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France on course to close its gender pay gap – by 2234

If present trends continue, France will not close its gender pay gap until 2234, according to new research from a feminist group, published on the day when French women begin working for 'free'.

France on course to close its gender pay gap - by 2234
Photo: Damien Meyer/AFP

Wednesday, November 3rd at 9.22am marked the moment when French women begin working ‘for free’ until the end of the year – the symbol of the gap between wages for men and women.

And the gap is actually widening, according to research by feminist group Les Glorieuses. Economist and group founder Rebecca Amsellem told France Inter “at this rate, we’ll obtain equality in 2234”.

According to Eurostat, the gender pay gap in France went from 15.6 percent in 2015 to 16.5 percent in 2021, despite several measures implemented by the French government. 

In 2019 for instance, Equalities minister Marlène Schiappa and Labour minister Muriel Pénicaud implemented the index Egapro. Firms with at least 50 workers are now compelled to calculate and publish their gender pay gap. 

Unequal pay “reaches all women in all business sectors,” said Amsellem. “Gender pay gaps are the highest in well-paid jobs, but women are hit no matter the area”. 

“With the same job and the same experience, women are less paid than men. It’s a pay gap of about 10 percent,” Amsellem told France Inter. 

This year, women in France will be working for free from November 3rd at 9:22 a.m. until the end of 2021. 

Les Glorieuses have created the hashtag #3Novembre9h22 and a petition. 

A few months away from the 2022 Presidential elections, the group is also calling out to candidates from all parties for propositions in favour of equal pay. 

Les Glorieuses have three main propositions to reduce the gender pay gap in France:  the creation of a shared parental leave, a pay rise in sectors where women are the most numerous,  and the application of the principle of “equalconditionality” with the creation of an equal pay certificate. This means that firms will only have access to a public contracts, public subsidies or a loan from the state if they apply equal pay for equal work.

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HEALTH

French lawmakers push for abortion rights to be enshrined in constitution

After the seismic decision of the US Supreme Court on Friday, French MPs are calling for the right to abortion in France to be protected by the constitution.

French lawmakers push for abortion rights to be enshrined in constitution

Lawmakers from French President Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance party are to propose a parliamentary bill on Saturday that would enshrine the right to abortion in the constitution. 

The move comes after the US Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 “Roe v. Wade” decision on Friday.

“In France we guarantee and advance the rights of women. We protect them,” said Aurore Bergé – the head of Renaissance in the Assemblée nationale and one of the key sponsors of the bill. 

Another co-sponsor, Marie-Pierre Rixain tweeted: “What happens in elsewhere cannot happen in France. We must protect the right to abortion for future generations. 

In 2018 and 2019, Emmanuel Macron’s party – which back then was known as La République en Marche – refused to back bills proposed by left-wing party, La France Insoumise, to enshrine abortion rights into the constitution. 

In a Saturday interview with France Inter, Bergé suggested that the success of Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National during parliamentary elections earlier this month had created a sense of newfound urgency. 

She described the far-right MPs as “fierce opponents of women’s access to abortion” and said it was important “to take no risk” in securing it. 

READ MORE France’s Macron condemns US abortion ruling

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has come out in support of the bill. 

The left-wing opposition block, NUPES, also backs it and had planned to propose an identical piece legislation of its own on Monday. 

Macron is seeking parliamentary allies to pass reforms after his formation lost its majority in legislative elections earlier this month.

The legal timeframe to terminate a pregnancy in France was extended from 12 to 14 weeks in the last legislature.

Changing the constitution requires the National Assembly and Senate to adopt the same text, then a three-fifths majority of parliament sitting in congress. The other option is a referendum.

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