Mar 09 2009
The 8th of March was made the official day for women worldwide in 1977 following a decision of the United Nations and the socialist government chose to apply it in France in 1982. Unlike many countries, this is not a day off but many events take place across the country such as a march in Paris where feminist associations, political parties and trade unions gather together in order to claim equal salaries and the expansion of the right to abortion fir instance. Indeed, according to a report given by the International Labour Organization (ILO), women are more likely to lose their jobs in the context of the international economic crisis. Moreover, a French woman out of three claims to have suffered discrimination on the basis of gender although they are generally more qualified and maternity is seen as a handicap to get a promotion by 16% of French women. Job equality will therefore remain the burning element in the debates that are taking place during the international day for women.
Here is the poster for an exhibition that is currently taking place in Paris.
Many people were demonstrating on Sunday March 8th, and came most of the time from political parties from the left, trade unions or feminist associations such as ‘Ni putes ni soumises’:
However, if the situation is still far from being perfect, some real advances have been made over the last decades and many laws are now preventing any discrimination based on gender. In politics, everyone remembers the final duet for the presidential race that was opposing for the first time a woman (Ségolène Royal) against a man. Furthermore, the principle of parity has been integrated to the French constitution in 1999 and in 2000, a bill was passed, forcing political parties to open up to women if they want to avoid financial sanctions. The current government is therefore made up of 15 ministers, among whom seven women:
Finally, here is a vox pop that has been carried out in Paris the day before the international day for women. People are sharing their opinions about this special day and explaining what it does or does not represent to them: