Gender Equality in France
Flag of France
|Population (in Mil.)||65.43|
|Gross Domestic Product (In USD Billions - WB)||2,773.03|
|Sex Ratio (m/f)||0.96|
|Life Expectancy Ratio (f/m)||1.092|
|Income Ratio (f/m)||0.61|
|Literacy Ratio (f/m)||1|
|Tertiary Enrolment Ratio (f/m)||1.28|
|Women in Parliament (in %)||12.2|
|Human Development Index||20/169|
|Social Institutions and Gender Index||- /86|
|Gender Inequality Index||11/138|
|Gender Equity Index||34/157|
|Women’s Economic Opportunity Index||11/113|
|Global Gender Gap Index||46/134|
|More information on variables|
In the news
- Le Monde 08.06.2010:La parité mise à mal par la réforme territoriale
- Associated Press 11.05.2010 : French parliament lays groundwork for veil ban
- Reuters 07.05.2010 :Fillon veut durcir les pénalités pour favoriser la parité
- The Economist 06.05.2010: Women on company boards- La vie en rose - French companies get serious about putting women in the boardroom
- The Economist 06.05.2010 : Polygamy in France, Many wives' tales: A surprisingly prevalent phenomenon
Compared to other countries, France has always been rather late in adopting gender equality as a goal and designing policies to achieve it. This is mostly due to the history of the country (Revolution of 1789, Napoleon's Code, Proudhonism, Radical Party, etc.) and to its "universalist" culture, which either leaves women out of the definition of "universality" or else, by recognizing them as part of it, claims the same rights for each individual, thus occulting the specific needs of women.[ Citation needed ] Since the 1970s, gender and women's studies have proliferated (in Sociology, Social and Cultural Anthropology, Herstory) furthering emancipation for women thanks to adapted policies.[ Citation needed ]
Some french gender researchers: -Christine Delphy -Michel Bozon -Michelle Perrot -Jean-Yves Le Talec -Nicky LeFeuvre -George Duby -Sylvie Chaperon -Daniel Welzer-Lang -Michelle Zancarini-Fournel -Yannick Le Quintrec -Agnès Fine -Eric Fassin -Françoise Héritier -Maurice Goddelier -Jacqueline Martin -Thomas Laqueur -Nicole Claude-Mathieu -Pierre Bourdieu -Simone de Beauvoir - Elisabeth Badinter
Women's situation in France
Men earn 37% more than women; this gap reaching 44% among men and women in the working class. 20% of this variation comes from differences in hourly wages and the rest is the result of the number of hours worked. More that 25% of jobs held by French women are part time jobs. Part time jobs are not the result of a choice but taken because of the difficulty for women to find full time jobs. The higher one gets in the hierarchy, the greater the inequalities. Women in the lower paid jobs earn 91% of men salaries whereas the 10% of better paid women only earn 75% of the average male salary.
Women are more represented in the public sector without taking the military into account (62% without the military, 59% with the military) than in the private sector (42%). Women are mainly represented in education and social services and are generally absent from technical jobs as well as from the police and military. Women are often limited to jobs seen as 'feminine' with limited responsibility, emphasizing communication and service. Many of these being services to individuals, health and social services, and teaching. On the contrary, women fail to be present in jobs with high levels of responsibility and seen as 'masculine' which focus on strength and technicality. For example, in social services, 75% of employees are women but they only represent 10% of the workforce in construction.
Both in private and public service, women have difficulties gaining access to managerial tasks (15% in 2005 versus 13% in 2004). This inability to get past a certain level has been coined by sociologists the "glass ceiling".
Inequalities at home
On average, women spend almost 3 and a half hours doing housework whereas men only spend 2 hours cleaning, dusting and ironing. Women also spend twice as much time taking care of children or dependent adults. In a couple, women take care of the day-to-day work, the less valued tasks whereas men take care of lasting and visible tasks such as gardening or do it yourself. The rate of change in the domestic sphere seems to show that equality at home is a goal that will need much more work than equality in the workplace. Inequalities at home have consequences in a great variety of fields such as work, hobbies, involvement in politics or volunteer work. The need for more time is one of the explanations of the development of part time work.
Inequalities of life expectancy
Social inequalities of life expectancy are stable among women but are increasing among men. The difference between men and women is stable, women living 7 years older than men. In every social class, women live longer: for example at 35, female blue collar workers still have 47 years to live (where men in the same category only have 40).[ Citation needed ]
Gender disparities in politics remain persistant in France. In 2000, legislation was passed that mandated an equal number of men and women candidates on political party's lists.[ Citation needed ] The legislation was prompted in part by the fact that France ranked at the bottom of European countries for the percentage of women in politics, just 10%. The new legislation some hoped would allow France to have a higher percentage of women politicians than even its Nordic neighbors: Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark, who currently hold the highest percentage.
However, by 2002, the new legislation was still not quick to take hold. Only the Green Party met the new quota. French President Nicholas Sarkozy, who at the time was Interior Minister for the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party, was fined 4.26 million euros for non-compliance, and the Socialist party was fined 1.65 million.
Attitudes toward women in politics are not keeping pace with legislation. As of 2006 only 13% of parliamentary seats were held by women. The country still remains close to the bottom on gender equality in politics within Europe.
A full set of data and articles on gender inequalities in France may be found at Observatoire des inégalités, rubrique hommes-femmes
Information may also be found on the INSEE site (in French), see 
Associations de lutte contre les violences faites aux femmes
- "Elu/es contre les violences faites aux femmes" propose sur son site un grand nombre de documents sur les violences sexistes et sexuelles en France, ainsi que des présentations d'actions pour lutter contre ces violences : www.ecvf.ouvaton.org
Association de promotion de l'égalité hommes-femmes
- L'association [ Les Papas = Les Mamans ]  a participé au programme européen AllTogether  et promeut la coparentalité etl'égalité homme/femme entre autre au sein du couple, dans la vie de tous les jours, au sein de l'entreprise et aussi dans le cas de parents séparés pour permettre un traitement sans sexisme pour que les enfants puissent entretenir des relations fréquentes et saines avec chacun de ses deux parents.
The Women, Business and the Law
Where are laws equal for men and women?
The Women, Business and the Law report presents indicators based on laws and regulations affecting women's prospects as entrepreneurs and employees. Several of these indicators draw on the Gender Law Library, a collection of over 2,000 legal provisions impacting women's economic status. This report does not seek to judge or rank countries, but to provide information to inform discussions about women’s economic rights. Women, Business and the Law provides data covering 6 areas: accessing institutions,using property, getting a job, providing incentives to work, building credit, and going to court. Read more about the methodology.
For detailed information on France, please visit the Women, Business and
the Law France page.
The FAO Gender and Land Rights Database
The FAO Gender and Land Rights Database contains country level information on social, economic, political and cultural issues related to the gender inequalities embedded in those rights. Disparity on land access is one of the major causes for social and gender inequalities in rural areas, and it jeopardizes, as a consequence, rural food security as well as the wellbeing of individuals and families.
The Database offers information on the 6 following Categories:
- National legal frame
- International treaties and conventions
- Customary law
- Land tenure and related Institutions
- Civil society organizations
- Selected Land Related Statistics
For detailed information on France, please visit the report on France in the FAO Gender and Land Rights Database.
- The Gender Law Library