Woman and man on a balance
29 November 2018

Gender equality: one year after the national worthy cause was launched, where do we stand today?

25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, marked the first anniversary of the national worthy cause launched on the issue of gender equality. #InternationalDaytoEndViolenceagainstWomen
Putting gender equality at the top of the agenda of the five-year term was a commitment on the part of the President, and the recent movement where women have been empowered to speak up is evidence of just how relevant it is.

Over the past year, spurred on by Marlène Schiappa (Minister of State for Gender Equality and the Fight against Discrimination, attached to the Prime Minister), extensive progress has already been made – not least in terms of combating sexual and gender-based violence and of equality in the workplace. €450m have been dedicated to the issue this year: €420m in cross-government appropriations and a €30m budget for the Gender Equality secretariat.

One year on: key steps forward

On combating sexual and gender-based violence: legislation enacted in August

  • Combating harassment in the street: gender-based insults are now a legal offence, punishable by a fine ranging from €90 to €750.
  • An online reporting platform is now available round the clock to victims of violence, harassment or discrimination to make it easier to press charges.
  • The statute of limitations for the prosecution of sexual crimes committed against children has been extended from 20 to 30 years.
  • Protection of children under 15 years old: categorisation of rape may be deduced directly from the victim's young age.
  • A sweeping governmental communication campaign has been launched, urging witnesses of violence to come forward and not remain silent.
  • Units have been set up providing comprehensive support for mental trauma, with 10 pilot units nationwide, so as to ensure appropriate support and provision for victims of violence.

On equality in the workplace: legislation enacted in September (Act "for the freedom to choose one’s future occupation")

  • Transparency obligation on pay gaps for companies, with the gender equality index which will particularly allow for the pay gaps in each company to be assessed, from March 2019.
  • Obligation to earmark a budgetary allowance for closing the pay gap where women are concerned.
  • Financial penalty where there are still pay gaps after 3 years.
  • Fourfold increase in the number of inspections conducted by the labour inspectorate on the matter, rising from 1,700 to 7,000 inspections a year.
  • The issue of paternity leave will be addressed once maternity leave has been improved – a priority for the Government – especially for women farmers and self-employed women. The aim is to take on board the specific characteristics of their lines of business, with a view to tailoring maternity leave to their needs.
Gender inequality today: figures at a glance
  • 25% gender pay gap - unexplained in 9% of cases.
  • 30% of women work part-time versus 8% of men
  • 3% women CEOs
  • 65% boys across the science and sports university streams
  • 1 woman dies every 3 days from violence inflicted by her spouse
  • 62,000 cases of rape and attempted rape in 2016