*This is a French language learner article. The words in bold are translated into French at the bottom of the article.
The report highlights the kind of discrimination women go through on a daily basis, revealing that 1.2 million women experiencing sexist insults in 2017.
The first investigation into sexism in France was carried out by the High Council for Equality between Women and Men (HCE) and the results were made public on Thursday.
The report focuses on sexists comments made in public, something which is now punishable with a €750 fine since France's new law on sexual violence was introduced in August 2018, but according to the council “currently enjoys a high social tolerance”.
In fact during 2017, there were just four convictions for sexist insults, something which has been put down to the fact that victims do not believe it is worth reporting to the police, with only 3 percent pursuing an official complaint.
Photo: Jean Francois Gornet/Flickr
It won't come as a surprise to many women living in a major French city that one of the main places the insults occur is on public transport, particularly the Paris Metro.
“It's often in the Metro,” Chloe, a 19-year-old student in Paris told Le Parisien. “The last time was three weeks ago: I got a comment that my trousers molded my buttocks. I did not answer so he called me a little slut.”
In 2016 a report revealed that half of women in France choose to wear trousers not skirts when they take public transport to avoid being the victims of sexual harassment.
And while official complaints to the police are rare, French women do discuss the kind of insults they frequently hear in public spaces on social media.
According to the report, the most frequently reported insults were 'slut' (27 percent), 'whore' (21 percent) and 'bitch' (16 percent), with the first two most commonly directed at women under 30.
While it isn't only women who are subjected to abuse in public, they represent 92 percent of the victims of gender-specific insults and 86 percent of these comments are made by men, the report claims.
“Women are insulted because they are women,” said the HCE. “Their sex is the marker of their difference and justifies the insult. On the other hand, insults against men are not based on the idea that being a man is intrinsically negative.”
The body pointed out that insults heard by men often reflect the opposite.
“A man will never be too manly and the insults that are addressed to him focus on the fact that he is not manly enough.”
French vocab to learn
Discrimination — une discrimination
Insult — une insulte
Sexism — le sexisme
Fine — une amende
Conviction — une conviction
Complaint — une plainte
Public Spaces — un espace public
Social media — les réseaux sociaux