From cradle to grave, France is completely male dominated | Eléonore Stévenin-Morguet

The creation of a ministry for families, children and women’s rights has angered women’s groups, who mockingly asked why cooking and cleaning were missed out. Lobbyist Eléonore Stévenin-Morguet, of Osez Le Féminisme, says it is a backward step

At Osez le Féminisme we think lumping women’s rights in with children and families is completely retrograde; a step back in time to an outdated, 19th-century image of women confined to their homes, staying indoors, looking after children and taking no part in public life.

We would have preferred, as President Hollande promised in his presidential campaign, the creation of a ministry solely dedicated to women’s rights, because although you can link them to any other ministry, the issues are too broad ranging to be tacked on to some other dossier as an afterthought. 

We need a minister for women’s rights, because women in France are so far from equality.

However, at least the new minister, Laurence Rossignol, is a committed feminist, so we desperately hope she’ll agree to meet us and listen to what we want, although there’s only 18 months to go before Hollande leaves, which isn’t much time.

We want action on equal pay. Women still earn 24% less than men, and that hasn’t changed since Hollande became president.

We want companies to be fined for paying women less than men but despite flagrant breaches of the equal pay act, this isn’t happening. The law simply isn’t enforced.

Worse, the Assemblée Nationale has repealed the obligation for employers to publish an RSC (rapport de situation comparée) between men and women
within their companies. The RSC made it possible to analyse inequalities at work in a very precise way, based on accurate data. Now it’s been abandoned it will be more difficult to take action against pay inequality.

This impacts on pensions too. On average women’s pensions are €900 a month and men’s are €1,570, a difference of €670! We think that’s wrong.

We want action to combat violence against women. In France, 84,000 women are raped every year, that’s one rape every seven minutes and those figures are not decreasing. 130 women are murdered every year by their spouses/partners and that figure is stable, too. One in 10 French women has experienced domestic violence.

We want IVF available to all women who cannot conceive naturally, not only to heterosexual couples; we want IVF available for lesbian and single women too. We also want the law to make it possible for lesbians to adopt their partner’s children. This is another of Hollande’s unfulfilled campaign promises.

From cradle to grave, in all spheres of life, France is completely male dominated. Boys are taught that they are more important than girls; research shows they are allowed to speak more often and for longer, they are given more responsibilities, and encouraged to take more risks.

Feminism has to be taught in all schools, starting at primary.

Girls and boys have to be taught that they’re equal. For example, girls are taught not to stay out late, not to wear certain clothes. But, instead of placing the blame on victims we should teach boys not to rape

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