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French press review 8 March 2013

International Women's Day dominates the front pages of many of today's French papers. But there's also a look at the sex lives of the handicapped.

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Catholic La Croix publishes a study on the surprisingly low number of women in leadership roles in Europe.

According to the newspaper, only 35.4 per cent of European MPs are women and most high-profile positions are still held by men. If more than 60 per cent of Finland’s European MPs are women, Malta’s are all men.

France, however, is above the European average in the matter, with 46 per cent of MPs being women.

Women's rights in France - given or taken?

La Croix asks three European female politicians their opinion on parity within European institutions and what  would give women access to important roles. They demand a more transparent and balanced nomination process for high positions and official texts promoting full parity within all European institutions.

Communist paper L’Humanité has appointed eight women, including Communist Party MP Marie-George Buffet and Women's Rights Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, editors for the day. Unlike most media, who refer to 8 March as International Women's Day, L’Humanité prefers the title International Day for the Fight for Women’s Rights, a more accurate and less patronising name, according to the editors.

Vallaud-Belkacem is also on the front page of the daily Aujourd’hui en France. She reveals the government’s plans to fight against gender inequality in the workplace and explains the sanctions companies could face if they do not promote parity. An occasion for the minister to point out that in France women still earn 28 per cent less than their male colleagues for the same work.

A year ahead of the next municipal elections, right-wing Le Figaro publishes a report showing a clear advantage for the left in the polls, in spite of the current government’s dive in popularity. Left-wing parties are given 48 per cent of voting intentions, while the mainstream right, not counting the far-right Front National, only score for 38 per cent.

However, the newspaper specifies that only seven per cent of the people interviewed see this election as an opportunity to send a message to the government. Most want to focus on local issues that directly affect them.

Left-wing Libération’s front page today uses the recent release of the movie The Sessions to talk about the sex life of handicapped people, which it says is still a "taboo" topic in France;

The film, which is about the discovery of sexual desire by a handicapped poet, has led a French campaigning group to appeal to the government for sexual assistance to be made legal in France. In the Netherlands, sexual assistance was authorised in 1982 and sexual services for the severely handicapped are paid for by the health service.

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