Women in France urged to walk out of work early

The Local France
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Women in France urged to walk out of work early
Photo: Oliver Gee

Women working across France were urged to down tools at 4.34pm on Monday as part of a protest against the salary gap between male and female staff.


The call had been issued by women's rights group Les Glorieuses, which has decided that enough is enough and that average wage disparity between men and women needs to be addressed in France.

Inspired by similar hugely successful action in Iceland last month, the group had urged women to stop working at 4.34pm on November 7th, because according to their calculations, after this point women will be effectively working voluntarily.
It was not clear how well the call was heeded by women in France but the twitter hashtag #7novembre16h34 was trending top on Monday. In Place de la Republique where women workers had been urged to gather around 200 had turned up by around 5pm.

Louise, a 26-year-old teacher, was symbolically handing out peanuts to passersby. 

"Women are working for peanuts in France," she told The Local. "It's not normal to be paid less than men for doing the same job."

She said that women were hoping authorities in France would take notice and stop undervaluing women in the work place.  

"I'm not angry but I'm looking for change," she said. 

A recent study showed that the discrepancy in salaries between men and women in France was 15.1 percent based on Eurostat figures.
So if women walked out early on Monday and stay off for the rest of the year, it would balance out the discrepancy in average pay that their stats say is equivalent to 38.2 days. 
The group noted on its Facebook page that the stakes are high if every working woman essentially goes on strike, with 13.8 million women registered as working in France's work force (or 48 percent of the total). 
And every bit helps, of course, not least considering that a recent report from the World Economic Forum predicted that the salary gap won't disappear until the year 2186.
The movement has won support from France's education minister Najat Belkacem who tweeted that "the fight for pay equality involves the whole of society. We cannot wait until 2186."
Women's rights group Osez le Feminisme is supporting the movement and has called on French companies to be fined if they do not respect the laws around equal pay.


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