This week conservative French lawmaker Phillipe Le Ray was docked one-quarter of his monthly parliamentary salary for clucking like a chicken while Green Party MP Véronique Massonneau addressed the National Assembly on the subject of reforming France’s pensions system.Also, the boys will be boys;
Wonder if 'affirmative action' had anything to do with all this? Well, in 1993 women only made up about 6% of the legislature, but now;And in February, UMP lawmakers began an ugly tirade against National Assembly Vice-President Laurence Dumont because she dared interrupt the minority UMP leader Christian Jacob. Dumont’s fellow Socialist MPs accused the UMP bench of getting irritated because it was a woman who was calling the shots that day.In view of those earlier incidents, Le Ray’s inappropriate poultry imitation immediately set off alarms in the French press. “New sexist quack at the Assembly” was one of the headlines.Woman lawmakers did not take this latest attack lightly.Government spokesman and Women’s Rights Ministry Najat Vallaud-Belkacem lamented that “some people struggle to maintain composure after one-too-many bottles of wine with their lunch,” while Culture Minister Aurélie Filippetti played a more pessimistic tune: “A leopard can’t change its spots”.
Thanks to financial sanctions imposed on political parties who do not present equal numbers of women and men candidates during local and legislative elections, the quantity of women in public office has risen considerably in recent years.
Women claim 27% of seats in the National Assembly, and 22% of seats in the Senate in 2013. But on the path to an equal partnership there are still hurdles like MP Le Ray (pictured right). Certainly he would not have presented the same gesture toward another man, or toward a woman if he had been out in public – so how can it be tolerated in the National Assembly?Maybe by repealing the quotas, and letting the best personne win?