Women workers in France urged to down tools at 11.44

Women across France were encouraged to leave work at 11.44am on November 3rd as part of a campaign highlighting the salary gap between male and female staff.

Women workers in France urged to down tools at 11.44
Woman demonstrating at equal pay protest in 2016. Photo: The Local
French feminist collective Les Glorieuses have re-launched their campaign to denounce the wage disparity between the sexes. 
According to the latest figures from data agency Eurostat (based on 2015 salaries), women are effectively working for free for the last 39.7 days of the year as a result of the 15 percent wage disparity. 
And the equal rights group is urging women workers in France to take a stand by leaving work at 11.44 on November 3rd.
“If there was equal pay in France, women would be able to stop work on Friday November 3rd at 11.44 and earn the same amount (as men) in 2017,” said the equal rights group.
And the hashtag #3novembre11h44 was trending in France on Friday. 


But the wage gap doesn't look set to close any time soon. 

In 2016 the group used the latest figures then available (2010) to work out the cut off point and it came on November 7th
This means the situation has got worse in the intervening five-year period, said Rebecca Amsellem, founder of Les Glorieuses, according to a report in BFM TV.
“Last year, our campaign had a strong impact on public opinion, and it felt like people were becoming aware of the inequality,” she added. 
The group hopes that this year's campaign will have even more of an impact, raising awareness at a corporate and political level. 
So far at least one politician has taken note, with the secretary of state for equality Marlène Schiappa planning to meet the group behind the campaign. 
“We want to make concrete progress, something more effective than the current system, which fines companies that do not respect equal pay,” said Amsellem.
Ideally the group would like there to be greater transparency over salaries, with companies publishing what they pay their staff. 
However they aren't only concerned with equality for women, Les Glorieuses also campaigns for fathers to be entitled to the same leave when their child is born.  


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.