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French press review 8 March 2011


To members of the fairer sex, happy International Women's day. Several French papers on Tuesday are reporting on the progress (and in some cases regression) of women's rights across the world.


Le Monde says in it's editorial that there are fewer French women in public life this year than there were last year. One example is the French cabinet, which after a recent reshuffle saw more women leave than arrive.

This raises the question, says the paper's editor, of quotas to even out the playing field. A concept that for so long has sat uneasily with the French motto of Liberty, Equality and Brotherhood (no, there is no mention of sisterhood in the constitution).

Quotas when it comes to race have never been implemented in France, like in the United States or United Kingdom for example, because they would effectively be unconstitutional.

Communist l'Humanité is typically on fighting form, leading with Women's Day and denouncing a recent drive by the French government's employment agency to get unemployed women back to work.

Along with a leading cosmetics group, Pole Emploi, is proposing to give women who can't find work a total makeover complete with lipstick and eyeliner.

The paper calls this a "mascara dictatorship”, saying the morality of such an exercise lies somewhere between seduction and making women feel guilty. Not, perhaps, the best way to end discrimination against women.

Leftist Libération leads with news that computers in the Elysée, the office of the French presidency, were hacked in the lead-up to the G20 summit earlier this year

The news comes following claims that the French finance ministry suffered a similar attack which targeted documents on the preparation of the summit. Officially, this is the first time that the French government has had its systems cracked.

The intelligence services have begun an investigation into who could be responsible for the attack. And the public prosecution service has also launched criminal proceedings.

So who is to blame? Well Libération (as well as analysts in other papers) suggest that China is the prime suspect. Some of the computers that launched the Trojan horse virus had Chinese IP (Internet Protocol) addresses. However, Libé warns that the dossier is a little more complicated than it might first appear.

A inside source says that while China might be the obvious candidate, the stolen documents ended up on servers spread across the Asian continent.


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