    The Master’s in Gender Studies is available as an option within the continuing professional development programme. The Continuing Professional Development Department and the Master’s teaching team can assist with your application.

    The Continuing Professional Development Department can be contacted at the following address:; the Gender Studies option team can be contacted at: