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10, 50 and 100 years ago in France – December 2019

What happened in December 10, 50, and 100 years ago? Uneven battle of sexes, death penalty ends and beauty remains

DECEMBER, 2009: Uneven battle of sexes

The government was ready to implement a law to force companies into hiring more women into senior positions.

The law, eventually passed in 2011, pushed firms with more than 500 staff and a turnover of at least €50 million towards equality by introducing a 40% quota for women board members.

However, by 2017 there was a shortage of 493 women on the boards of directors of major French companies, according to a study conducted by the Association des Femmes Experts Comptables.

In 2009, only 13.8% of women in socio-professional careers held managerial or academic positions, compared to 19.1% of men.

This only rose to 15.7% of women in 2018, compared to 20.8% of men.


DECEMBER, 1969: Death penalty ends

The death penalty was abolished in the UK. The last executions to be carried out were in 1964, when Peter Allen and Gwynne Evans were hanged for the murder of John West.

France was the last Western European country to ban the penalty, in 1981, and the last execution took place in 1977, when Tunisian native Hamida Djandoubi faced the guillotine for the torture and murder of his ex-girlfriend Elisabeth Bousquet on French soil.

There are only 14 out of 195 countries in the world that continue to legally employ and use the death penalty today: Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and the US.


DECEMBER, 1919: The beauty remains

Impressionist painter Auguste Renoir (pictured) died aged 78 in Cagnes-sur-Mer, near Nice, on December 3.

He was born in 1841 in Limoges, and his talent as an artist was discovered at the age of 13 when he worked as an apprentice at a porcelain factory.

Renoir helped to create the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874, in which he displayed six paintings.

He developed rheumatoid arthritis, which severely limited his mobility and forced him to change his painting technique.

When asked how he continued despite the disease, he famously said “the pain passes but the beauty remains”.

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