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Context  and  results  from  the  recent  legislative  elections  in  France.       GOOD  news:    France  has  evolved  from  18,90  %  of  women  members  of  parliament  to  26,86  %  (+  8   points!)     Here  is  a  link  to  an  interesting  article  (in  French)  from  “les  NouvellesNews”  on  that  topic:   http://www.lesnouvellesnews.fr/index.php/civilisation-­‐articles-­‐section/parite/1968-­‐a-­‐lassemblee-­‐ parite-­‐a-­‐moitie   According  to  this  article,  in  respect  of  parity  in  Parliament,  France  is  still  BEHIND....  Afghanistan!    « La France passe ainsi de la 20ème à la 9ème place européenne en terme de

représentation des femmes dans la chambre basse du Parlement. Et de la 69ème à la 34ème place mondiale... derrière l'Afghanistan. » It  is  an  interesting  time  to  take  stock  of  the  situation  regarding  women  in  parliaments  in  the  various   European   countries.   I   am   shocked   at   the   situation   in   Estonia   and   proud   of   women   politicians   in   Belgium.    The   situation   in   France   (and   Belgium)   shows   the   importance   of   having   well-­‐designed   laws   about   parity  with  built-­‐in  sanctions.  It  works  for  women  in  politics  or  women  in  boards  of  administration.     A  bit  of  historical  background:   Since  2001  France  has  a  law  to  force  political  parties  to  present  equal  number  of  W/M  candidates.   This  law  (for  once)  includes  financial  sanctions  for  delinquent  parties.     ALL   parties   do   NOT   respect   it   (except   for   “Les   Verts”).   UMP   (Sarkozy’s   party)   has   had   up   to   now   the   worst   behaviour.   The   Socialist   Party   (PS)   has   improved   over   time   but   still   does   not   reach   the   objective,  nor  do  ANY  of  the  other  parties,  with  the  single  exception  of  the  Green  party.  In  the  last   legislative  elections  (yesterday’s  results)  PS  presented  45  %  women  candidates  while  UMP  presented   26%.       All  prefer  to  pay  fines  rather  than  respect  the  law,  supposedly  because  they  cannot  be  unkind  to  the   members  of  parliament  wishing  to  run  for  re-­‐election.  (In  France  it  is  possible  to  hold  several  elective   offices  at  the  same  time  and  there  is  no  time  limit  for  holding  an  elective  position).   Taking  into  consideration  all  parties  (and  there  are  quite  a  few  in  France!)  there  were  only  about  35%   women  candidates.   The   gap   between   the   percentage   of   women   candidates   and   women   elected   as   members   of   parliament  is  NOT  due  to  a  lack  of  competence  on  their  part  but  to  the  fact  that  in  addition  to  not   presenting   enough   women   candidates,   parties   tend   to   put   quite   a   number   of   them   in   “non-­‐ winable”   districts,   for   instance   a   left   wing   candidate   in   an   traditional   conservative   area   or   the   opposite.   But   here   the   law   cannot   help,   change   of   mentalities   is   necessary   -­‐   or   going   to   list   elections   instead  of  voting  for  individuals.   But  let’s  look  at  the  situation  in  a  positive  light:  


Already   the   previous   term   parliament   had   had   more   women   members   than   anytime   previously   –   immediately  after  the  adoption  of  the  2001  law  we  moved  from  11%  women  in  Parliament  to  18%   and  now  we  have  nearly  27  %  -­‐  so  next  time  –  in  5  years  -­‐  we  have  to  go  for  PARITY  !!   To   that   end,   now   we   need   women   in   decision   making   positions   in   the   Parliament.   Women   president   of   parliament,   heads   of   political   groups,   chairs   of   thematic   committees,   in   charge   of   the   Parliament’s  budget,  parity  in  thematic  committees,  etc.  Let’s  go  for  women  role  models  in  politics.


Context and results from the recent legislative elections in France.