Spotlight on France

Podcast: Covid in France's prisons, sports journalists say MeToo, flying over the Andes

Audio 24:45
Spotlight on France episode 52
Spotlight on France episode 52 © RFI

A call for prisoner releases as French prisons, already overcrowded, face extreme restrictions to try and stop the spread of Covid-19 behind bars. Women sports journalists set their #MeToo ball rolling, denouncing sexual harassment in and out of the workplace. And Adrienne Bolland, the first woman to fly across the Andes, on 1 April 1921; no joke.


France has been mostly spared the massive Covid-19 outbreaks in prisons seen in some other countries, but at the expense of inmates' freedoms, with huge additional restrictions placed on life behind bars. Prison controller Dominique Simonnot (@simonnot) is raising the alarm: the prison population is increasing as judges fail to use alternative methods of sentencing. She would like the government to allow prisoner releases, like it did during the first lockdown in March 2020. But just a year ahead of presidential elections, where security is a key issue, that is looking unlikely. (Listen @3'45)

French women sports journalists are having a MeToo moment after TV documentary "I'm not a slut, I'm a journalist" revealed widespread harassment and sexism in the industry. The fact that only 10 percent of sports journalists are women is not helping the situation. Sarra Djehnoune, a founding member of Women sports journalists' collective (@DesJournalistes) which fights for better representation and against sexism in the profession, talks about her own experience in the macho world of sport and why it pushed her to cover other subjects as a journalist. (Listen @14'45)

On 1 April, 1921, Adrienne Bolland became the first woman to fly over the Andes, from Argentina to Chile. She was the first ever female test pilot for aviator Rene Caudron, and was in South America to promote his planes. When her Caudron G3 touched the ground, Chileans greeted her as a hero. The French consul did not show up, thinking it was an April Fools' joke. It wasn't. (Listen @10'45)

Spotlight on France is a podcast from Radio France International. Find us on, iTunes (link here), Google podcasts (link here), Spotify (link here), or your favourite podcast app.

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