The French authority running Paris City Hall has been fined €90,000 ($109,000) for appointing too many women in senior positions.
Mayor Anne Hidalgo placed 11 women and five men in top jobs in 2018, breaking strict French employment laws aimed at preventing more than 60% of senior roles going to public service workers from the same gender.
With 69% of the most important jobs going to women, Paris city authorities broke a law that was passed in 2013. It has since been repealed, but not before the breach had occurred.
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Hidalgo said: “I am happy to announce we have been fined,” and then joked: “The management of the city hall has, all of a sudden, become far too feminist.”
But she did add: “This fine is obviously absurd, unfair, irresponsible and dangerous…to one day achieve parity, we must speed up the tempo and ensure that more women are appointed than men.”
Amélie de Montchalin, the minister in charge of the civil service ministry, which levied the fine, used Twitter
to explain that the law had now changed.
Fines are now no longer levied if, despite hiring more than 60% of one gender, this doesn’t actually alter the overall gender balance in a specific workplace.
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In the private sector, France has been working hard on gender parity. An October 2020 report by executive-search firm Spencer Stuart showed it had the highest percentage of female board directors in the world at 44.6%. This compared with 28% in the U.S., 33.8% in the U.K., and 11% in Japan.
However, the U.S. had more female chief executives, at 6% compared with 5% in France.