Work for free French women rise up against discrimination and the gender pay gap

Work for free French women rise up against discrimination and the gender pay gap

Achieving equal wages between the sexes is still a demand that French women have struggled for years, but it has not received real legislative and political interaction to this day. Feminist protests have increased during the recent period to put pressure on potential presidential candidates.

To protest against gender pay inequality, French feminist activists launched a campaign to “Work for Free” starting from Wednesday, November 3, at 9:22 am until the end of the year, every year since 2015.

Many human rights activists consider the gender pay gap to be a form of negative discrimination against women and economic violence that all sides turn a blind eye to. While today several reports and studies indicate that this phenomenon is expanding in France, many voices stress finding legal solutions and measures that guarantee women their right on an equal basis with men in the workplace.

The growing wage gap
Like other forms of discrimination and oppression against women, the wage gap and economic discrimination between the sexes are still a social phenomenon that has not received sufficient interaction and response to this day by the responsible authorities and legislative bodies in France.

According to a report issued by the economist Rebecca Amselm, and later published by the feminist newspaper “Les Glorieuses” on Tuesday, November 2, the wage difference between women and men in France in 2021 reached 16.5%, while it was estimated in 2016. by about 15%.

Amsilim expressed her great regret over this noticeable increase. Commenting on this, she said in a media statement: "The wage disparity is widening Concrete measures must be taken today, in order to avoid waiting until 2234 to see real wage equality."

In the same context, a recent survey conducted by INSEE in 2017, highlighted that the wage gap between men and women who have completed their postgraduate studies, in particular, has peaked at around 29.4%, while this gap, which is not based on the fact To any kind of difference, whether in the number of hours worked or in the type of job, it ranged between 5% and 7%. This phenomenon has witnessed a significant increase after that, since the spread of the Corona pandemic and its economic repercussions, the working woman has been one of its biggest economic victims, and it has exposed the bad face of gender inequality in France.

In an attempt to justify this disparity, INSEE drew attention to the fact that French women occupy 80% of part-time jobs, and this may explain the reason for the disparity in pay. However, economist and feminist activist Rebecca Amselm considered that this is due to the French woman’s attempt to reconcile between caring for children or the elderly and performing her work, and said: “We notice that the difference in salary widens more for women since the age of their first child, i.e. between the age of 30 And 35 years old.

While this economic persecution remains largely obscured and ignored, French feminist activists have launched massive campaigns to denounce it. Since 2015, the feminist magazine "Les Glorieuses" has been issuing detailed reports and announcing the date on which it calls for women to work for free in protest of this kind of discrimination. The dates are determined according to a calculation based on the figures of the Directorate-General of the European Commission responsible for statistical information. The launch date for this year's 2021 campaign is November 3. That is until the end of the year.

Insufficient political measures
French human rights activists and feminists are trying to pressure the government and potential candidates for the 2022 presidential elections, in order to enact laws and legislation that intersect with contracts of economic and occupational discrimination between the sexes.

In a series of proposals made to various candidates in the upcoming presidential elections, Les Glorieuses called for a reassessment of wages for jobs in which women are more numerous, including "nurses" and "midwives", in addition to paternity leave equivalent to maternity leave, and called for equal opportunities. Gender in contracts in companies along with equal promotion in jobs, not that women are often the second line.

Activists and analysts consider that government measures in France are still inadequate to this day in promoting the principle of professional and economic equality between men and women, despite what it legislated to do so.

In 1972, the first law was enacted establishing the principle of “work of equal value and equal pay.” The law obliges employers, in both the private and public sectors, to equal pay for women and men. But the law fell short, forcing the government to take further action. A set of laws and measures were passed in 2018 and 2020 that enforce gender equality in salaries, increases and promotions.

In spite of that, this phenomenon is still widening, thus causing outrage and a strong condemnation of all French working women, who, as many UN reports indicate, share the same suffering with the rest of European women with a kind of disparity.
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