French ministers get anti-sexism lessons

2012-10-26 15:15
Former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn is taken out of a police station in New York. (File, AFP)

Former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn is taken out of a police station in New York. (File, AFP)

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

Paris - Ministers in France's new Socialist government are attending anti-sexism courses with presentations on stereotyping, inappropriate language and tips on how to avoid gaffes.

The hour-long classes, which also cover wage disparity and domestic violence, were the brainchild of Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, head of the newly recreated Women's Rights Ministry and also the government's official spokesperson.

The sessions are part of an effort to weed out casual sexism in politics in a nation with a tradition of ignoring the occasional pestering of female subordinates by men in power.

Allegations over the conduct of Socialist politician and ex-IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn's triggered a soul-searching debate in France last year.

He was days away from announcing he would run for the presidency when police arrested him in New York after a hotel maid alleged he had tried to rape her. New York prosecutors later dropped the charges.

Wolf-whistles in parliament at a female minister in the new government added to concerns some coaching may be needed.

Recruitment stereotypes

"The ministers have loved it," a government source said of the course. "They're coming up with ideas on where and how they can put it into practice."

In one session, broadcast on French television, Social Economy Minister Benoit Hamon is seen analysing stereotypes in a recruitment advert for male and female drivers.

"Thanks to you this man can go to the football or a restaurant whenever he wants... Thanks to you this woman can pick up her children straight after work," the poster reads.

A dozen ministers have attended, including Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici, and 26 more are signed up.

"For those already aware of the issues, it's good to hear them again. For those who aren't, it's especially useful," said a source close to Moscovici, a former ally of Strauss-Kahn.

Socialist President Francois Hollande has sought to set a new tone, appointing the same number of female as male ministers for the first time in French history.

Clumsy reactions


France now ranks ahead of Britain and the United States in terms of female representation in parliament, with the share of women rising to 27% in last year's legislative election, from 19% previously, but sexism remains a problem.

Housing Minister Cecile Duflot once drew wolf-whistles when she wore a knee-length flowery dress to parliament, and former sports minister Chantal Jouanno has said she avoided wearing skirts altogether for fear of attracting smutty comments.

Many were shocked by clumsy reactions by public figures to Strauss-Kahn's arrest. One left-wing commentator dismissed the charges as a "troussage de domestique", a reference to the trysts noblemen often had with servants.

A blunder by Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll also suggested there was much work to be done ending stereotypes.

"Out of 15 people in my cabinet, seven are women. I've tried to promote women as much as possible, even though the subjects are very technical," Le Foll told French magazine L'Express.

Read more on:    dominique strauss-kahn  |  france  |  gender equality
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

DA wants to empower fishing communities - Zille

DA leader Helen Zille says the party has a plan for harbours and small-scale fishing communities.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Y

The Samsung Y (Young) is tiny but powerful with Android...

From R1499.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may find yourself putting in that extra effort on looking good and making an impression. ...read more

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.