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French government pledges to fight workplace sexism for International Women’s Day

French Social Affairs Minister Marisol Touraine
French Social Affairs Minister Marisol Touraine AFP

The French government has vowed to fight everyday sexism after a report found 80 per cent of women working in France have been regularly subjected to sexism at work. The announcement came ahead of International Women’s Day on Sunday 8 March.

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Sexism is hard to detect because "stereotypes are so internalised that it becomes invisible", the report by the Higher Council of Professional Equality found, pointing to habits such as patronising terms of address that “diminish” women and undermine their confidence in the workplace.

Women's rights in France - given or taken?

The government is determined to “break the law of silence”, Marisol Touraine, France's Social Affairs minister, told the Metronews freesheet this week, although she noted that attitudes are changing.

The report makes 35 recommendations to the government.

“The first proposal is to name sexism, because to name something is to make it seen,” its author Brigitte Grésy told RFI. “In the corporate world, both racism and homophobia are concepts that are taken into account while the idea of sexism is always denied.

"It’s hard to talk about sexism, as if there was something wrong with doing so. We also want to define ordinary sexism, that is to say, all of these microaggressions, the actions that, every day, destabilise and make women feel inferior.”
 

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