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France

Women’s Affairs Ministry returns to French politics

RFI

The Ministry of Women's Affairs is back in operation after being wound down in the 1980s. Women's groups are pushing for the ministry to reinstate a sexual harrassment law that was scrapped last month due to its vagueness.

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Socialist president, François Hollande, reinstated the Ministry of Women’s Affairs this week in France after it was scrapped in the 1980s.

Moroccan-born Najat Vallaud-Belkacem heads the ministry, a role she combines with her appointment as government spokesperson.

Women's rights in France - given or taken?

The thirty four-year-old served as a spokesperson for both Ségolène Royal in 2007 and Hollande in 2012. Women’s groups welcome her appointments.

Fifty per cent of ministers in Hollande’s government are women - 17 out of 34 - although feminists have expressed disappointment that the majority of the most important posts have gone to men.

Vallaud-Belkacem has already been confronted with her first battle. Women’s groups are up in arms about the repeal of the sexual harassment law earlier this month.

The Constitutional Council overturned the law following a complaint by deputy mayor of the Rhône region who complained it was too broad.

The law came into force shortly after the high-profile rape case alleged by a hotel chambermaid against former IMF-head and social party member, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, induced a flood of sexual harassment cases in France.

However, all cases that had not yet come to court by the time the law was repealed may now have to be dropped.

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