Women & men faces
8 March 2019

Gender equality: the Government’s motto is to let nothing pass.

8 March: International Women’s Day. Two days before, during the Council of Ministers, Marlène Schiappa presented the Government’s action on gender equality, which is already having an initial impact. Much still remains to be done, however, and further strong measures will be taken over the next few months.
Gender equality is the Major National Cause of the Five-Year Term, with a budget of €530 million adopted under the 2019 Finance bill, which is an unprecedented figure.

More than 100 concrete measures have been taken by the Government, the initial impact of which can already be seen, in particular:
  • The creation of the crime of offensive sexist behaviour, enabling fines to be issued for street harassment. France is the first country in the world to implement this measure, and it is working: in the space of six months, more than 330 fines have been imposed, up to €750. The scheme will be the subject of a parliamentary evaluation mission from the beginning of the summer, which will enable any necessary corrective measures to be recommended.
  • A performance obligation for companies to achieve equal pay, so that women are finally paid the same as men. Under the law concerning the freedom to choose one’s future career, companies have three years to close any unexplained pay gaps, otherwise they will be subject to substantial financial penalties.
  • Improved maternity leave for farmers and the self-employed: increased rights, taking the total duration of leave to 16 weeks, and greater consideration to be given to the nature of the work carried out.
Much still remains to be done, however, and Marlène Schiappa has announced a number of actions for the next few months:
  • Single mothers: ways of resolving unpaid child maintenance, and of ensuring that the women concerned receive fair payment of the maintenance to which they are entitled, are currently being explored.
  • Against female genital mutilation: while 60,000 women living in France today have undergone female genital mutilation, a plan to better protect young girls who could become victims of the procedure will be presented in late spring, at the request of the Prime Minister
  • Feminist diplomacy: the President of the Republic has made gender equality a priority for France’s G7 presidency. He has also already decided to create a fund worth €120 million/year to support gender equality and feminist movements, particularly in southern countries.


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