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FEMINISM

Paris mayor wants to ban black feminist festival ‘prohibited to whites’

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo on Sunday called for a black feminist festival in the French capital to be banned, saying it was "prohibited to white people."

Paris mayor wants to ban black feminist festival 'prohibited to whites'
Photo: Screengrab mwasicollectif.com
The first edition of the Nyansapo Festival, due to run from July 28 to 30 at a cultural centre in Paris, bills itself as “an event rooted in blackfeminism, activism, and on (a) European scale.”    
 
Four-fifths of the festival area will be set aside as a “non-mixed” space “for black women,” according to its website in French.
 
Another space will be a “non-mixed” area “for black people” regardless of gender. Another space would be “open to all.”
 
The English version of the site does not use the word “non-mixed,” but “reserved.”
 
 
Hidalgo (photo above), a Socialist, said on Twitter that she firmly condemned the organisation “of this event, 'prohibited to white people'.”
 
“I am asking for this festival to be banned,” Hidalgo said, adding she also reserved the right “to prosecute the organisers for discrimination.”
 
Police prefect Michel Delpuech said in a statement that police had not been advised about the event by Sunday evening.
 
But, Delpuech added, the police “would ensure the rigorous compliance of the laws, values, and principles of the republic”.
 
French antiracist and antisemitism organisations strongly condemned the festival.
 
SOS Racisme described the event as “a mistake, even an abomination, because it wallows in ethnic separation, whereas anti-racism is a movement which seeks to go beyond race.”
 
LICRA — the International League against Racism and Antisemitism — said “Rosa Parks would be turning in her grave,” a reference to the American civil rights icon.
 
Wallerand de Saint-Just, the regional head of Marine Le Pen's National Front party, had challenged Hidalgo on Friday to explain how the city was putting on an event “promoting a concept that is blatantly racist and anti-republican.”
 
The cultural centre La Generale, where the event was to be hosted, and the collective Mwasi, which organised the event, said Sunday they were the “target of a disinformation campaign and of 'fake news' orchestrated by the foulest far right.”
 
“We are saddened to see certain antiracist associations letting themselves be manipulated like this,” according to a statement posted on the Generale website.
 
A “decolonisation summer camp” in the northeastern French city of Reims elicited similar outrage last year, as it billed itself as a “training seminar on antiracism” reserved for victims of “institutional racism” or “racialised” minorities — excluding by default white people.
 
 

FEMINISM

Strike calls in France on International Women’s Day

Men and women are being called on to finish work at 3.40pm on Monday to highlight the gender pay gap, one of many actions and demonstrations taking place around France to mark International Women's Day.

Strike calls in France on International Women's Day
Photo: Thomas Samson/AFP

Several organisations and unions are calling for a strike to denounce pay inequality.

“On March the 8th, we will be on strike along with women all over the world to refuse to pay the price of the crisis with our jobs, our salaries, our bodies,” several unions including the CGT, FSU and Solidaires said in a press conference.

The objective is to denounce the gender pay gap that continues to impair women’s rights, but also to denounce the unfair burden that the past year’s health crisis has put on women.

“The lockdowns have been very heavy burdens on women for the past year, whether it’s in the health, work or home environments, increase in domestic violence. Not to mention the large amount of predominantly female jobs that have continued to maintained a level of normality during the lockdown,” the co-secretary general of FSU, Murielle Guilbert, told Les Echos.

The below map shows the actions planned around the country on Monday.

In Paris, a demonstration will start in Port-Royal at 1pm and move towards the Place de la République.

Organisations including Osez le féminisme, Les Effrontées and Unef have called women as well as men to go on strike on Monday from 3:40pm, in order to denounce the gender pay gap.

For a full list of actions around the country, click here.

French President Emmanuel Macron has been criticised by a junior minister for having only one woman among his closest advisers.

“I told him ‘Mr President, you are not giving a good example,” Elisabeth Moreno, a junior minister in charge of gender equality, told French media on Sunday.

She declined to say how the 43-year-old reacted, but she praised him for making gender equality a public priority and for ensuring balanced governments throughout his time in office.

Every cabinet since Macron came to power in 2017 has featured equal numbers of men and women, although both prime ministers have been male and the majority of the top cabinet jobs are currently held by men.

Macron has also been criticised for appointing Gérald Darmanin as his interior minister – the man nominally in charge of the country’s police force – while he is under investigation for rape.

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