17 French ex-ministers vow to shine light on sex harassment

2016-05-15 19:03
A  September 2012 file photo of Denis Baupin. (AFP)

A September 2012 file photo of Denis Baupin. (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Paris - Seventeen French former ministers vowed on Sunday to "systematically denounce" sexual harassment, days after an investigation was opened into multiple claims against a former deputy parliamentary speaker.

"We will no longer keep quiet" the former ministers, all women, including current IMF chief Christine Lagarde, ex-health minister Roselyne Bachelot and ex housing minister Cecile Duflot said in a statement published by the Journal du Dimanche weekly paper.

They promised to "systematically denounce all sexist, remarks, inappropriate gestures, inappropriate behaviour".

Their cross-party stand comes after French judges on Tuesday opened an investigation into multiple claims of sexual harassment against former deputy parliamentary speaker Denis Baupin, a move which experts welcomed as an end to the "omerta" around alleged abuse by politicians.

Baupin, 53, vigorously denied the claims and has instructed his lawyers to sue two French media outlets for defamation, calling the allegations "mendacious".

The same day Finance Minister Michel Sapin became ensnared in a sexual harassment scandal after admitting that he acted "inappropriately" towards a female journalist after twice denying any improper conduct.

Sapin acknowledged late on Tuesday "making a comment" while placing his hand on the woman's back at a conference early last year - following two previous denials of a claim that he had tweaked her knickers elastic.

The ex-ministers in their joint comment Sunday said: "Like all women who have entered into previously exclusively male environments, we have had to either submit to or fight against sexism.

Enough is enough

"It's not for women to adapt to these environments. It's the behaviour of certain men that need to change," they added.

"Enough is enough. Impunity is over."

The former ministers encouraged all victims of sexual harassment and aggression to speak up and lodge complaints.

"Today the judicial arsenal exists but the laws are not sufficiently applied".

Labour laws protect employees but are not respected, with few women lodging complaints and very few of those complaints leading to convictions, they complained.

Women's Rights Minister Laurence Rossignol, speaking on the France 3 television channel later, outlined two moves to tackle the problem.

"The first is to swiftly adopt the draft law currently going through parliament... which lengthens the time limits for a range of offences from three to six years, " she said, calling upon the Senate, or upper house of parliament, to pass the measure.

The second initiative "is to allow associations to file complaints instead of the victims", through an amendment which will be examined by parliament next month, she added.

Read more on:    france

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.