Authority fined for hiring too many women to top jobs

Mayor Jean-Francois Debat said he deserved “congratulations rather than reprimand”

A mayor in central France is appealing to the Secretary of State for Equality after the local authority he heads was landed with a €90,000 fine - for employing too many women in top jobs.

The prefecture of Ain fined the mairie of Bourg-en-Bresse for breaching France's 2017 equality law which stipulates that the gender ratio in public services must be no more than 60/40.

It was originally aimed at making sure councils were not too male-dominated but in this case it was found that the council had hired women in four of its five key management posts.

After being informed of the sanction, Mayor Jean-Francois Debat said he deserved “congratulations rather than reprimand” for hiring so many women to high-ranking positions. 

He told Europe 1 radio: "The aim of the law, even if it's written in terms of parity, is to encourage more women into posts of responsibility at the highest level. In France, in local councils the ratio is overall 70% men, 30% women."

A total 17 local authorities in France have been sanctioned for gender inequality - but only one other, Lille, for employing 'too many' women to top jobs.

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