French Foreign Ministry fined $500k for… appointing too few women – media

French Foreign Ministry fined $500k for… appointing too few women – media
The French Foreign Ministry hired too few women to major positions in 2017, violating the country's gender equality quotas, Le Monde reports just before the International Women's Day of March 8.

Out of touch with the modern spirit of equality at all costs, the ministry missed the French quota for first-time female appointments set by the 2012 Sauvadet law. Men reportedly occupy five seats too many, which cost the ministry €90,000 each, for a total of €450,000 (about $504,500).

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The 2012 law stipulated that by 2017, each gender must have at least a 40-percent representation among civil servants appointed for the first time to positions of responsibility and management.

Only 26 percent of French ambassadors are women, Le Monde reports – including those in Russia and Ukraine, which along with a number of countries in the Eastern hemisphere (not France, though) are marking International Women's Day as a state holiday on Friday. Twenty-four percent of French consuls are likewise female.

Most of the women employed by the Foreign Ministry are in the lowest C category of civil service jobs, working as administrative assistants and the like – 67 percent of the jobs in this category are done by women.

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The 2012 law hasn't given the ministry enough time to increase the number of potentially-viable female staff, one official told Le Monde, complaining that “the pool is still too small.” According to another diplomat, the ministry opted for appointing qualified staff over meeting gender quotas, and was wary of going too far the other way.

“We need to promote more women, but we cannot go so far as to breach equality or to appoint diplomats without the required experience, that would be questionable in front of the administrative justice."

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