Policy for Gender Parity
PRESS RELEASE 02/06
«On International Women’s Day, the Minister Delegate for Social Cohesion and Parity made a statement on policy for gender parity.
Two years after the launch of the Equality Charter, two thirds of the 300 interministerial pledges on gender parity have been or are in the process of being carried out.
The situation of women in the public sector has improved thanks to the implementation, in government ministries, of multiannual plans for access to employment and senior management posts, and to the work of committees, taskforces and ministerial career monitoring units. In 2006, a new boost will be given to the promotion of women to senior civil service positions.
Also, on the political election front, a bill will be introduced to increase the financial penalties on parties failing to comply with the legal requirements on parity.
As regards gender equality in the workplace, many players, such as the National Employment Agency, have pledged to encourage the recruitment of women in sectors in which they are under represented. In the building industry, for example, there are plans to recruit 20,000 women over the next few years. Furthermore, the National Education Ministry will launch a drive to increase the proportion of girls taking subjects at school leading to careers in science and technology.
The Act on the gender pay gap which Parliament has just passed sets a target of abolishing these gaps in companies within the next five years and brings in measures facilitating the reconciliation of work and personal and family life. Small businesses, local authorities and voluntary organizations will become eligible for the "gender parity" label, so far awarded to 17 companies.
For the 2006/2008 period, the Guarantee Fund for women who start their own businesses aims to guarantee €25 million in loans for 1,000 new start-ups.
The provision of suitable child-minding facilities (creation of 72,000 nursery places between 2002 and 2008) and development of workplace nurseries (run either by individual companies or shared between firms) have encouraged more women to work outside the home.
On 25 November 2005, the government strengthened its Global Action Plan to combat domestic violence by improving the handling of abused women, quality of the care network and provision of treatment or therapy free of charge for violent men.
The government is also seeking to facilitate access to women’s rights, particularly for women of immigrant stock, by drawing up a guide specifically for them and by ensuring they are given the relevant information by the National Agency for the Reception of Foreigners and Migration (ANAEM - Agence nationale de l’accueil des étrangers et des migrations, the principal public agency responsible for the admission of legal migrants to France). An effort has been made to provide information to the general public on contraception, particularly through school textbooks.
In the framework of the commitments made in the political declaration of the tenth anniversary of the World Conference on Women in Beijing, the government has initiated many measures to reduce poverty among women, encourage access to education and health and increase the involvement of women in conflict-prevention and -resolution. In Europe, France is backing the Swedish initiative for a European pact for women which will be presented at the forthcoming spring summit./.”