The city of Paris was fined 90 000 euros for hiring "too many" women in senior municipal roles and breaking France's law on gender parity in public service.
Anne Hidalgo, the city's first woman mayor, responds saying, "I'm celebrating because we've been fined and that's not something that happens every day. I don't even like to jaywalk so for me to tell you today that I am proud of this fine, this is a big step for me."
"But last week, I, and many others, heard the joyful news that the city of Paris would be fined 90 000 euros by the Ministry of Civil Service. The city must pay a fine for having nominated too many women to leadership positions, 69 percent of the nominations - 11 women and only five men. And all of the sudden the city government is considered far too feminist," she says.
"The truth is dear colleagues, what is magnificent about bureaucracy is that it knows nothing about discernment and so it permits itself anything. I will bring that check myself with my female adjuncts, female directors and the entire general secretariat, the women of the general secretariat so there'll be many of us, and I will invite every female committee leader - whether majority or opposition - to join us if she wishes to come bring the 90 000 euro check to the minister of civil service. We will do that together. And I will, of course, update you in the beginning of the year."
After receiving a round of applause, she says, "This fine is obviously absurd. Worse, it is unjust, irresponsible, dangerous. Yes, we promote women with determination and vigour since everywhere in France we are far behind the times. So yes, to promote and one day arrive at parity, we need to pick up the pace and make sure that in nominations there are more women than men.
"In Paris, we're doing everything to make this succeed and I'm so, so proud of this large team of women and men who are fighting for equality. I almost want to thank the bureaucrats who had this brilliant idea since it's true that without them we'd have likely never spoken of this win for equality. So, thank you, since in the end 90 000 isn't cheap but it's a PR campaign that I wasn't expecting. Since I always try to see the bright side of obstacles which are put in our way, I say to myself that maybe, finally, this will get us past the wall of silence when we talk about equality. Thank you for being involved."
Compiled by Phelokazi Mbude
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